Roubini Concerns About the Future of the EMU – World Economic Forum, Davos, 2006
While in the last few weeks it has become conventional wisdom to worry about the troubles of Greece and other PIIGS and to express concern about the future of the EMU, much of the recent market commentary sounds like Monday morning quarterbacking and worrying about a problem after it has emerged well into the daylight. But, some observers – Marty Feldstein of Harvard, Daniel Gros of CEPS, Martin Wolf of the FT and others like myself – were very early in expressing the concerns about the EMU that have now clearly emerged in the markets.
Specifically, in January 2006 I attended a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos on the topic of the “Ups and Downs of EMU” (European Monetary Union) where ECB head Trichet, EU Commissioner Almunia, Italian Economy Minister Tremonti, a few other EU officials and myself were supposed to discuss the following questions: Will EMU collapse in the future? Which country will exit first? What will be the consequences of a break-up of EMU? How to avoid that? And what are the prospects for the Growth and Stability Pact? Unlike the other panelists that ignored the topic and spoke instead about all the good things allegedly associated with EMU, I took the questions seriously by considering some of the problems and risks faced by EMU and the risks of a break-up, especially for the case of Italy.
My remarks expressing concerns about Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain, caused a stir with the Italian Minister Tremonti who – in a now famous incident covered by the world press – interrupted me in the middle of my comments and to the consternation of the panel participants shouted out to me: “Go Back to Turkey!!” (I happen to have been born in Istanbul and had started my remarks saying so).
Here is a verbatim report of my remarks at that famous WEF/Davos panel in January 2006. There is no Monday morning quarterbacking here.
Remarks of Nouriel Roubini at the World Economic Forum panel on “Ups and Downs of EMU” in Davos in January 2006:
“I have been introduced in this panel as presenting the “transatlantic” perspective on EMU. Actually, as I spent twenty years of my life in Italy and as I was born in Istanbul Turkey that will hopefully be one part a member of the EU my perspective is internationalist rather than transatlantic.
Also, I must clarify that, unlike some transatlantic observers that were always skeptical of EMU – perhaps because of their concerns about the rising economic, political and geostrategic power of a united Europe – I was an early and strong supporter of the idea of a European Monetary Union. My current concerns are that, while EMU has lead to a process of convergence of nominal variables (inflation, interest rates, etc.). it has also been associated with a process of increased divergence in economic performance, especially regarding economic growth rates. This economic performance divergence is a serious problem for some EMU countries (Italy, Portugal, Greece, Spain) and it may eventually lead to a collapse of EMU. I am not supportive of such a collapse but, unless appropriate macro and structural economic policies are undertaken, the risk of a break-up becomes serious.
Before the creation of EMU there was a wide debate on whether the Eurozone was an optimal currency area. The Euro-skeptics made the following points:
- Monetary unions have to be associated with a full political union as one needs political legitimacy for monetary policies oriented towards price stability and disciplined fiscal policy.
- There has to be a high degree of business cycle synchronization; local/national specific shocks to output or growth need to be limited.
- There has to be a high degree of labor market flexibility – both in terms of real wages and labor mobility – to deal with real shocks.
- The EU lacks the fiscal federalisms of the US where regional shocks to output/GDP have less effects on incomes/GDP because of the effects of federal tax, transfers and government spending.
- There is the need for more economic flexibility and structural reforms to substitute for the lack of independent macro policies.
The EMU-skeptics concerns were dismissed by supporters of EMU based on the following arguments:
- Trade integration within the Eurozone had already lead to greater output/growth synchronization and EMU would lead to further trade integration and real synchronization.
- Because of structural rigidities, monetary policy is ineffective in affecting output and growth both in the long run and the short run; i.e. the Philips curve is vertical both in the short and long run.
- Lack of independent monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policy would lead to faster structural reforms that would lead to greater real convergence.
The reality has turned out to be somewhat different as structural reforms have occurred in most member countries but at a pace that is less than optimal, way too slow. Also, the lack of macro policy flexibility has made reforms politically harder. Indeed the costs of reforms in terms of sacrifices are all in the short run while the benefits in the long run; and reform may have adverse demand effects in the short run as they may lead to precautionary savings. Thus, macro stimulus is necessary to facilitate politically difficult structural reforms. The lack of these macro policy tools has thus been an hindrance to reforms in some of the Eurozone countries.
The problem with EMU is that the growth performance of the Eurozone has been dismal in the last few years. The average growth rate in 2001-2005 has been about 1%. Is this slow growth all structural? The answer is no as structural rigidities and slower population growth imply that Eurozone potential growth is probably closer to 2% than the 3.5 of the US. So, the gap between the potential 2% and the actual 1% must be due to macro policies. The US reacted to the 2001 recession by slashing short rates from 6.5% to 1%, turning a large 2.5% of GDP fiscal surplus in to a 3.5% deficit and by letting the US dollar to sharply fall between 2002 and 2004. While US easing may have been excessive and reckless in the case of fiscal policy, the reaction of the Eurozone was too timid; the ECB – excessively concerned about inflation reduced rate much more slowly and less – down to 2% – than the Fed. Fiscal policy changed only marginally and the Euro sharply appreciated until early 2005. So, tight macro policies contributed to the shallow recovery of the Eurozone from the 2001 recession.
More ominously for EMU, there is a growing divergence of economic performance and growth rates within the Eurozone. The ECB argues – based on its research -that there is not growth divergence as:
- The standard deviation of the growth rates within the Eurozone has not increased after EMU was formed.
- The dispersion of growth rates within EMU is similar to that of the 50 states within the US.
These statistics are misleading for several reasons:
- The average Eurozone growth rate has fallen since 2001; therefore the dispersion (standard deviation) of growth rates around this lower mean will be lower. One should look at the coefficient of variation (the standard deviation divided by the mean growth rate) to get a correct measure of dispersion. And the latter measure show increased divergence.
- The standard deviation between 1999 and 2005 is stable because the 3 largest Eurozone economies (Germany, Italy, France) have underperformed and moved together. So, low dispersion is driven by a mediocre growth of the largest economies; the divergence between these laggards and the rest of the Eurozone has increased.
- US states are very different from EU nations in two crucial dimensions; first, if there is a regional recession in Texas, folks pack and move to states with higher growth and employment, i.e. there is larger labor mobility in the US than in the Eurozone. Second, fiscal federalism (the automatic and policy induced change in taxes, spending and transfers) implies that a dollar fall in output in a US state in a regional recession leads only to a 60 cents reduction in actual income. So in the US state GNPs diverge much less than GDPs. This is not the case in Europe where EU wide spending and taxed are minimal.
In summary, there is serious growth divergence in the Eurozone area. This performance divergence is leading to serious tensions in fiscal and monetary policy. Given the growth slowdown and the political difficulties of fiscal adjustment when growth is mediocre, larger fiscal deficit are emerging in many laggard countries. These persistent violations of the GSP are a medium term threat to EM and to the ECB no bailout rule. Also, economic divergence and the tensions it is creating is leading to political pressures on the ECB to do more to stimulate growth, as the reaction of EU finance ministers to the ECB December 2005 decision to hike rates by 25bps shows.
This growth divergence is becoming a serious threat to EMU. As an increasing number of European observers are suggesting, different countries are coping differently to these challenges. Daniel Gros has shown that Germany has reacted with corporate restructuring, cutting labor costs and “competitive deflation”. I would argue that Italy has done little and is experiencing “stagdeflation”, a combination of stagnation and deflation. Indeed, as shown by Daniel Gros Italian labor costs have increased by 20% relative to those of Germany since EMU while Italy’s trade market shares have fallen by 20% relative to Germany. Similar competitiveness problems are faced by Greece, Portugal and Spain.
Gros correctly also points out that the divergence in GDP growth rates has been lessened by the housing bubbles in countries like Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece as low short rates and low long rates (driven by a global bond market conundrum) have caused unsustainable asset bubbles. The current loss of competitiveness of Spain is hidden by the housing bubble but, once this bubble burst, these problems will seriously emerge.
And unfortunately, the lack of serious economic reforms in Italy implies that there is a growing risk that Italy may end up like Argentina. This is not a foregone conclusion but, if Italy does not reform, an exit from EMU within 5 years is not totally unlikely. Indeed, like Argentina, Italy faces a growing competitiveness loss given an increasingly overvalued currency and the risk of falling exports and growing current account deficit. The growth slowdown will make the public deficit and debt worse and potentially unsustainable over time. And if a devaluation cannot be used to reduce real wages, the real exchange rate overvaluation will be undone via a slow and painful process of wage and price deflation. But such deflation will keep real rates high and exacerbate the growth and fiscal crisis. Without necessary reforms, eventually this vicious circle of stagdeflation would force Italy to exit EMU, return to the Lira and default on its Euro debts. Some argue that Italy or other EMU laggards would not exit EMU because a sharp devaluation of the new Lira – needed to regain the lost competitiveness – would make the real value Euro debt much higher and unsustainable for the government, the private sector and households. But look at what happened to Argentina: it devalued and given the balance sheet effects of the depreciation on their US debts it was forced to pesify its dollar debts. Similarly, Italy would be forced to liralize its Euro debts. If Italy were to exit EMU this effective default on domestic and external – public and private – Euro debt obligation would become unavoidable. And a sovereign nation is able to follow such policies – EMU exit, return to national currency and effective default on Euro debt – regardless of any legal or formal constraints that the EMU treaty imposes in terms of no exit clauses. This is not science fiction as Argentina was forced to do the same.
What would be the systemic effect of such Italian exit from EMU? They would be extremely severe on EU capital markets as Italy would default on some of its external debt – the part of its Euro debts held by non-residents. The contagion effects to other EU capital markets and banks would be severe. And the no bailout rule of the ECB would become effectively threatened as the ECB would be forced to monetize both liquidity and solvency induced runs to avoid a systemic effect on EU financial markets.
In conclusion, my view is that EMU can work and has worked for the Eurozone countries that have reformed and are reforming. But, unless Italy and other Eurozone laggards change their policies to pursue serious economic reforms that restore competitiveness and growth, they will eventually be forced to exit EMU. This would be a disaster but a disaster that may become unavoidable unless policies change. And I am currently pessimistic about the chances that such changes may occur given the policy makers and policies currently in place in countries like Italy.”
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34 Responses to “Roubini Concerns About the Future of the EMU – World Economic Forum, Davos, 2006”
Cool piece professor! Remember the phrase We are all subprime now?”Gros correctly also points out that the divergence in GDP growth rates has been lessened by the housing bubbles in countries like Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece as low short rates and low long rates (driven by a global bond market conundrum) have caused unsustainable asset bubbles. The current loss of competitiveness of Spain is hidden by the housing bubble but, once this bubble burst, these problems will seriously emerge.”It all goes back to the global housing bubble which the talking heads and Goldilocks thought/think could be done away just by running Benny’s printing press.If the WW central banks Benny-style liquidity rig fails to control the housing bubble spill and subsequent credit crisis, the crisis will come back with gale force! Making it one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than the original.
What’s your present guestimate (%) on the “IF”?Can the fed loan directly to home owners after another down turn? What are their limits? By the way, evidently States are considering creating their own banks.Comment yesterday from guest:”The Web of Debt by Ellen Brown puts a whole new perspective on the coming nightmare. In simplistic terms, the key is take back money creation from private bankers.”"We all know the banks are insolvent if we mark those SIVs to market, so let’s take over (nationalize) one or more TBTFs with their credit card business and allow the government to create loans directly.”
Kowtow to you, Prof. Roubini.Unlike the US, the Greeks can’t print.In Greece, better to just Ask Questions.Best,P1AQL.
Hey-I took your course at Stern.fabulous it was indeed!An OCA is a form of a peg….all pegs in history have eventually failed.after the work I did on the Mexico and Argentina cases,after studying Bailouts/Bailins,and from your insights and historical observations I concluded that the Euro is doomed and have profited from the short position.thank-you.
Better than expected??? hahahaha
Better than expected??? hahahaha
While there’s nothing to disagree with in the analysis of the difficulties of the Union (i.e., that the US is able to maintain union because of the “effects of federal tax, transfers and government spending”), I think that in the light of events since 2006, the analysis missed a key point: the EMU is taking steps to achieve the level of integration enjoyed by the US.Like the northern states of the US and the relatively poor south and mountain west, Germany and France are providing transfer payments to Greece. In exchange, they are seeking to get a sensible restructuring, unlike the change by chaos that happens in the US without design. The Europeans’ problem is not the willingness of the EMU to provide the conditions for integration. It is that there are good reasons not to invest in the south. Corruption, lack of infrastructure, and lower educational levels make it more difficult to build high value-added industry in the south.So, credit to Prof. Roubini for recognizing before most observers that the strains would reach the breaking point, but give credit to the Europeans for the steps they are taking. Also, note that Italy is to the surprise of everyone in better shape (as judged by spreads) than the other PIIGS.And let’s all hope the Europeans do hold it together. A default by a major nation would have major impact on the United States.
There are at least two Nouriel Roubini’s:The “Analytical Nouriel” provides a framework which has an unbroken track record of success…he is a “savant”.The “Public Nouriel” is a confusing mix of publicity-seeking and connections to the corrupt IMF-Larry Summers axis.Ignore the latter and study every word of the former-coin money.
From above:I said: “f the WW central banks Benny-style liquidity rig fails to control the housing bubble spill and subsequent credit crisis, the crisis will come back with gale force! Making it one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than the original.”and hloew asked:”What’s your present guestimate (%) on the “IF”?”Difficult question. I am now researching the following question: How much worse than the subprime-initiated US housing bubble/securitization scam is the Sovereing debt crisis (SDC)?Note that my statement above already assumes the SDC is at least as bad as subprime. If it is a lot worse than subprime, then we better run for cover. The fact that the EU’s monetary and political unity my fall apart because of the SDC makes the analysis difficult anf the whole thing very scary.I am starting to see a lot of parallelism between the SDC and the way the US subprime crisis unfolded.Remember those days back in this blog? It was the Professor and a handful of “nuts” against mostly everybody else in denial.The hypocrites at GS and the former treasury secretary (the other Paulson) knew how bad subprime was but sat quietly so that GS could unwind its HUGE position at a profit.I am not back into gold but I am starting to think hard about it.
http://economycollapse.blogspot.com/2010/05/greece-riots-100000-fight-against-harsh.html.g.c. , in a nut shell. pithy.
Check this out. This was on Feb 05:”For now, the bond king Bill Gross doesn’t see the sovereign debt crisis as being on the same magnitude as the subprime crisis, but he thinks a similar dynamic is at play.”Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gross-the-sovereign-debt-crisis-is-subprime-all-over-again-2010-2#ixzz0n9PSWTNV
Diz one really got me scared!StreetTalk With Bob LenznerSmart Money Is Short Debt Of Greece, Spain, Portugal And JapanRobert Lenzner, 04.30.10, 05:00 PM EDTBut the sovereign debt crisis won’t be another subprime meltdown.http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/30/sovereign-debt-subprime-smart-money-markets-greece-lenzner-streettalk.html
Check this one out by Mauldin.http://www.investorsinsight.com/blogs/john_mauldins_outside_the_box/archive/2010/04/26/the-making-of-a-greek-tragedy.aspx…Let me give you a few key points as an intro to this week’s Outside the Box. First, there is a bubble building and it is in sovereign debt. It threatens to be a worse bubble than subprime or the credit crisis. Second, at one panel where we were asked what is our main worry, Paul McCulley said “Europe,” which triggered an intense discussion, both in the panel and later that night over dinner. I agreed, of course, as I have written that very thing.…The Making of a Greek TragedyFrom Stratfor (quoted by Mouldin)The Greek default therefore is no longer an isolated problem, but a problem that threatens to aggravate an already weakened European banking sector. One of the most misunderstood facts of the international financial world is that even at the peak of the U.S. subprime crisis, in the dark hours when American hedge funds seemed to be snapping like matchsticks, Europe’s banks were in even worse shape. As the Americans stabilized, so did their banks. But Europe never cleaned house, and now a Greek tsunami is poised to wash over the whole mess. [emphasis mine - JM]…
Worse than subprime ?http://www.edmond-de-rothschild.ch/news/viewpoint/eb52c641-f2a2-481b-870b-52eb7624b2ac.aspx
Diz is what the eye ca see:http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/02/weekinreview/02marsh.html?ref=global
Spanish banks getting hammered today. What have they done?
Octavio, glad to see you back on Roubini. I’ve been mostly at Zerohedge these days since I had the impression that Nouriel was actually trying to kill off the comments section (I suspected Larry Summers was pressuring him.)Regarding this Euro mess, Kolvakis over at ZH recently posted two videos by a William Engdahl which appeared on the RT website, ie, Russian television. In these videos, which should be taken with a grain of salt, given Engdahl’s pandering to the Russians (in my opinion), he claims that this collapse of the Euro is part of a US strategy to undermine Europe. This is not entirely unplausible considering that the US dollar has massively benefitted from this and has asserted its reserve status unreservedly. Presumably, this will aid the treasury auctions. But there could also be some geopolitical strategy involved as well. I think asking the question “cui bono” could definitely lead to some fruitful analysis. Indeed, I read that Moody’s had put in a bad word on Spanish banks just to get the contagion going, even though Kolvakis claims that the Spanish banks are exceptionally strong. Since we know already that the rating agencies never do anything at arm’s length, this seems plausible. There is also the claim that Goldman Sachs engineered the Greek entry to the EU by effectively concealing the fact that the Greeks were technically ineligible for the EU; presumably, GS knew all too well the downside risk and may have recently profited from that. I think we tend to ignore the geopolitical angle on financial blogs.I’d be interested in knowing what you think of all this.
nouri,thanks.the fact that you got yelled at is the price of speaking to truth?it is simple? the difference in financial ethics was bound toresult in what is happening (all over the world, yes?).you are right that they will have to be helped.we have been living in the reagan bubble for 30 years and now we haveto help those who have been carried beyond their means?out of the process will come a more regularized global financialsystem.
SPAIN Needs 360 Billion?Is there any truth to this?”Spain’s main equity index fell Tuesday by 4.3 percent; bank stocks fell by about 6 percent. The markets were hit by a rumor that Spain might soon ask for as much as $360 billion worth of aid from the eurozone countries. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called the rumor “complete madness,”http://www.scpr.org/news/2010/05/04/world-markets-drop-as-europe-debt-fears-widen/
IMO, the SDC is just a continuation of the subprime/financial crisis we started. As posted at TPC: (www.pragcap.com):TPC, I just “saw the light” on the sovereign debt crisis. When the subprime crisis was unfolding someone at CR or Roubini coined the term:WE ARE ALL SUBPRIME NOWThat is exactly what is terribly wrong with Europe. The BIG problem is not the potential dissolution of the monetary and political union. The problem is that just like with the US consumer, the EU miracle wasn’t such. It was just another Ponzi scheme in which weak EU members (most of them) were able to borrow using a strong currency under very favorable terms so that they could buy all the junk Germany, the US, and china sold them. There never was real economic strength. It was all smoke and mirrors.I visit Italy and Greece every year and I could never quite buy the miracle. The that the tide has come down we ca see most EU members were swimming naked!IMO, this is gonna be A LOT WORSE than subprime.
Me tinks that the europeans did it to themselves.
Now that was a hell of a ride at Wall Street, tonight!It fills me with nostalgy…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AePFDl8Aqtk
IMO, when governments admit their bankrupt, they will print and print and print. IMO, this is why Soros says gold is the biggest bubble of all and positioned himself accordingly. If this is true, “paper bugs” will get hurt.Thats my answer to your question econominor.However margin calls tomorrow may be negative for gold.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/05/photogalleries/100504-gulf-of-mexico-oil-s pill-environment-nation-pictures/#gulf-oil-spill-satellite-picture-timeline-april-29_19873 _600x450.jpg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfqD9DRZmWw&feature=uploademail.” we just have to hope for the best ” ? anna k…..?.” at what point do you have to stand up to terrorism?”….”are we supposed to appease the terrorists?”……”if the government is going to be in bed with the investment banksthe people are left to stand for themselves.” ….”weapons of mass financial destruction.” but pure profit in theskillful hands of the true terrorist. the ” fab “. frankenderivatives. fully 50% of 40% of the gdp, at least.just when we have lost our local seafood and the ash is back and….but i was talking to a local business man who informed me thatthe local politicos don’t feel the need to think critically aboutsuch matters as they are either on long lunches or done for the day,by 2 pm.. on the course with their favorite bankers i suppose..all will work out, “we just have to hope for the best”..
pentagon / pentagram ofdebt. spooky and suggestive.
The absence of an acoustical regulator — a remotely triggered dead man’s switch that might have closed off BP’s gushing pipe at its sea floor wellhead when the manual switch failed (the fire and explosion on the drilling platform may have prevented the dying workers from pushing the button) — was directly attributable to industry pandering by the Bush team. Acoustic switches are required by law for all offshore rigs off Brazil and in Norway’s North Sea operations. BP uses the device voluntarily in Britain’s North Sea and elsewhere in the world as do other big players like Holland’s Shell and France’s Total. In 2000, the Minerals Management Service while weighing a comprehensive rulemaking for drilling safety, deemed the acoustic mechanism “essential” and proposed to mandate the mechanism on all gulf rigs.Then, between January and March of 2001, incoming Vice President Dick Cheney conducted secret meetings with over 100 oil industry officials allowing them to draft a wish list of industry demands to be implemented by the oil friendly administration. Cheney also used that time to re-staff the Minerals Management Service with oil industry toadies including a cabal of his Wyoming carbon cronies. In 2003, newly reconstituted Minerals Management Service genuflected to the oil cartel by recommending the removal of the proposed requirement for acoustic switches. The Minerals Management Service’s 2003 study concluded that “acoustic systems are not recommended because they tend to be very costly.”The acoustic trigger costs about $500,000. Estimated costs of the oil spill to Gulf Coast residents are now upward of $14 billion to gulf state communities. Bush’s 2005 energy bill officially dropped the requirement for the acoustic switch off devices explaining that the industry’s existing practices are “failsafe.”Bending over for Big Oil became the ideological posture of the Bush White House, and, under Cheney’s cruel whip, the practice trickled down through the regulatory bureaucracy. The Minerals Management Service — the poster child for “agency capture phenomena” — hopped into bed with the regulated industry — literally. A 2009 investigation of the Minerals Management Service found that agency officials “frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.” Three reports by the Inspector General describe an open bazaar of payoffs, bribes and kickbacks spiced with scenes of female employees providing sexual favors to industry big wigs who in turn rewarded government workers with illegal contracts. In one incident reported by the Inspector General, agency employees got so drunk at a Shell sponsored golf event that they could not drive home and had to sleep in hotel rooms paid for by Shell.Pervasive intercourse also characterized their financial relations. Industry lobbyists underwrote lavish parties and showered agency employees with illegal gifts, and lucrative personal contracts and treated them to regular golf, ski, and paintball outings, trips to rock concerts and professional sports events. The Inspector General characterized this orgy of wheeling and dealing as “a culture of ethical failure” that cost taxpayers millions in royalty fees and produced reams of bad science to justify unregulated deep water drilling in the gulf.It is charitable to characterize the ethics of these government officials as “elastic.” They seemed not to have existed at all. The Inspector General reported with some astonishment that Bush’s crew at the MMS, when confronted with the laundry list of bribery, public theft and sexual and financial favors to and from industry “showed no remorse.”BP’s confidence in lax government oversight by a badly compromised agency still staffed with Bush era holdovers may have prompted the company to take two other dangerous shortcuts. First, BP failed to install a deep hole shut off valve — another fail-safe that might have averted the spill. And second, BP’s reported willingness to violate the law by drilling to depths of 22,000-25,000 feet instead of the 18,000 feet maximum depth allowed by its permit may have contributed to this catastrophe.And wherever there’s a national tragedy involving oil, Cheney’s offshore company Halliburton is never far afield. In fact, stay tuned; Halliburton may emerge as the primary villain in this caper. The blow out occurred shortly after Halliburton completed an operation to reinforce drilling hole casing with concrete slurry. This is a sensitive process that, according to government experts, can trigger catastrophic blowouts if not performed attentively. According to the Minerals Management Service, 18 of 39 blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico since 1996 were attributed to poor workmanship injecting cement around the metal pipe. Halliburton is currently under investigation by the Australian government for a massive blowout in the Timor Sea in 2005 caused by its faulty application of concrete casing.
Not so long ago RGEmonitor (now Roubini.com) was the go to place for info, opinion and perspective on things economic. Since the site redesign, not only is navigation convoluted but many of the regular commenters disappeared. It is beyond me why a blogger and yes Roubini, among other things is a blogger, would intentionally alienate their base. Whatever the reasons it is too bad. It is nice to see that a few of the old timers are still commenting OR, Morbid, Blindman, Pecos and of course Guest.Hopefully the professor and or webmaster will consider creating an easy to locate space that can facilitate good discussion for readers of Roubini, I am sure that if that were to be done many old and new readers would visit more regularly.