Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Most people would agree that the European Union and the euro single currency are part of a grand political and economic vision. But at times they are also a bit of a numbers game.
As Greece has shown with its less-than-reliable economic statistics, numbers can be fiddled to get budget deficits and debts down and meet the criteria to join the euro.
But the European Commission, the EU’s executive, is not above a bit of numerical jiggery-pokery itself, even if no one is suggesting that the Commission has made any numbers up. Its figures just don’t make much economic sense.
Take the case of Estonia and inflation.
The Commission announced on Wednedsay that Estonia would be allowed to adopt the euro next year. One of the criteria the Commission said it had met was the EU treaty’s inflation target. The treaty says a euro candidate country’s average inflation over 12 months must be no higher than 1.5 percentage points above the average of the three “best performers” in the EU.
The recent run-up in oil prices could have further to go as most analysts are likely to begin raising their year-end oil price targets, according to market research firm Birinyi Associates in Stamford, Connecticut. “Given several considerably lower expectations, we think it is reasonable to expect upgrades,” they said in a research commentary, noting that crude oil prices were already above most firms’ year-end targets. U.S. front-month crude hit an intraday high of $73.23 on Thursday, the highest intraday level since prices hit $75.69 on Oct. 21. A year-end oil price target of note recently came from Goldman Sachs, which raised its end-of-2009 oil price forecast on June 4 to $85 a barrel from $65. Oil’s climb partly reflects weakness of the U.S. dollar and expectations that demand may be picking up as the global recession abates.— Graphic courtesy of Birinyi Associates, Inc.
Hungary has negotiated a $25 billion economic rescue package with the IMF, the EU and the World Bank. What else is new? As that non-Hungarian philosopher of gamesmanship Yogi Berra put it, it’s ”like déjà vu all over again”.
Consider the words of historian Paul Lendvai who wrote: ”Its economy in tatters, Hungary accepts a loan of 250 million gold crowns.” “Fiscal stability was restored, a currency reform was introduced…and after a modest upswing the value of industrial production stood 12 percent higher…”
It’s a familiar pattern.
Mugabe imposes his will and MorganTsvangirai’s opposition cries foul.
Will former South African President Thabo Mbeki be able to mediate a breakthrough? After being ousted as president by his ANC party, he might not be so confident to be seen walking hand in hand with Mugabe at the airport as he has in the past.
Soaring energy and food prices are the top concern at the Group of Eight finance ministers meeting in Japan this weekend, while central banks are keeping their fingers crossed that they can find a solution without killing off shaky economic growth.
U.S. consumers’ mood plunged to a 28-year low in June as soaring inflation pinched at their purse strings.