Monday, March 30, 2009

Insights from PE Conference Part II

More of the same doom and gloom scenarios with some interesting comments from the former head of the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development).

-There are major issues with banks in Europe since it is not uncommon for a bank's subsidiary, which functions entirely separately from its parent, to need additional capital to prevent a failure. Here's the problem, the parent bank is located in a different country. So XYZ bank is headquartered in Poland and has an Italian subsidiary that needs additional capital. Taxpayers in Poland have to put up the money to save an ostensibly Italian bank. That's caused some contention.

-Eastern and Central European consumers are more reselient than U.S. consumers because they are not as demanding. Most Europeans in the developing regions are more resourceful and use to living on meager incomes. So it's unlikely the consumer will be as distressed in those areas as they are in other developing regions.

-Lots of talk regarding the deleveraging of the U.S. consumer. That's a fancy way of saying americans are going to save more. According to a brand new study by McKinsey, every percentage point gained in the personal savings rate translates into $100 Billion of decreased spending, which can be a major drag on the economy. This of course, assumes income growth remains stagnate (which it has since 2000). If incomes increase, then spending can increase and savings can grow.

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