Thursday, April 03, 2008


Continuam a chegar-nos de todos os lados e por todos os meios anúncios de crise. Da crise que já chegou, da crise que aí está, da crise que aí vem. Uma vez por outra, aparece uma alma mais animada a dizer que a crise está a passar mas ninguém lhe liga. A maioria está de acordo: o pior ainda está para vir. Para George Soros os culpados da crise começaram por ser Margareth Teatcher e Ronald Reagan, nos anos 80, quando deram ouvidos a quem lhes disse que o capitalismo ou era neo liberal e desregulado ou não era peixe nem carne. Aqueles que se aproveitaram da rédea solta e encheram a burra, fizeram o que a falta de regras lhes permitiu fazer. Resultado: Enquanto não forem restabelecidas as regras que contenham os ímpetos do animal a crise pode amainar mas reacender-se-á mais tarde.
Mas se já percebemos todos porque é que a crise detonou e as convulsões ainda não pararam, é difícil perceber este coro de anunciadores oficiais de maiores estragos: Se os mercados respondem a estímulos psicológicos, se se comandam por expectativas, o pregão de maiores desgraças, só por si, acabará por arruinar ainda mais o cenário e afligir-nos a todos. Alguém ganhará com isso?
George Soros, certamente.
Bernanke warns US economy could shrink
By Krishna Guha in Washington

The US economy will not grow much if at all during the first half of this year and “could even contract slightly”, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday, admitting for the first time that a “recession is possible”.
The chairman of the Federal Reserve said its recent actions – big interest rate cuts and emergency measures to support market liquidity – “appear to have helped stabilise the situation” in financial markets “somewhat.” But he said those markets remained under “considerable stress”.

Amid tough questioning from Democrats, Mr Bernanke defended the decision to intervene to save investment bank Bear Stearns from collapse. The central bank’s rescue of Bear raised “difficult questions”, he said. But the damage caused by a default ”could have been severe and extremely difficult to contain” with fallout for the real economy as well as the financial system.
He told lawmakers that the Fed’s emergency loan to Bear Stearns followed a warning by the company on March 13 that it would have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy the following day.
Charles Schumer, the Democratic chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, claimed there was a “dichotomy” whereby policymakers’ were willing to risk public funds to stabilise financial markets but were not intervening directly to support distressed homeowners.
“We address the financial problems because we think they affect Main Street,” Mr Bernanke said.
Investors saw Mr Bernanke’s remarks as evidence of an increased likelihood of further rate cuts and the S&P 500 rebounded from earlier losses. Investors continued to buy financials, buoyed by a remark by the chairman that another Wall Street dealer was unlikely to fail.
However, some analysts challenged the notion that Mr Bernanke’s remarks increased the probability of rate cuts, noting that he said “much necessary economic and financial adjustment has already taken place” and that “monetary and fiscal policies are in train that should support a return to growth.”
The Fed chief said he believed the central bank had been “creative” in finding ways to help ease liquidity strains and believed it now had a “full complement of liquidity provision tools”.
He made no suggestion that he thought it was yet necessary to resort to outright public intervention in the mortgage market. But he urged Congress to focus on housing issues and promised to tell lawmakers if he believed additional action was needed.
Mr Bernanke also said the Treasury plan to overhaul the regulation of the US financial system was an “interesting and useful first step”.
But he said the Fed would need to be sure it had the “powers, authority and expertise” to perform its proposed enhanced role as guardian of overall financial stability.
Mr Bernanke said the growth outlook was weaker now than it was when the Fed released its last set of forecasts in January.
The Fed expects growth to strengthen in the second half of the year as fiscal and monetary stimulus kicks in, he said.
But “the uncertainty attending this forecast is quite high and risks remain to the downside”.
Mr Bernanke noted the recent improvement in the core inflation rate. But he said “uncertainty about the inflation outlook has increased”.
He said financial market stress has “weighed on real economic activity” – above all in housing.
Concerns about job and income prospects, falling home prices and tighter credit conditions, “have caused consumer spending to decelerate considerably”.

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