Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Monday, January 20, 2014

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ILO warns young hit hardest as global unemployment continues to rise

International Labour Organisation says firms are increasing payouts to shareholders rather than investing in new workers

The world could face years of jobless economic recovery, with young people set to be hit hardest as global unemployment continues to rise this year, a report from the International Labour Organisation warns.

As the World Economic Forum kicks off in the Swiss town of Davos on Wednesday with a focus on growing inequality, the ILO has highlighted a "potentially dangerous gap between profits and people".

The UN agency forecasts millions more people will join the ranks of the unemployed as companies choose to increase payouts to shareholders rather than invest their burgeoning profits in new workers.

The ILO's Global Employment Trends report forecasts that world unemployment will rise to 6.1% this year from 6% in 2013 and will remain well above its pre-crisis rate of 5.5% for several years.

It puts the youth unemployment rate at 13.1%, more than double that for the whole workforce and almost three times the adult rate of 4.6% – a record for the ratio of youth to adult unemployment.

Guy Ryder, the ILO's director-general also highlighted rising inequality as wages fail to pick up, long-term unemployment problems intensify and progress stalls on cutting working poverty.

"Corporate profits are up and global equity markets are looking forward to another year of plenty, while at the same time unemployment and household incomes stand still," he said.

"The modest economic recovery has not translated into an improvement in the labour market in most countries. Businesses have been sitting on cash or buying back their own stocks, rather than investing in productive capacity and job creation."

His comments follow a report by Oxfam that the world's richest 85 people control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population put together.

Released on the eve of the Davos meeting of political and business big-hitters, the charity's report found the world's richest 85 share a combined wealth of £1tn, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion.

Ryder warned of the economic and social consequences of rising inequality, with labour market problems expected to worsen this year.

"If we fail to act, if we fail to tackle the youth jobs crisis, long-term unemployment, high drop-out rates and other pressing labour market issues, we will be destroying hopes for sustainable growth – and sowing the seeds of further, and perhaps deeper social unrest," he said.

The ILO said 5 million more people became unemployed last year, taking the global total to 202 million. That is forecast to rise to 215 million jobseekers by 2018 as employment growth, at 40 million net new jobs a year, fails to keep pace with the 42.6 million people expected to enter the labour market every year.

Young people will continue to be particularly affected by what the ILO describes as a "weak and uneven recovery".

The proportion of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) continues to rise. Some of the worst rates are in those countries hit by the eurozone crisis. In Spain and Ireland more than one in five young people are NEETs.

The ILO also painted a gloomy outlook for the long-term unemployed. "The average length of spells of unemployment has increased considerably, a further sign of feeble job creation," the report said.

"In many advanced economies, the duration of unemployment has doubled in comparison with the pre-crisis situation."

The average duration of unemployment has hit nine months in Greece and eight months in Spain.

The findings on so-called working poverty are mixed. The ILO said the number of working poor continues to decline globally, albeit at a slower rate than in previous decades.

In 2013, an estimated 375 million workers – or 11.9% of the world's workforce– lived on less than $1.25 (76p) a day, while 839 million – 26.7% – had to cope with $2 a day or less. That compares with much higher numbers in the early 2000s, of 600 million and more than 1.1 billion, respectively.

The ILO said emerging economies would continue to enjoy the lowest combined unemployment rate this year. It forecasts a jobless rate of 5.1% for the emerging economy members of the G20 group of nations, compared with 8.4% for the advanced economy members.

But it notes that growth in emerging markets has slowed markedly in the past two years.

That was underscored by official data from China showing the joint-weakest growth rate since 1999. GDP was up by 7.7% in the final three months of 2013, slightly down on the 7.8% growth seen in the third quarter.

In the previous decade, China grew at 10.5% annually, but growth in 2012 and 2013 was 7.7%.

The ILO said China's rapid growth had been reflected in a stark change in its workforce, as agricultural workers moved to take jobs in the fast expanding manufacturing sector. The share of the workforce employed in agriculture nearly halved, from around 70% at the beginning of the 1980s to 35% more recently.

But now China needs to press ahead with moves to improve productivity, as the supply of workers will not grow boundlessly, the ILO warned.

"The absolute number of people aged 15–64 in China is expected to decline in the years to come. As a consequence, China's potential pool of workers for the manufacturing sector is not growing any more," the report said.

Davos 2014DavosUnemployment and employment statisticsEconomicsUnemploymentGlobal economyKatie © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Bank of Greece, The : Balance sheet and profit and loss account for financial year 2013

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Born In Debt: Modern Greece's 180-Year History Of Borrowing

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Here Are 27 Fascinating Long-Term Investment Ideas From Wall Street's Brightest Minds

Most agree that we have witnessed the end of a massive, three-decade bull market in bonds.

Some are also skeptical of the potential for returns in the stock market in the years ahead, given common valuation multiples that are currently above historical averages.

We asked a few of our favorite traders, strategists, and economists for their best investment ideas for the next 10 years. Here's what they told us:

1. Greek GDP warrants

"These instruments are a bi-product of Greek debt restructuring and will pay a cent a year if and when Greek GDP hits certain thresholds. They won't pay those cents for several years yet because Greek GDP is still some way from the triggers, so they are suited to the patient professional investor with a long term horizon. But in the meantime default risk is tiny; it's hard to default when you only have to pay in good times."

—Gabriel Sterne, fixed income economist at Exotix

2. Qatari stocks

"On a ten year view I'd invest in the Tehran stock exchange, but given its difficult for US citizens in particular to do so, I'd pick the Doha Stock Market in Qatar. Qatar is a country with a GDP per citizen of around $1m that will be investing aggressively into World Cup 2022 to transform itself into a destination for millions of tourists. The country's stock exchange is being promoted to the main MSCI Emerging Markets index this May and trades at under 10x earnings (versus a historic level of 15-20x) with a 5% dividend yield and likely EPS growth of 10%, backed by the government who are extremely shareholder friendly given the locals own the majority of shares. The currency is pegged to the US dollar with appreciation potential. If/when US rates start to rise, net interest margins of local banks will expand dramatically. An easy way to invest is the closed-end Qatar Investment Fund listed in London, which gives you index exposure at a 10% discount to NAV. This should easily triple over 10 years in dollar terms with minimal downside risk."

—Emad Mostaque, strategist at NOAH Capital Markets

3. Chinese consumer sector

"No brainer."

—Jim O'Neill, former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management

4. Tier-2 residential real estate

"There is a great deal of room to rebalance income and output domestically from tier-1 cities that do not have the productivity to justify their high prices and incomes into tier-2 cities. Cities that are competitive may not be the outright cheapest: they are cheaper than tier-1 cities, but still have the fixed capital and stability to support enterprise."

—Matt Busigin, editor and principal author of Macrofugue Analytics

5. Short volatility

"I'd choose ZIV, an ETN that tracks short exposure to medium-term VIX futures. The reason for this choice is that the volatility risk premium is one of the best and most persistent sources of risk-adjusted returns, and selling the middle of the VIX curve has outperformed a lot of related volatility strategies."

—Jared Woodard, principal of Condor Options

6. Farmland

"Ten years is a long time in investments (this time 10 years ago, Eastman-Kodak was a Dow component) so a ten-year single lock-in investment is going to have to meet some criteria: (1) unlikely to be disrupted by technology; (2) meets a need somewhere towards the bottom of Maslow's pyramid; (3) produces a yield; and (4) expectation of capital gain. With this in mind, my ten-year lock-in investment would be agricultural land. The customer base is growing. The customers have little choice about buying the production from agricultural land. It produces a yield. Supply is limited (full disclosure — I own a farm)."

—Lorcan Roche Kelly, strategist at Agenda Research

7. Mortgages

"You are getting paid a premium for risk (extension and prepayment) that has largely been removed. And if we are entering a rising rate environment, you get to reinvest amortizing principal in higher coupons. Rates would have to fall significantly to accelerate prepayments. Plus supply will be shrinking acting as a natural cap on yields. Banks still have tepid loan demand and rising deposits. Buying Fed induced market pukes has been very profitable."

— Vince Foster, interest rate strategist

8. International pressure pumping

"The one investment I think I'd make to hold over the next 10 years would be in oil services, particularly focusing on international pressure pumping. While crude oil continues to ratchet upwards in price and get more and more expensive to find, natural gas through hydraulic fracturing seems to get easier with the boundaries for ever wider-scale production halted by the factionalism and arbitrary hypocrisy of government controls, particularly in the shale rich areas of South America. Those barriers must fall, given the price differential that continues to expand between crude and gas; and the international services group will be the most likely long-term benefactors — think Schlumberger (SLB) and Baker-Hughes (BHI)."

—Dan Dicker, president of MercBloc

9. Southeast Asia

"On the horizon of the next ten years I would probably be looking at Southeast Asia, very favorable demographics and growth potential, and property in the U.S."

—Michael McDonough, chief economist at Bloomberg LP

10. Real assets

"In particular, residential housing looks like an attractive long term bet, especially in places where big adjustments have taken place – or there hasn’t been a bubble in the first place. Baltics in Europe is one good spot with favorable macroeconomic environment amidst stimulative external conditions. Latvia joining the euro zone this year, and Lithuania likely from 2015, the countries will likely catch up with Estonia where home prices are already rising at a double digit pace."

—Aurelija Augulyte, macro strategist at Nordea

11. Top 100 S&P 500 market cap stocks

"And sunscreen."

—David Bianco, chief U.S. equity strategist at Deutsche Bank

12. Something with yield

"Phew, it’s going to be low return world. Something with as solid yield as possible in a decent currency. I own a yield play in Singapore dollars, as an example. Or, if you can find it, rural land with a yield (so probably counts out US farms)."

—Gerard Minack, principal of Minack Advisors

13. Base metal and rare earth mining companies

"If I could own something for the next 10 years, it’d have to be base metal and rare earth mining companies. It’s an area that has not matched in any sense the uplift in global equities. China is key. Any dips in copper prices have been bought by the Chinese as they add to inventories. Once these start to run out and when we see a proper return to growth here in Europe and the US, I would expect to see these very much in demand. On the rare earth metals, the fact that China is moving to tighten control on this industry. Their uses in defence and telecommunications, particularly make them a relevant investment for the future."

—Brenda Kelly, chief market strategist at IG Markets

14. U.S. small cap stocks

—Rich Bernstein, founder of Richard Bernstein Advisors

15. Urban core real estate in "Rust Belt" cities

"Not only do I think this is the best investment out there on a risk-adjusted basis, I don't think it's particularly close. White flight and the de-industrialization of our cities is a trend that's over. The white population of Detroit shrank by 96% from 1950-2010. Meanwhile, while the outer suburbs of those cities continues to shrink, the inner cores are getting younger and more educated. While house prices per square foot are north of $1,000 in parts of San Francisco and New York, you can buy into most of these cities for under $100/square foot. It's only a matter of time before we start talking about places like Buffalo and Pittsburgh and Milwaukee as the Berlins and Brooklyns for the next generation. Not all of these cities will be home runs, and it'd be preferable to live in one yourself if you're going to invest, but the list of options is very long: Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Hartford, Providence, Kansas City, St. Louis, Memphis, and Birmingham, for starters. I'd focus on ones with pro sports teams, strong universities, and busier airports."

—Conor Sen, portfolio manager at New River Investments

16. Long stocks, short bonds

—Joe LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank

17. International health care

"For the next 10 years: healthcare, pharmaceutical, bio-pharma and bio-tech stocks with significant markets exposure outside the US. Investment case for these is made by the expectation that once Emerging and Middle-Income economies' middle and upper-middle classes satisfy their demand for leather couches and SUVs, their demand will refocus on their health and life expectancy. This demand acceleration will likely coincide with continued build up of health threats to the emerging markets from internal pollution and environmental degradation, and accelerating ageing and health concerns in the advanced economies. Timing for the demand pressures materialisation is a lot longer than 10 years, but investment window for pricing these risks forward is closing fast. The next 'perfect storm' in global economies is likely to be ageing-related one."

—Constantin Gurdgiev, adjunct professor of finance at Trinity College, Dublin, and University College, Dublin

18. Yourself

"In yourself, from both a physical and educational perspective."

—Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ

19. Short commodities

"For the next 10 years, I like shorting commodities. I expect little inflation—and more likely, deflation—so changes in real and nominal commodity prices will be about the same. The attached chart shows that real commodity prices have fallen steadily since the mid-1800s, despite huge growth in commodity demand from the American Industrial Revolution after the Civil War, forced industrialization of Japan in the late 1800s, mass-produced autos starting in the 1920s, etc. Commodity price spikes caused by demand leaps in the Civil War and World Wars I and II were soon reversed as were price leaps due to the oil supply constraints in the 1970s. Many look for jumping commodity prices in future years since there are limited amounts of copper in the earth’s crust, two billion more mouths to feed, upgrading of diets and rising consumer spending in developing countries, etc. The reality, however, is that human ingenuity always beats threatened shortages. Coke made from coal saved the Industrial Revolution, which was threatened by a shortage of hardwood trees to make charcoal to smelt iron. In the early 1800s, overhunting had decimated the world’s whale population to the point that the lights would go out from a lack of whale oil, many feared. Then in 1858, Edwin Drake drilled a crude oil well in Titusville, Pa., and kerosene lamps rode to the rescue. I can recall when serious economists forecast the end of telecommunications growth because of shortages of copper for wires. Then came fiber optics."

—Gary Shilling, economist

20. The S&P 500

"I hate to be unimaginative here, but 10 years is a long time to hold a very specific investment.  Sure the energy renaissance has a long time horizon, but what will it look like in 3 years much less 10? Who can say? I’d say the S&P 500. I have a chart below that is my favorite chart of all time. I created it over a decade ago and it hasn’t failed me yet.  It simply shows the trailing PE and the next 10 years price return for the S&P 500.  Below is the shortened version of the one I have going back many decades. It’s amazing right? Future Nobel Prize, baby! AMIRIGHT?! Take that Shiller—this one actually WORKS. But I digress… Anyway, right now it shows the S&P 500 will generate about an 8% price return on average over the next 10 years. Add a 2% dividend and you get 10%. A 10% annualized total return is not a bad deal compared to bonds, commodities, or cash for the next 10 years. I'll take it."

—Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial

21. Energy-intensive U.S. manufacturing

"Energy-intensive manufacturing in the USA, generic biopharmaceutical products and any company globally that will be able to lever off the Chinese consumer." 

—David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates and author of "Breakfast with Dave"

22. Financial planning

"As it turns out, that is an easy question: Our own business. I have been plowing money into our own asset management business. This is not a reflection on the price of stocks or bonds, but more on the state of the financial industry. Wall Street is very good at serving its own interests, but terrible at serving its clients. This has created a huge opportunity or anyone who wants to put their clients first. I expect we have a 5 year ramp up before the rest of Wall Street starts to notice something is amiss. I believe there are 4 areas ripe for disruption: 1) Full service Financial Planning/Asset management, 2) Retirement Planning, 3) low cost asset management, 4) RIA Advisory services to members of the industry. We are in the midst of a very significant set of changes; The financial services industry is likely to look very different 10 years hence."

—Barry Ritholtz, chief investment officer at Ritholtz Wealth Management

23. Global stocks

"10 years is a long time. I am partial to Asian growth and was initially going to offer EWH or EWS but they both have small populations. The Indonesian ETFs give exposure to a large population with trading relationships throughout Asia but also seems too concentrated.  I would offer up Vanguard's Total World Stock Index ETF (VT) as a decent alternative. Though not having nearly enough exposure to emerging markets, it should offer downside protection in a big sell-off and inflation + performance on the upside." 

—Daniel A. Baffoe, Treasury sales/strategist at large

24. Investment discipline

"Practice Investment discipline — conduct quarterly portfolio reviews, practice diversification midst, rotation, use losses to offset tax liabilities from profit taking — back to basics. Never forget the quote Mark Twain is credited for: 'History may not repeat itself but it often rhymes.'"

—John Stoltzfus, chief market strategist at Oppenheimer

25. Value stocks

"GVAL (Cambria Global Value ETF) buys equities in the 10 cheapest countries as determined by long-term valuation metrics like the Shiller CAPE ratio."

—Meb Faber, chief investment officer and portfolio manager at Cambria Investment Management

26. Intellectual, social, physical, and emotional capital

"Giving stocks picks and the like is not the business of Abnormal Returns  I have written a lot over the past couple of years talking about the advances in low-cost investing. So in that regard investors would do well to take advantage of this 'free lunch.' So instead of spending countless hours trying to tease out the next hot stock why not invest in yourself. I know that sounds like a bit of new age cliche, but hear me out. The best investment you can make with your marginal dollar (or hour) is in your intellectual, social, physical and emotional capital. Most investment advice is about staying rich. The key to a richer, fuller life is maximizing your potential. For the vast majority of people, time spent in front of the computer searching for the next Twitter or Tesla isn't it."

—Tadas Viskanta, founder and editor of Abnormal Returns

27. Water

"The demand from frontier and emerging economies will collide with inefficient and archaic storage and distribution systems in the developed world. Climate change is altering the natural supply areas."

—Kevin Ferry, chief market strategist at Cronus Futures Management


Join the conversation about this story »



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UNITED NATIONS, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Syria's political opposition said on Monday it will withdraw from international peace talks scheduled this week unless United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon retracts an invitation to Iran, President Bashar al-Assad's main backer. Washington, however, suggested it could support Iran's participation if it explicitly declares its support for a June 2012 plan for a political transition that the United States says means Assad would have to step down. "This is something Iran has never done publicly and something we have long made clear is required," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. ""If Iran does not fully and publicly accept the Geneva communique, the invitation must be rescinded." Ban said earlier that he had invited Iran to attend the first day of talks on Jan. 22 in Montreux, Switzerland and that Tehran had pledged to play a "positive and constructive role" if it was asked to participate. Less than 48 hours since Syria's main political opposition group in exile, the National Coalition, agreed to attend the talks, dubbed "Geneva 2," it threatened to withdraw. "The Syrian Coalition announces that they will withdraw their attendance in Geneva 2 unless Ban Ki-moon retracts Iran's invitation," it said in a Twitter post, quoting National Coalition spokesman Louay Safi. Another senior Coalition member, Anas al-Abdah, told Al-Jazeera TV by phone that the body was "surprised" by the invitation to Iran. "It is illogical and we cannot in any way accept it." Some 130,000 people have been killed and a quarter of Syrians driven from their homes in the civil war, which began with peaceful protests against 40 years of Assad family rule and has descended into a sectarian conflict, with the opposing sides armed and funded by Sunni Arab states and Shi'ite Iran. Western and Gulf Arab nations say they have been reluctant to support the idea of Iran participating at all because it is supporting Assad militarily and has never backed a plan for a political transition in Syria agreed at an international conference in Geneva in June 2012. BAN EXPECTS IRAN REPLY SOON Ban said he had spoken at length with Iran's Foreign Minster Mohammad Javad Zarif in recent days and that he believed Tehran supported for the Geneva 2012 plan. "He has assured me that like all the other countries invited to the opening day discussions in Montreux, Iran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the 30 June, 2012, Geneva communique," he said. "Foreign Minister Zarif and I agreed that the goal of the negotiations is to establish by mutual consent a transitional governing body with a full executive powers," Ban said. "It was on that basis that Foreign Minister Zarif pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in Montreux." "Therefore as convener and host of the conference I have decided to issue an invitation to Iran to participate," Ban said. "Iran needs to participate as one of the important neighboring countries." Ban said he expected Iran would issue a statement soon in response to his invitation. Earlier this year the United States said that Iran might play a role on the sidelines of the Syria peace conference in Montreux. Tehran dismissed the idea of being relegated to the sidelines, saying it was beneath Iran's dignity. The key players in the talks are Assad's government and opposition rebels. The Islamic Front, an alliance of several Islamist fighting forces that represents a large portion of the rebels on the ground, said on Sunday it rejected the talks, further dampening hopes of success. Ban said he had invited on Sunday a total of 10 additional countries to attend on Jan. 22 - the Vatican, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea and Iran. Speaking to reporters at U.N. headquarters, Ban made clear that the full negotiations between the government and opposition would begin in earnest on Jan. 24 in Geneva. Syrian opposition groups and Washington, which accuse Tehran of supporting Assad with manpower and arms during the uprising against him, have long had reservations about the participation of Iran, although Ban and the United Nations' special envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, have long backed Tehran's involvement. While there has been a warming in U.S.-Iranian ties this year including a Nov. 24 deal to curb the Iranian nuclear program, there are no visible signs that this has led to greater improvement in other areas such as Syria, where they are on opposite sides of the civil war. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations, Oliver Holmes in Beirut and Ali Abdelatti in Cairo and Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Editing by Eric Walsh)


Greece: foreigners bring ever more funds to Athens bourse

(ANSAmed) – ATHENS, JANUARY 20 - The flow of funds into the Greek stock market from abroad has been constantly increasing since the fears of a Greek exit from the eurozone subsided, as daily Kathimerini reports. In the last 16 months (August 2012 ...


Greece confirms troika rejected 2014 fiscal plan

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UN's Ban invites Greece to take part in Geneva II talks on Syria

KathimeriniUN's Ban invites Greece to take part in Geneva II talks on SyriaKathimeriniUN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that apart from the 30 countries that are already due to take part in the negotiations, he has invited another 10 additional countries to attend the Vatican, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Mexico ...Syria: UN, Ban invites Iran to join Geneva 2 at last momentANSAmedSyria opposition threatens talks boycott over Iran inviteGlobalPostUN invites Iran to attend Syria peace talks -Associated Press of PakistanThomson Reuters Foundationall 2,193 news articles »


Greek mahi mahi – make it for dinner

Preparation: Preheat your broiler. Toss the tomatoes with the oil, vinegar and ½ tsp. salt Line a boiler pan or small 4-sided sheet pan with foil or parchment paper and lightly oil foil. Put fish, skin sides down, on a pan and season with ¼ ...


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Greek Authorities Comb Aegean for Missing Migrants

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