BNP Paribas expands credit, banking in East Africa, and more

BNP Paribas expanded its balance sheet by 23% (!) in the first quarter of 2020, as companies took out emergency loans in response to the coronavirus panic.

Sean Pawley talks about banking in East Africa on the Palladium Podcast (discussion about banks between 6:50 and 22:15). Multiple issues with banking in Rwanda and other countries in the region: economy runs on cash payments -> banks lack reliable data on borrowers -> high default rates -> unstable banks, high interest rates and fees, preference of cash over bank deposits. His solution: a narrow bank that eliminates credit risk. Provide a cellphone-based payment solution. Collect payment data. Based on the data, start making loans.

Perverse prikkels

Is het een drama dat iemand tijdelijk meer krijgt om thuis te blijven dan om te gaan werken?

Dit verhaal uit Amerika toont wat er kan gebeuren wanneer mensen per se willen gaan werken uit schrik om geld te verliezen:

Wat kost de economie en de maatschappij meer?

An EU super rebate would solve a lot of problems

European Union leaders agreed on a package of measures to support the economy after the damage done by Covid-19.

The summit took four days, because of tensions between member states that will be net payers and those that will be net receivers of EU funds.

However, I had a more elegant alternative, as I explained on Twitter (thread):

The EU missed an opportunity to provide macroeconomic support that matches the size of the corona shock, to increase safe assets and to avoid transfers between member states.

Government debt and inflation

Do deficits automatically lead to default or high inflation? No.

Here are some good reads:

Will deficit spending lead to inflation? There is a difference between developed and developing countries.

Who pays for this? How the United States dealt with its national debt after the Second World War.

Historical lessons from large increases in government debt. The debt was set aside in a sinking fund for repayment at a later date.

The blood boys from Brazil, and other corona stories

Some things that could happen1:

  • Blood farms sell the antibody plasma of recovered Covid-19 patients.
  • Jerome Powell, Steve Mnuchin and Dave Portnoy win the Nobel Prize for Economics.
  • As Tesla files for bankruptcy, its stock goes to $6000 – vindicating both $TSLAQ and Cathie Wood.

Aircraft leasing confirms all economic clichés

Cliché ideas of how the international economy works (see the work of Brad Setser and many others):

  • Companies use “financial centers” aka tax havens to minimize their tax bills.
  • Financial institutions in surplus countries invest the money abroad, but are not good at it.

Let’s have a look at how the aircraft leasing business works in reality.

Financial center? Check:
“Ireland is one of the biggest centres for airline leasing in the world. Many of the world’s biggest and best airline leasing companies are based in the Republic”, which explains why Ireland has 17,000 aircraft orders. [To be fair, financial centers also benefit from the concentration of specialized workers and firms.]

Financiers from Germany, Japan and China investing in low-margin, high risk businesses? Check:
Between 2010 and 2014, [Dublin-based aircraft leasing company] Avolon also raised US$6.1 billion in debt from the capital markets and a range of commercial and specialist aviation banks including Wells Fargo Securities, Citi, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, UBS, DVB, Nord LB and KfW IPEX-Bank. In 2017, Avolon entered the public debt markets and raised a total over US$9 billion in debt finance. In November 2018, Avolon announced that Japanese financial institution, ORIX Corporation had acquired a 30% stake in the business from its shareholder Bohai Capital, part of China’s HNA Group. (source: Wikipedia)