‘Uneven, fragile global growth’ a challenge for Asia; Greece may seek loan extension; Deciding on college versus dropping out

1 ‘Uneven, fragile global growth’ a challenge for Asia (Straits Times) Global growth remains uneven and fragile, and the weaker-than-envisaged global economy poses important challenges to developing Asia, a senior IMF official said, citing weak investment as a key negative factor in the region.

The global economy faces the prospect of subpar growth, despite a boost from the recent drop in oil prices, with diminished prospects in China, Russia, the euro area and Japan, IMF Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara said.

Shinohara flagged the risk of high dollarization in emerging Asia, which has drawbacks, such as limiting exchange rate flexibility to mitigate against external shocks and constraining the central bank’s ability as lender of last resort. He called for consideration towards actively promoting “de-dollarization”.


2 Greece may seek loan extension (BBC) Greece is expected to request a six-month extension of its loan agreement, according to reports. The loan would not be an extension of the current bailout agreement, which includes strict austerity measures, Greek government officials were quoted as saying. On Monday night, Greece rejected a plan to extend its €240bn (£178bn) bailout, describing it as “absurd”.

Without a deal, Greece is likely to run out of money. The eurozone has given Greece until Friday to decide if it wants to continue with the current bailout deal. Greece wants to replace the bailout with a new loan that it says would give it time to find a permanent solution to the debt crisis.

Greece’s current bailout expires on 28 February. Any new agreement would need to be approved by national governments, so time is running out to reach a compromise. Earlier Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for a vote to scrap its austerity programme on Friday, the same day as the eurozone deadline.

Earlier, Germany’s Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, said that Greece needed to make up its mind whether it wanted to extend the bailout programme. US investment bank JP Morgan claimed over the weekend that €2bn worth of deposits was flowing out of Greek banks each week and estimated that if that were to remain the case, they would run out of cash to use as collateral against new loans within 14 weeks.


3 Deciding on college versus dropping out (Kristen V Brown in San Francisco Chronicle) The notion of ditching college for startup life has become romanticized, rather than stigmatized, ever since PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel first introduced his fellowship that gives dropouts $100,000 each to start companies of their own five years ago.

The Chronicle of Higher Education asked members of the inaugural Thiel fellowship class one crucial question: Was dropping out really worth it?

Interviews of nine members of the first class netted a mixed bag of results. Two fellows left the program early. Six others wound up going back to school anyway. Six others returned to their studies after their fellowship ended. Most have since moved on from their initial ideas. Of the four classes of fellows — 83 fellows in all — their ventures raised $72-million in investments and just $29 million in revenue.

All but one of nine fellows interviewed said they learned more in the fellowship than they would have in college. One fellow, Dale J. Stephens went on to found UnCollege, which provides resources for self-directed learning to students. Still, “most people would be better off going to college,” another fellow, Paul Gu, said.

A report released last summer by LinkedIn suggests that Gu is probably right. It found the majority of venture capital-backed entrepreneurs had a college degree. “Dropping out of college to make millions of dollars sounds like a pretty great proposition,” the report said, “but as we discovered, the data paint a starkly different picture.”



About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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