Kiap days: The ballad of the Wantoat - Leron road
From bus stops to bridges: Chinese influence a 'wake-up' call

Why PNG goes for high interest loans: to avoid scrutiny

Junk-bondsCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The post global financial crisis era (Americans call it ‘the great recession’) of virtually free money is drawing to a close.

After years of quantitative easing (let’s call it ‘printing money’), the world's central banks are slowly but surely beginning the tricky process of pulling excessive liquidity out of the world economy.

The aim is to carefully defuse the world's enormous debt bomb without causing an explosion.

Also, thanks in part to Donald Trump's massive tax cut for America's corporations and wealthy individuals, interest rates on US Treasury Bonds are heading towards 3% pa and beyond.

This is widely regarded in the world of high finance as a tipping point, where capital in search of a combination of a reasonable return and a safe haven will begin to flow. This is, in fact, exactly what is happening.

This leaves penurious states like Papua New Guinea bidding for finance from a rapidly diminishing pool of money. Because PNG's bonds are correctly rated as "junk", the interest charged will be much higher than that charged by, say, the IMF or the World Bank.

PNG cannot borrow from these sources because the conditions of the loan will require the government to actually manage its financial affairs in an accountable, open and transparent way.

Of course, there is always Chinese money but that too comes with strings attached. These strings will be more subtle but arguably far more onerous in the long run.

Eventually, a lot of economic chickens are going to come home to roost in PNG and elsewhere besides. Australia will not be exempt.

What is certain is that this will not be a happy process for ordinary citizens.

Taxpayers have already bailed out the world's financial system once and there is a very real prospect that we will all be doing so again in the not so distant future.

Sadly, while I do share his evident anger, I cannot share Phil Fitzpatrick's hope that regime change can rescue PNG.

It is all far too late now: we have collectively made ourselves hostages to fortune and consequently must endure the inevitable suffering to come with stoic fortitude.

This latter quality exists in considerable abundance in PNG, but I fear rather less so in Australia.

Comments

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Harry Topham

Now that the top hat is long gone it may be the right time for the 'Muscles from Brussels’ to step in and give PNG a bit of advice on how to sort out their fiscal mess as after all he has shown that he is quite a mover and shaker and a good manipulator of all things political.

Just a thought?

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