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Thomas, Pierre-Henri

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4 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Le Soir - Belgium | 18/07/2012

Negative interest rates not good news

On Tuesday Belgium joined the group of Eurozone countries that can borrow money at negative interest rates. But what sounds at first like good news really shows what a dire state the Eurozone is in, the left-liberal daily Le Soir comments: "The fact that investors are willing to accept no yields on their investments means that distrust has reached a worryingly high level. The banks would rather lose money than place it with another bank. Why? Because they don't rule out the possibility of a collapse of the Eurozone. ... And there is a second reason for not celebrating the negative interest rates: namely that they destabilise certain players on the financial markets. They cause major difficulties for insurers and pension funds that have guaranteed their clients specific yields. In short, the negative interest rates are, when examined closely, not good news at all. They herald a serious disease for which there is no cure far and wide."

Le Soir - Belgium | 29/05/2012

Rich Belgians can save themselves

Belgium was able to issue bonds on Monday at very low interest rates of under three percent. But that is not just due to the country's austerity policy, writes the daily Le Soir: "You remember: Belgium once had to pay interest rates of more than six percent on ten-year bonds. That was in November. But if the pressure has rapidly decreased, it's not just because we swore to high heaven that we would reduce our deficit. It was also because [ex prime minister] Yves Leterme launched his famous call to purchase government bonds. In just a matter of days the state gathered over 5 billion. The country then flexed its muscles and showed the markets that it would not let itself be intimidated. ... Yes, we have a public debt of almost 100 percent of the GDP, but with their 225 billion in savings the Belgian households will have no difficulty providing for the needs of the state. But virtue is not enough to save the Eurozone, today. What is needed is wealth. That's why growth must be put back on the European agenda on the double."

Le Soir - Belgium | 06/01/2012

Weak euro a crisis signal

The euro exchange rate fell intermittently by one US cent to 1.28 dollars on Thursday, marking the lowest level since September 2010. The weak euro shows how critical the situation is for the common currency, writes the daily Le Soir: "Perhaps companies that export to countries outside the Eurozone are happy at this news. But for everyone else it's a disaster. It is a further sign that Europe is plunging ever deeper into crisis and is incapable of coming up with even a hint of a response. No doubt turbulent times require long-term solutions, like the establishment of a European fiscal policy. But - and frankly we're tired of repeating it - there is a fire that needs to be put out right now. ... Instead, the summits have poured oil on the fire by demanding ever more budgetary discipline, which only aggravates the recession and deficits. And by refusing any efficient solidarity mechanism such as a purchase of bonds by the ECB or the creation of eurobonds."

Le Soir - Belgium | 30/01/2008

Société Générale fraud case weakens banking industry

"That's where the problem lies: in order to reach these bonuses, which are sometimes quite surprising, (some fund managers pocket over 100 million dollars a year), bankers sometimes sell unsound products, running excessive risks. Risks they never accept full responsibility for", informs Pierre-Henri Thomas. "If it works, they get a huge bonus. If it goes wrong, at worst, they have to change banks. This is the model Jerôme Kerviel [Société Générale's trader] had before his very eyes. He was ambitious, and wanted to show his bosses he was an outstanding trader. He was encouraged to take immoderate risks, that were liable to make not only his bank, but the entire international banking industry blow up (just think of the Société Générale's possible bankruptcy). This all came out of his ridiculous desire to get... a 300.000 euro bonus. This method of motivating workers is unhealthy."

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