SHARE
COPY LINK

ECONOMY

Economist condemns US credit rating companies

Thomas Straubhaar, a leading German economist, is calling for the “violent overthrow” of US-based credit-rating companies, which can deeply influence the financial future of the countries they rate.

Economist condemns US credit rating companies
Photo: DPA

The director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on Thursday the agencies were anachronisms from the 1990s, which US regulators had “imposed” on European and other nations.

Straubhaar’s tough words came as Europeans expressed frustration with credit rating company Standard & Poor’s after it lowered Greece’s credit rating to junk bond status, putting it on par with countries like Pakistan.

The lowered rating makes it difficult for Greece to restructure its debt and take other steps to resolve its burgeoning financial crisis, which threatens to overwhelm other European Union states.

The economist appealed to the German federal government to help come up with a new system to end the US companies’ influence, which he said was unsuitable for Europe and created problems.

“These private companies drive policy, and thus produce not more, but less stability,” Straubhaar told the newspaper.

DAPD/The Local/mdm

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ECONOMY

German consumer prices set to rise steeply amid war in Ukraine

Russia's war in Ukraine is slowing down the economy and accelerating inflation in Germany, the Ifo Institute has claimed.

German consumer prices set to rise steeply amid war in Ukraine

According to the Munich-based economics institute, inflation is expected to rise from 5.1 to 6.1 percent in March. This would be the steepest rise in consumer prices since 1982.

Over the past few months, consumers in Germany have already had to battle with huge hikes in energy costs, fuel prices and increases in the price of other everyday commodities.

READ ALSO:

With Russia and Ukraine representing major suppliers of wheat and grain, further price rises in the food market are also expected, putting an additional strain on tight incomes. 

At the same time, the ongoing conflict is set to put a dampener on the country’s annual growth forecasts. 

“We only expect growth of between 2.2 and 3.1 percent this year,” Ifo’s head of economic research Timo Wollmershäuser said on Wednesday. 

Due to the increase in the cost of living, consumers in Germany could lose around €6 billion in purchasing power by the end of March alone.

With public life in Germany returning to normal and manufacturers’ order books filling up, a significant rebound in the economy was expected this year. 

But the war “is dampening the economy through significantly higher commodity prices, sanctions, increasing supply bottlenecks for raw materials and intermediate products as well as increased economic uncertainty”, Wollmershäuser said.

Because of the current uncertainly, the Ifo Institute calculated two separate forecasts for the upcoming year.

In the optimistic scenario, the price of oil falls gradually from the current €101 per barrel to €82 by the end of the year, and the price of natural gas falls in parallel.

In the pessimistic scenario, the oil price rises to €140 per barrel by May and only then falls to €122 by the end of the year.

Energy costs have a particularly strong impact on private consumer spending.

They could rise between 3.7 and 5 percent, depending on the developments in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and the German government’s ability to source its energy. 

On Wednesday, German media reported that the government was in the process of thrashing out an additional set of measures designed to support consumers with their rising energy costs.

The hotly debated measures are expected to be finalised on Wednesday evening and could include increased subsidies, a mobility allowance, a fuel rebate and a child bonus for families. 

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s proposals for future energy price relief

In one piece of positive news, the number of unemployed people in Germany should fall to below 2.3 million, according to the Ifo Institute.

However, short-time work, known as Kurzarbeit in German, is likely to increase significantly in the pessimistic scenario.

SHOW COMMENTS