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BBVA Research | Geo-World: Conflict & Social Unrest

BBVA Research | Geo-World: Conflict & Social Unrest

We live in times of rapid change. And in this age of change, we refuse to just sit with the audience as mere spectators; we want to be in the spotlight, we want to play a leading role in this digital revolution, in this reality that demands us to be able to quickly adapt. It is in this context of relentless transformation that has prompted BBVA Research to launch new website: more user-friendly, with expanded features and a responsive design that adapts to any browsing device.

Thanks to DiGiX 2018, BBVA Research’s multidimensional digitization index, it is possible to compare which countries are the most advanced in this area, and discover their strengths and weaknesses. The index analyzes the economies of 99 different countries.  Top in the ranking are Luxembourg, the U.S. the Netherlands, Singapore and Hong Kong, while Malaysia, South Africa, Chile and Costa Rica are regional leaders.

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All eyes were on the possibility yesterday that the European Central Bank (ECB) could make changes in the forward guidance on rate and on a potential announcement of new liquidity measures. And Mario Draghi didn’t disappoint: he answered both questions. He announced that the ECB will keep interest rates on hold until at least the end of this year and another series of auctions of long-term liquidity. BBVA Research has just released an ECB Watch report covering and assessing the measures announced by Draghi.

The Eurozone finance ministers recently approved the appointment of Ireland’s Central Bank Governor,  Philip Lane, as the next chief economist at the European Central Bank (ECB). Alongside the central bank’s president and the members of the Executive Board, which will also see new appointments this year, the chief economist plays a key role on the institution’s Governing Council. According to BBVA Research, this year’s scheduled turnover at the bank, may result in changes to the ECB’s current stance on monetary policy.

Rafael Doménech, Jorge Sicilia y Miguel Cardoso, de BBVA Research

BBVA Research maintains its forecasts of 2.4% growth in Spain in 2019 and 2% in 2020, according to the latest report, Spain Economic Outlook. The report was presented today by BBVA Research Director and BBVA Group Chief Economist  Jorge Sicilia, and Rafael Doménech, the Head of Economic Analysis at BBVA Research. BBVA Research indicates that the recovery will continue, although the trend toward moderated growth is expected to consolidate over the coming quarters. Should this forecast be confirmed, the economy could add around 800,000 jobs over the next two years. This would represent a decrease in the job creation rate, but lower unemployment to 12.6% in 2020.

The slowdown taking place in some economies, protectionism, uncertainty over economic policy, an abrupt adjustment in China and rising debt are some of the issues that threaten to provoke another global economic crisis, one that would impact some regions more than others. “The general perception is that we are now past the peak in the cycle of growth of recent years,” says Rafael Doménech, the Head of Economic Analysis at BBVA Research.

The 49th World Economic Forum, known as the Davos Forum, is set to begin on January 22 in the Swiss district of Davos-Klosters. For four days politicians, businessmen, and representatives from social and cultural organizations will gather to discuss global problems and identify solutions. This year, the forum will place special emphasis on international collaboration, giving the world a voice.

Global banks face six major challenges when tackling their anti-money laundering efforts: their international footprint, supervisory pressure, maximizing efficiency and effectiveness, leveraging technology, recognizing specialized talent and raising awareness among society about how important it is that everybody collaborates with financial institutions.

Parlamento Europeo

Speaking at the Rome Investment Forum, José Manuel González-Páramo weighted on the future of three key projects for the European Union: the banking union, the capital markets union and the fiscal union. This discussion took place at a key moment for the European bloc, after the meetings held in the last Eurogroup, in the Ecofin and the European Council.  “During this year 2018 there has been a window of opportunity, which has clearly been missed by Europe to implement the necessary reforms,” he noted.

Nothing can prepare you for the loss of a spouse or partner. The emotional burden alone is enough to virtually paralyze even the strongest and most organized people. But the logistics in the aftermath of a death in the family can also be staggering. That’s why it is so important to prepare yourself and your family well in advance.

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A bill recently presented by Mexican Senator Ricardo Monreal banning some bank fees has been the topic of debate, creating a space for bankers and the government to discuss the topic. In the article “Are bank fees high in Mexico?” published in the newspaper El Financiero, BBVA Bancomer Chief Economist Carlos Serrano Herrera presents information to keep in mind in order to reach some common ground on the issue.

Rafael Doménech, Jorge Sicilia y Miguel Cardoso

BBVA Research lowered growth expectations for Spain’s GDP to 2.6 percent in 2018 and 2.4 percent in 2019 (representing a drop of 0.3 and  0.1 percentage points, respectively, from the forecast of three months ago). The downward revision is primarily due to a more modest performance in the first half of the year. Lower growth of both exports and private consumption are two important factors contributing to the revised projections. This was the view detailed in the most recent report on the Spanish Economic Outlook, presented today by Jorge Sicilia, chief economist at BBVA Group and director of BBVA Research; Rafael Doménech, head of Macroeconomic analysis at BBVA Research; and Miguel Cardoso, BBVA Research’s chief economist for Spain and Portugal.

José Manuel González-Páramo called for Europe to move forward now, not “just when there’s a crisis”, and to conclude the banking union, the capital markets union and the fiscal union to have a “much more robust and genuine euro.” Speaking at the Círculo de Economía in Barcelona, he stressed the role that the ECB played in Europe’s recovery. However, the bank must now go back to its original purpose of “contributing to financial stability and separating supervision from monetary policy.”

After the hike in interest rates by the Central Bank of Turkey on September 13 (625 basis points from 17.75 percent to 24 percent), the Turkish government today (Thursday) unveiled a new economic program for the next three years (2019-2021). BBVA Research in a report released Thursday believes that both monetary policy and fiscal policy are now better geared toward correcting inflation and the imbalances of the Turkish economy.

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CRBT) decided today to raise the official interest rate by 625 basis points from 17.75 percent to 24 percent. As a BBVA Research report points out, the hike came in above market expectations (21 percent according to Bloomberg consensus estimates), and BBVA Research’s own forecast (22.75 percent). BBVA Research welcomes the move and believes it should be backed up by a medium-term coherent and detailed fiscal plan.

In recent months, concerns surrounding the financial health of the business sector have been on the rise. In particular, market participants are worried that higher price pressures, faster monetary policy normalization, and a trade war, amid stretched valuations, could trigger a significant decline in risk appetite. This would lead to higher borrowing costs and tighter financial conditions.

International investment in infrastructure projects continues to be insufficient. This is the conclusion reached at the B20 summit where global companies provided guidance to the G20. According to the task force charged with studying growth and infrastructure financing, the infrastructure investment gap needs to be resolved to exploit the sector’s enormous potential and drive more inclusive development.

The European Union is already readying itself for the possible exit of the United Kingdom from the European club without an agreement between the two sides. Although no scenario has been ruled out, Miguel Jiménez, the chief economist for Europe at BBVA Research, argued in a recent article published in El País that “a no-deal exit in March, with no transitional period, is no longer inconceivable”. In his opinion, this would be the worst possible outcome of Brexit.

The European Central Bank in 2018 began the turnover process in a number of key posts on its Executive Board. The crux will be the end of Mario Draghi’s term in office in October 2019 amid doubts about whether his departure will coincide with a hike in interest rates expected between the summer and the fall of next year.

The European Central Bank on Thursday announced it is maintaining its monetary policy unchanged. Interest rates will remain at current levels until the summer of 2019 or “as long as necessary”, as announced in its June meeting. In doing so, ECB President Mario Draghi gave no further clarification on the next steps in the bank’s roadmap and intoned the mantra of prudence and patience.

BBVA Research maintains its GDP growth forecasts for Spain at 2.9 percent for 2018 and 2.5 percent for 2019. The increasing likelihood that some risks might finally materialize could drive the Spanish economy to slower growth scenarios, according to the latest Spain Economic Outlook report published by BBVA’s studies unit. The report was presented today by Jorge Sicilia, Chief Economist of BBVA Group and Head of BBVA Research, Rafael Doménech, Head of Macroeconomic Analysis of BBVA Research and Miguel Cardoso, Chief Economist Spain and Portugal. Under this scenario, the country is expected to generate about 880,000 jobs over the two-year period, causing the country’s unemployment rate to drop below 14%.

The European Council meeting held on June 28 and 29 took some steps toward euro reform; conclusion of agreements will likely occur at the next meeting in December. Although it was hoped that the summit would address key questions like the budget proposed by Germany and France, ultimately the European partners chose to adopt a minimum agreement. The agreement includes measures such as support for a banking resolution fund, but the reform of the euro was deferred.

After the bare minimum agreement on the banking union achieved at the recently held European Council, the debate about the future of Europe continues unabated. With this agreement still fresh, the Bank of Finland invited scholars, representatives of the financial sector and regulators talk about the future of the Old Continent. The experts gathered in Helsinki called for advancing towards a greater banking and capital markets union. The next date in the calendar: The European Council meeting in December.

The Council of Europe will hold its June summit at a complex time with significant challenges on economic, political, and social issues. As BBVA Research points out, it also represents an opportunity to further strengthen the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union. As such, the reform of the euro will be one of the decisive elements, although also one of the most controversial.

“I love food and I am mad about sports.” Hearing him talk about his hobbies, Jaime Sáenz de Tejada (Madrid, 1968) comes across as someone who enjoys life. As a kid he was into basketball and track and field. Later, he got interested in paddle tennis and golf. About a year and a half ago he fractured his thigh bone forcing him to focus a bit more on swimming and cycling. He defines himself as a lover of Peruvian cuisine, because it offers “the best fusion of sensitivities from many places, with ingredients of unparalleled quality.” He’s even given cooking chifa (a fusion of Peruvian ingredients and traditions with Cantonese elements) a go, but “being surrounded by so much talent, I would never dare to compete in culinary skills.” Married and with five children – “one of them is on his way to becoming a chef, just like his mom,”- he’s been a part of BBVA for more than 25 years. In 2014 he became the Group’s Chief Financial Officer. He devotes most of his scant free time to “living his children’s education intensely and sharing activities with them.” He’s been lucky to live in New York – at two different periods – , London, Uruguay and Peru.

As the European Central Bank celebrates its 20th anniversary, we take a look back at some of its defining milestones. Not in vain, the ECB has been the guarantor of the euro’s survival and, since 2014, the central axis of the euro area’s financial system. Since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, the ECB took on a role that was pivotal for a huge part of the recovery. However, “it cannot act alone”: “further strengthening of Europe´s institutional and legal framework is necessary to construct a more united and resilient Europe to face future challenges.”

Every time Mario Draghi speaks at the news conference after the European Central Bank’s (ECB) monthly monetary policy meeting, the markets hold their breath. And after he finishes, they react. In the wake of the 2008 crisis, the expectations created by the bank’s message have taken on added relevance. BBVA Research is aware of the importance of being able to gauge if the ECB’s message adequately reflects its policy and has used big data techniques to this end.