Posts Tagged ‘Euro’

Goodbye Greece

July 5, 2015

The Greeks have just voted ‘no’ to the terms of a new deal with their creditors. So what happens next?

I think that Germany-led Europe will let them fall out of the Eurozone. The Greeks think they are going to negotiate a better deal, but any improved deal just invites the likes of Italy to think they can get one. So I can’t see any way forward other than letting the Greeks go.

There will be some chaos in the financial markets, and plenty of short-term chaos in the Greek economy. But within a year a Greece run on drachmas will stabilise and start to show some growth at a more realistic exchange rate.

The bigger problem for Germany and the Eurozone core will then come into a view in a couple more years when an Italy that has not delivered structural reforms and is still barely growing sees that Greece is stabilised and starts to flirt more aggressively with leaving the Euro.

That, however, is two years away. In politics, you deal with intractable problems by kicking the can down the road. And that is why I think Greece has to go. So that Germans can try to imagine, for another couple of years, that the Euro project hasn’t been a monumental disaster.

Unfortunately it has.

That said, Spain and Ireland should be in much better shape in a couple of years which at least reduces the list of countries that might be looking for big debt hair-cuts from German and French banks.

I continue to believe that it is in Italy where the Euro mess will reach its apogee.


August 15, 2011

The European Central Bank has revealed that it spent Euro22 billion buying bonds in the first two days of last week, almost all of which would have been Italian and Spanish paper. Italian and Spanish bond purchases were only authorised from last Monday. I gave a detailed view on the structural story here, on Italy’s unconvincing promises to sort itself out here, and my take on the reality behind last week’s equity panic here.

So: in its first two days the ECB spent almost one-third as much as it did in its (wholly unsuccessful) multi-month bond buying programme for Greece, Ireland and Portugal (Euro74bn). It is nice that the admission comes on the same day that Merkel and Sarko reiterated there will never be any Eurobonds, not ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, jamais, niemals…  (FT sub needed).

Meanwhile sellers of Italian (and Spanish) debt have had their starter and are looking towards the kitchen door. But as they savour the flavour on their palates, what is that rather unusual smell coming from within? I know! It is the aroma of German taxpayer money burning…

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