Economy

Economy (6)

 
Middle East Business
 
At a Roundtable event in Nairobi, Ministers from across Africa sat together with investors and the private sector to determine how best to tackle the investment and credit risk hurdles in order to make African risks bankable. Participants to the Roundtable see the event as timely because it comes at time of geopolitical uncertainties which, according to The World Bank, could lead to “higher borrowing costs or cut off capital flows to emerging and frontier markets”.

For African governments part of what is at stake are much needed foreign direct investments and access to affordable financing necessary to spur development and, specifically, to close the estimated USD900 billion infrastructure gap. Equally, the private sector stands to lose billions of dollars in lost opportunities if the requirements for a favourable investment environment are not adequately addressed.

The half day forum, the 4th Roundtable to focus on Political and Credit Risks in Africa, took place on the side lines of the African Trade Insurance Agency’s (ATI) (www.ATI-ACA.org) Annual General Meetings. The event opened with pointed remarks from H.E. Patrice Talon, President of Benin:

« Le partenariat public-privé s’impose donc comme la réponse aux besoins d’investissement structurants de nos États. Se présente alors la nécessité de disposer d’outils appropriés permettant des investissements malgré la persistance de la perception de risque élevé en Afrique. Dans ce contexte, l’assurance-crédit constitue entre autres un outil efficace pour répondre à ce défi. »

Subsequent discussions focused on possible solutions to the challenges facing governments from the private sector and export credit agencies from panellists such as:

  • Hon. Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Zimbabwe
  • Hon. Romuald Wadagni, Minister of Economy & Finance, Benin
  • Hon Felix Mutati, Minister of Finance, Zambia
  • Chamsou Andjorin, Director Government Affairs & Market Development, Boeing Intl.
  • Helen Mtshali, Syndication Lead – Sub-Saharan Africa, Industrial Finance Solutions, GE
  • Nisrin Hala, Sr. Director, Global Trade Finance Bus. Devpt. Emerging Markets, SMBC

Investors are not immune to political and social developments in emerging regions like Africa. In fact, with reduced earnings – the benchmark emerging-market stock index has lost approximately 4 percent annually since 2010 from a high of 22 percent annual return in the preceding decade – investors are now focusing on more than the bottom line in these markets. During the boom years of the last two decades, Africa was experiencing unprecedented GDP growth rates but depressed commodity prices have seen growth in the sub-Saharan Africa region slow to 1.5 percent rate in 2016. According to World Bank estimates, oil exporters account for most of the slowdown owing to their two-thirds contribution to regional output.

In a Bloomberg article published in March 2016, emerging market investors from some of the most prominent companies noted the dramatic change in their investing tactics due to global fragility, which they see as unveiling institutional weakness, corruption, poor governance and efficiencies. In this current climate, investors are now keenly tracking social indicators such as corruption rankings, gender parity and the extent that rule of law is respected within emerging markets.

“Africa is in a period of realignment in this new global order but I don’t think anyone should bet against its resilience. We are still home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world – as of 2017, the World Economic Forum ranks Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Senegal on the list of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world,” notes George Otieno, ATI’s CEO.

In this climate, it is more imperative than ever for African governments to focus on economic diversity to maintain growth while addressing risks to investors. As an internationally respected African institution, the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) offers the ideal solution precisely because the company has strong relationships with governments and because its risk assessments and mitigation solutions are seen as credible by global financiers and investors. With ATI involved in a transaction, governments are able to provide security to investors and suppliers against a range of investment risks.

In 2016, ATI insured close to USD2 billion (KES202.8 billion) worth of trade and investments and the company is increasingly supporting some of the continent’s most important transactions such as Ethiopian Airline’s fleet expansion and a USD660 million investment in Lake Turkana, Africa’s largest wind farm and, to date, the single largest investment in Kenya.

In this environment, ATI’s products are being seen as a valuable tool to enable lenders to take sub-investment grade risk in Africa thus allowing governments and corporates to access more affordable financing. Importantly, in its role as an investment insurer of last resort, ATI is also providing the necessary comfort to support continued investments into the continent amidst a period of uncertainty.


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War is costly. Not only in lives lost, towns destroyed, nations split or whole continents in turmoil, but in the massive amounts spent on weaponry and mercenaries/fighters.

In the Middle East, the cost is all too apparent. Many once great cities stand in ruins, historic monuments and mosques razed to the ground.  But who profits from war? And why isn’t such an enormous amount of money invested in peacemaking initiatives?

 

Middle East Magazine

 

The latest Global Peace Index report, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), found that 2015 was a bad year for international peace and security, recording a further deterioration in global peace based on historic trends.

Globally, 2015 witnessed the highest number of global battle deaths for 25 years, persistently high levels of terrorism, and the highest number of refugees and displaced people since World War II.

This violence had a huge cost. The report finds that for 2015 alone, the economic impact of violence to the global economy was $13.6 trillion in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). This is equivalent to $5 per day for every person on the planet, or 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment (FDI).

The toll of violence is typically counted in terms of its human and emotional cost, but the financial damage to the economy is yet another additional factor to consider. When counting the economic impact one must look at the costs of preventing and containing violence, as well as measuring its consequences. This is important because spending on containing violence, while perhaps necessary, is fundamentally economically unproductive.

 

How do you quantify the costs of war?

IEP’s method is a comprehensive accounting exercise to “add up” those direct and indirect expenditures related to creating and containing violence plus its consequential costs. These include not just military spending but domestic expenditures on security and police plus the losses from armed conflict, homicides, violent crime and sexual assault.

The $13.6 trillion of expenditures and losses represent 13.3% of world GDP. To break this figure down, it’s the equivalent of $1,876 for every person on the planet. The numbers refer to the current expenditures and their estimated associated effects in 2015, and are represented in PPP international dollars.

 

These numbers are notable for two reasons.

Firstly, over 70% of the economic impact of violence accrues from what is mostly government spending on the military and internal security. This shows that significant amounts of government expenditure are tied up to this end. In a perfectly peaceful world, these huge resources could be directed elsewhere.

Secondly, the remaining amount is consequential losses from violence and conflict and these, too, are enormous. They significantly outweigh the international community’s spending on building peace.

A quick examination of the numbers reveals that the world continues to spend vastly disproportionate resources on creating and containing violence compared to what it spends on peace. In 2015 alone, UN peacekeeping expenditures of $8.27 billion totalled only 1.1% of the estimated $742 billion of economic losses from armed conflict.

When looking at peace-building – the activities that aim to create peace in the long term – those totaled $6.8 billion or only 0.9% the economic losses from conflict. Spending on peace-building and peace-keeping is minuscule when compared to the economic losses caused by conflict, representing just 2% in 2015.

But fundamental to future improvements in peace is a greater investment in peace-building and peace-keeping. Peace-keeping operations are measures aimed at responding to a conflict, whereas peace-building expenditures are aimed at developing and maintaining the capacities for resilience to conflict.

Peace-building expenditure aims to reduce the risk of lapsing or relapsing into violent conflict by strengthening national capacities and institutions for conflict management and laying the foundations of sustainable peace and development.

These numbers suggest a serious under-investment in the activities that build peace and demonstrate that the international community is spending too much on conflict and too little on peace. Given the fact that the cost of violence is so significant, the economic argument for more spending on peace is indeed powerful.

 

The rise of peace inequality

Furthermore, a new phenomenon is emerging as some countries grow more peaceful while overall levels of violence increase: peace inequality. This drives a broader dynamic of greater economic inequalities between nations; as the least peaceful countries spiral into greater violence and conflict, they are also further set back economically.

 

Weapons of war – Middle East imports increasing

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Asia and the Middle East are leading a rise in arms imports, whilst the USA and Russia remain the largest global arms exporters.

Arms imports by states in the Middle East rose by 61% between 2006–10 and
2011–15.

 

Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, says; ‘Despite low oil prices, large deliveries of arms to the Middle East are scheduled to continue as part of contracts signed in the past five years.’ The civil wars raging in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, are all contributing to the proliferation of arms on the streets of the Middle East.


War costs us $13.6 trillion globally. So why spend so little on peace? 2017, Middle East News.
middleeast-business.com

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According to the data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), world military expenditure in 2000, was estimated to be around $1132 billion, whilst in 2014, this estimation increased to about $1746 billion. For the most part, these figures are due to the large military budgets of the Americas and Europe.

 

Source: Data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

* Arab countries include: Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Yemen.

 

Similarly, military expenditure data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show that military costs in the Arab world increased from about $62 billion in 1990 to about $134 billion in 2015. This comparative difference is significant when put into Iran or Switzerland’s context, but in terms of military expenditure for the USA, this cost expansion is minimal. Evidently, the USA raised its military finances from about $555 billion in 1990 to around $596 billion in 2015. An excessive growth, matched by no other.

 

Source: Calculations depending on data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

* Arab countries include: Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Yemen.

 

Source: Data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

* Arab countries include: Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Yemen.

 

The following table shows data on military expenditure in the Arab world compared to the other main actors in constant (2014) US$ million and as percentage of gross domestic product for the period 1988-2015.

 

 1. Data for 2008, 2. data for 2006, 3. data for 2000, 4. data for 2010.

Source: Data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

* Arab countries include: Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Yemen.

 

Cost of conflict for the Middle East

A report by Strategic Foresight Group has calculated the conflict opportunity cost for the Middle East from 1991-2010 at a whopping $12 trillion. Had there been peace in the region, Lebanon’s share during this period would be almost $100 billion (according to 2006 prices). In other words had there been peace and cooperation since 1991, every Lebanese citizen would be earning over $11,000 instead of the $5,600 in 2010.

 

 

By Soukaina Rachidi

According to recent forecasts from the International Monetary Fund, the GDP of the six oil-reliant members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, U.A.E, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are projected to slow to 2.7% in 2016, down from 3.2% in 2015.  The main cause for this slowed growth is the historically low oil prices, which have weakened the fiscal balances of Gulf’ oil-exporters and resulted in unprecedented budget deficits for the first time in 20 years.

With increased oil yields from Russia, Africa, the Caspian Sea and the re-introduction of Iran into the global oil market, the GCC has had to deal with an increasing number of competitors. However, this increase isn’t the only challenge facing the GCC. The growing interest in renewable energy has also resulted in a steady decline in the demand for oil. However, while oil prices are unlikely to rise anytime soon, The GCC’s substantial sovereign wealth funds and foreign reserves are sure to protect it from any economic shocks in the foreseeable future.

Marie Owens Thomsen, Chief Economist at Indosuez Wealth Management, believes that low oil prices are presenting the GCC with a unique opportunity to introduce structural reforms and fiscal policies that will diversify its economies, increase investment and create more sustainable business opportunities for the region. Here are three new emerging industries that investors should consider in the GCC.

 

1. Halal Lifestyle Industry

A recent report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit predicted that the Gulf’s Halal food imports are projected to increase to 53.1 billion dollars by 2020 and by the end of the decade, the UAE’s annual Halal food imports alone are expected to reach an estimated 8.4 billion dollars. While the GCC has lagged in developing the Islamic economy in the past, these projections are changing the landscape of the region’s economy. The UAE is currently leading the charge, as it primes Dubai to become the future hub of Islamic banking, Halal food and lifestyle industries.

By leading the world in the standardization of halal accreditation and certification, Dubai hopes to attract new industry-specific manufacturing and services to the region. In addition to that, the UAE is also targeting the halal tourism market, which represents 11.6% of global tourism expenditure and is projected to be worth 238 billion dollars by 2019. With the rapidly growing global Muslim population and an emerging middle class, the GCC has the potential to generate great revenue serving the needs of this growing market segment.

 

2. Aviation Industry

The lack of other efficient modes of transportation in the GCC has played a big role in fueling the demand for better airlines, airports and aviation services in the region. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Middle East is anticipated to be one of the fastest growing regions in the world in terms of passenger traffic until at least 2034, with an annual growth rate of 4.6% on average. Over the past couple of years, the GCC has implemented various progressive aviation policies to increase transparency and promote competitiveness in the sector to encourage further growth.

The fact that roughly 80% of the world's population lives within an eight-hour flight of the GCC has also presented a great advantage to the region’s aviation sector. While airlines like Qatar Airways, Etihad and Emirates lead the market in long-haul flights, smaller low-cost carriers like FlyDubai and Air Arabia are filling the gap in the short-haul market. The GCC’s clear geographic advantage, the rise in tourism, growing populations and the ready access to capital, fuel and space make the Gulf’s aviation industry a strong investment opportunity for investors seeking to capitalize on the privatization of airports and existing gaps in the domestic travel market.

 

3. Entrepreneurship Industry

While political turmoil and lower oil prices have adversely impacted many sectors in the region, the GCC’s start-up ecosystem continues to flourish. In fact, in 2015, the Dubai Department of Economic Development issued an estimated 22,025 trade licenses, which is almost double the number issued in 2009. Despite the additional regulatory challenges that entrepreneurs face in the GCC, such as restrictive visa regulations or the lack of bankruptcy laws, the region still remains an attractive hub for startups founders.  Dubai Department of Economic Development has risen steadily during the past eight years, after a dip in 2009, when the global financial crisis hit the region. Last year, Dubai DED issued 22,025 trade licences, up from 11,743 in 2009.business category.The number of trade licences issued by Dubai Department of Economic Development has risen steadily during the past eight years, after a dip in 2009, when the global financial crisis hit the region. Last year, Dubai DED issued 22,025 trade licences, up from 11,743 in 2009.

According to Dany Farha, the Chief Executive of Dubai-based Beco ­Capital, the GCC’s tech startup sector has grown ten-fold in the past four years. The growth of the regional venture capital ecosystem and the falling demand for office space and the willingness of suppliers to negotiate prices has created the “perfect storm” for small businesses to grow and reduce overhead costs. Furthermore, the privatization of various public services across the GCC, has created a unique opportunity for investors to diversify their portfolios and help entrepreneurs provide more efficient and cost-effective services for GCC governments’ and consumers.  

Par Sami ben Mansour

Dans un contexte économique de crise pour l’Union Européenne, la Suisse semble tirer son épingle du jeu. Certains observateurs dont François Garçon, universitaire et auteur du livre "Le modèle suisse" n’hésitent pas à parler de « miracle suisse ».

Pour ce fin observateur de l’économie et de la société suisses, ce pays est un modèle à suivre dont la force repose sur le dynamisme exceptionnel de ses PME, un système de formation excellent, une élite politique tournée vers l’économie et une gouvernance démocratique populaire qui a des préoccupations économiques parfois pointues.

Une économie vigoureuse portée par des PME dynamiques

En 2014, le taux de croissance économique de la Suisse a bondi à 2%. Plus du double de la croissance de la zone Euro qui n’a pas dépassé 0,9%. A démographie égale, le PIB suisse est deux fois supérieur à celui de la France. Il est également 30% supérieur à celui de l’Allemagne, l’économie la plus puissante de l’Europe. Le chômage (3%) est très faible en Suisse qui affiche aussi l'un des taux de chômage des jeunes entre 15-24 ans (3,6%) les plus bas de monde.

L’économie suisse repose sur des secteurs comme la pharmacie, la chimie, la mécanique de précision, l’horlogerie, et l’industrie alimentaire à haute valeur ajoutée, tous tirés par l’exportation. Le miracle suisse ce sont les PME qui représentent la majorité du tissu industriel.

Un système de formation performant centré sur les métiers

A la fin de la scolarité obligatoire, 70% des jeunes optent pour l’apprentissage dual. Il s’agit d’une filière d’excellence. Les 30% restants se dirigent vers le système universitaire suisse qui compte la seule université d’Europe continentale dans les 30 premiers du classement de Shanghai. Les universités suisses sont fortement cosmopolites : 28% des étudiants sont étrangers [1].

Des élites suisses à forte culture économique

Si la Suisse est business friendly c’est aussi grâce à son personnel politique, composé principalement de petits entrepreneurs, d’agriculteurs, de professions libérales, d’économistes… La Suisse a également adopté la culture économique de l’ « utilisateur-payeur ». Les citoyens se voient plutôt comme des contribuables et les électeurs sont ainsi particulièrement plus vigilants face aux politiques. Il n’est donc pas rare que les électeurs votent, par réalisme économique, pour l’augmentation des impôts pour financer l’amélioration de leur qualité de vie ou pour l’annulation de projets jugés inutiles pour baisser les charges publiques.

Une démocratie directe qui se préoccupe d’économie

La pétition est la pièce maîtresse de l’initiative populaire qui permet aux citoyens suisses de se prononcer aussi souvent qu’ils le souhaitent sur les questions qu’ils estiment importantes. Et l’économie en est une. En 2013, les suisses ont voté à 68% contre les rémunérations abusives des dirigeants d’entreprise.

 

[1] Office fédéral de la statistique

 

 

*By Ayman Abualkhair

 

The Arab world, home to more than 360 million people, with a Gross Domestic Product of around $2.8 trillion, is playing a greater role in the world economy.

Abundant revenues from oil and gas have helped the region amass enormous wealth, which, if invested wisely will be the cornerstone of diversifying local economies.

Arab countries, led by the GCC states, have the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, with total assets estimated at about $2 trillion (38% of the total world assets).

Investment in the region has increased from $6.1 billion in 2000 to $79.3 billion in 2009, an amount comparable to that of China ($95 billion in 2009). An ongoing pattern of global economic growth, coupled with the fact that emerging economies grow much faster than their advanced counterparts, and the shift in global economic power, will make the Middle East and Africa the fastest growing regions in 2018. This projected growth, however, would require significant investments mainly in infrastructure, renewable energy, health and education, to name a few.

With more than 135 million internet users in the Arab world, a new generation of tech savvy entrepreneurs is emerging. This region is expected to post robust growth over the next decade both in terms of population and GDP. By 2015 the Arab population is forecast to reach 371m, about 50% increase over the level in 2000. Meanwhile, real GDP (based on PPP) is expected to grow by a staggering 190%.

The economic struggle

Improving business conditions in the region and attracting new investment are on top of local governments’ agenda. The battle is now between economic ministers and government entities to create and sustain the most competitive, growth-oriented economy.

In fact, it was The Economist who predicted that “war will break out in 2011 not on the battlefield, but in finance ministries eager to climb the ranks of the world’s most business-friendly economies”.

This what exactly the Arab world needs in these extremely challenging times. In recent years, a number of Arab governments implemented regulatory reforms aimed at improving business environments at home. Investing the Arab funds locally and attracting FDIs are absolutely crucial in order to satisfy the increasing needs for infrastructure, transport, education, health care, housing, business services, logistics, agriculture, oil and petrochemicals, financial sector, defense, industrial output as well as Islamic products.

Several Arab governments implemented regulatory reforms in the past years aimed at improving the business environment for local entrepreneurs, according to Lopez-Claros, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank. Most MENA countries offer corporate tax holidays ranging between 2 years in Jordan and 20 years in Egypt, with the option to be extended in the case of supplementary investments.

Export/free zones (FEZs) are also common in the MENA region. Doing business in free zones, mainly in the Gulf, gives businesses large and small access to some of the world’s most prominent infrastructure and tourism hotspots.

The stock markets in the Arab world offer big opportunities as well. The well-known magazine Forbes Middle East has described the Arab stock markets as witnessing robust growth from 2013 to date, and the economic outlook for Middle Eastern countries as being bright. Capitalisation in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) stock markets is only 2% on a global scale thus offering abundant opportunities for investment in the region, particularly but not exclusively in the UAE, Qatar, Morocco, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi stock exchange, which opened to international investors in 2015, is particularly interesting because its stock market (Tadawul) is the largest in the Middle East with $580 billion market capitalization (ca 1% of world’s stock market), compared to the cumulated market capitalization of United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Dubai and Abu Dhabi of around $245 billion and Qatar of about $200 billion (Persian Gulf Fund).

 

Renewable Energy: The “Green Petrol”

There is also a rising demand for green energy in the region, from the Arabian Gulf all the way through to Africa and the wider Middle East.

Electricity demand is expected to increase by 84% in 2020 compared to 2010 levels, which would require an additional 135 GW of generating capacity, the equivalent of about $450 billion investment. For the first time, Arab governments have come to a broad political consensus by adopting a strategy for the development of renewable energy, which will increase installed renewable energy power generation capacity in the region from about 12 GW in 2013 to 75 GW by 2030. The contribution of renewable energy to total electricity generation is projected to reach between 4.7% and 9.4% by 2030. This energy will be necessary to satisfy mainly the needs in cooling and heating.

Islamic Economy: A New Horizon

Ten out of 30 countries with large Muslim populations have some of the world’s fastest growing emerging markets. The driving force of the Islamic economy is its population of about 1.6 billion, which is expected to rise to 2.2 billion by 2030. Furthermore, the majority of Muslim populations are structurally young: people under the age of 30 make up about 60% of the population and have significant purchasing power.

According to a report released by Thomson and Reuters “State of the Global Islamic Economy 2013”, the total size of the global Islamic economy is expected to reach over $6 trillion in 2018, with major sectors including finance and insurance, halal food, halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, modest clothing, Islamic values-influenced travel and media as well as recreation sectors.

Islamic Finance, currently, valued at over $ 1.2 trillion, is expected to more than double in size by 2017, reaching $ 2.7 trillion. Halal food industry and Islamic friendly family holidays are growing in popularity as well. The collective global Muslim food and non-alcoholic beverage (F&B) market is larger than F&B consumption of China, while Muslim tourists spent $137 billion on travel in 2012 and already account for more than 12.5% of global tourist spending. This sum is expected to grow to $181 billion by 2018.

Muslim consumers globally spent $224 billion on clothing & footwear consumption in 2012 (10.6% of global expenditure) and this is expected to grow to $322 billion by 2018(second after the United States). Geographically, Asia and Africa are expected to contribute significantly to the growth of the Islamic Economy, with approximately 95% of the global Muslim population expected to move to these regions by 2030.

However, despite its numerous advantages, the Arab world is still reeling from the ongoing political turmoil in the region. The absence of a demonstrated international competitiveness in both manufacturing and services as well as corruption constitute one of the main obstacles for doing business. Institutional reform, capacity building, reforming the education and the regulations facing business remains essential. Moreover, the Arab world needs to create a dynamic private-sector in order to create sufficient employment. This will be done through high competitiveness, an educational system which meets the labour markets’ needs, and through encouraging applied sciences to transform ideas into real business projects, as well as through more consolidated trade and economic relations with the rest of the world.

If the Arab region’s employment challenge can be successfully addressed, the region’s young demographic could then turn from a potential liability to a significant advantage. Now is the time to invest in the region, not only because of the high return on investment it can offer, but also because the birth of the new economic paradigm, the future “G7”.

 

*Mr. Ayman Abualkhair has a master in environmental economics and natural resources from “Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales” in Paris. He has worked during 8 years for the promotion of Arab-Swiss economic relations at the Arab-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is the founder of the Swiss Arab Entrepreneurs Platform.

 


 

 

Par: Olivier Rigot

La décision de la Banque Nationale Suisse (BNS) d’abandonner le 15 janvier dernier le taux plancher établi en 2011 à Chf 1,20 contre euro a fait couler beaucoup d’encre récemment. Il nous paraît important de revenir sur ce sujet que nous avons abordé à plusieurs reprises dans nos publications ces dernières années car de nombreux aspects liés à cette décision récente n’ont pas été traités. En préambule, nous rappellerons que nous avons été de fervents critiques de cette politique interventionniste sur le marché des changes qui devait demeurer temporaire dans le temps et qui, finalement, s’est révélée un piège dont la seule porte de sortie a été la décision annoncée en catastrophe un jeudi en milieu de matinée en plein négoce sur les marchés financiers. La BNS a réussi en l’espace de quelques heures à créer un choc déflationniste pour l’économie suisse alors que toute sa politique était destinée ces dernières années à contrecarrer la survenance d’un tel risque.

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