Tag: Greek Debt
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of the Euro leaders who appears to be slightly too relaxed about the fact that the Greek government has not yet finalised an agreement with creditors in respect of its Sovereign Debt. Now there is the rumour of a German Government memo indicating that Eurozone Banks are just about ready and able to cope with a Greek default. If that is the case then it would seem that the Greeks have been “played” while Euro reorganisation has been taking place behind their backs. The latest wheeze is the IMF expressing dissatisfaction about Greece’s progress in implementing those draconian austerity measures. That means that Greece’s next tranche of bailout money is nowhere near being agreed. It is now possible that even if Greece does capitulate and agree to everything that the IIF demands, it is still not guaranteed a bailout. Tempus Fugit.
Dans la merde or in der Scheiße?
I just have a look at the European stock markets and on the surface everything appears to be quite normal.
The banks are doing especially well!
Today’s showing in the markets is the most clear indicator so far, as to the utter confusion generated by the intransigence and incompetence of senior politicians.
Today President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel are involved in pointless discussions with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. Why pointless? Because they probably all began their telephone conference chat with this afternoon’s communique already written.
Chancellor Merkel has expressed the schizophrenic views of the Eurozone. She has stated that the Eurozone will not allow Greece to default but on the other hand Greece will not secure access to the next 8 billion euro bailout unless new budget cuts are made.
Greece will be running out of cash in about three weeks.
Everyone, understandably, is beginning to feel frustrated and impotent at the pace of the so-called rescue package.
If the Eurozone is serious about the Greek bailout, the cash should be handed over today. That more than anything will placate the markets which must by now be feeling as if they’re on a bad acid trip. The current situation is certainly a candidate for the old 1960s hippie slogan ‘Stamp out reality’.
In reality though, the politicians will wish to leave all options on the table rather than make a move which could be catastrophic. The fact is that whichever move they make, there is bound to be either a national catastrophe or a pan-European catastrophe. More likely both.
That in turn will generate an American catastrophe ; the U.S has been teetering on the edge for many months.
There is only so much time that we can all just stand staring into the abyss.
Currently we are all keeping an eye on Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve, because we fully expect them to start printing money at any minute.
In fact we should be looking at the French because it cannot be too long before they make a similar decision – and they will probably ink their printing presses well ahead of the Americans.
If the French go ahead and print money in order to provide a cushion for the French banks against a Greek default and the Greek default overhead anyway, it will be the equivalent of them having unnecessarily dumped billions of euros.
Unfortunately, that’s the ONLY plan which the French government has.
Today, the United Kingdom has announced another 80,000 unemployed between May and July. That is NOT the sign of an economy in recovery. THAT is the sign of an economy still in recession. The official unemployment figure in now in excess of 2.5 million. In fact, the actual number has probably been in excess of 3 million for quite a while.
In recent months there has been a bit of Schadenfreude-induced gloating from the United Kingdom’s senior politicians and commentators in respect of the Eurozone’s woes. That will stop very soon – as our meagre exports dry up because no-one in Europe has the cash to pay for them.
It is not just the Eurozone which is crumbling, it is EUROPE.
It is NOT just the European Economic Class System which is going to be everyone’s downfall. It is NOT because the “HAVES” dictating to the “HAVE-NOTS”.
On a macro level, the vast socio-economic differences within the Eurozone do no more than reflect socio-economic differences within individual states.
They tried an experiment whereby the poor (countries) were expected to compete with the rich and as we should all know by now, this type of “Faux cross-border Socialism” can never work.
There can always be “liberté” and “fraternité” between such disparate states but there can never ever be anything even vaguely resembling “égalité” between the rich and the poor.
In the Eurozone, some are definitely more “égal” than others.
Currently, the more equal are terrified that the less equal will take them down.
(Personally, I believe that Greece will be allowed to default. Glad I kept those Drachmas!)
The Greek Entry.
Last week I predicted that it was Sarkozy’s turn to deliver yet another mealy-mouthed statement. Looks as if it’s this afternoon!
The question is CAN he save the French Banks whilst convincing an increasingly cynical public and sceptical markets that it’s all about saving Greece?
Money Market Funds have been selling French Bank Shares for about a year, during which time they have reduced their holding in French banks by about 50%.
After Sarkozy (or Angela Merkel) tells us that Greece is “doing the right things” or that ” it is making good progress“, it will be interesting to see what the markets make of it all.
The MOST likely outcome of today’s meeting between Sarkozy, Merkel and Greek Premier Papandreou is a statement indicating that Greece needs more time.
The Euro and the Eurozone both need time – another commodity which is fast disappearing.
Today’s summit has an interesting sub-plot. Rating agency Moody’s has just downgraded France’s two major banks. Credit Agricole has been busted down from Aa1 to Aa2 and Société Générale from Aa2 to Aa3.
Once again, this has come as both a surprise and relief to the experts because the downgrades were “not as bad as expected“. It seems that these days, NOTHING is as expected.
For politicians and most economists, these are indeed The Days of Mystery!
The seriousness of not-only the Greek but the entire Eurozone situation is exemplified by the fact that The US treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, will be attending Friday’s meeting of EU finance ministers.
Even the Americans can see that Greece is the No1 domino!
The hard fact is that Greece ought never have been allowed to join the Euro. It was a predictable accident waiting to happen.
As many politicians will attest – especially those who attended boarding school, the “Greek Entry” was always going to be painful.
After three years, the scales have fallen from our eyes and finally, the light has flooded in. It has been long time coming but suddenly – an Epiphany!
The politicians, bankers, economists and even the Central Bank astrologers have absolutely NO IDEA as to how to deal with the gradually building waves of a massive economic crisis which is about to sweep the world. They’ve been gambling that random fiscal and economic measures would somehow provide a solution and make everything well again!
Money has been printed and distributed, bonds have been issued, promises have been made, false political visions have been shared and yet the self-amplifying problem continues to self-amplify.
Some of us finally realised that the Eurozone had run out of ideas when the German authorities temporarily banned “naked short selling” of Eurobonds. The action had absolutely NO effect. However, it did demonstrate that the politicians (who initially blamed the bankers for the pit of shit that they had help to create) were now turning a rheumy eye on everyone’s new bête noire – the SPECULATORS!
Bankers were greedy bastards with large bonuses but now it was the turn of the “casino-banking” speculators. Spit!
In any crisis, it is always a good idea to look for the root or initial cause. In the case of the Euro and the Eurozone it was an ill-conceived plan which , without tighter integration of fiscal policies between states was doomed to failure.
Make no mistake, the increasingly pathetic bleating of the French and Germans in respect of the looming Greek collapse and default has absolutely NOTHING to do with Greece.
It is all about their joint delusive attempt to prevent the inevitable collapse of their banks – which are holding billions in Greek IOUs. Nothing at all to do with Franco-German altruism.
As the French and Germans intertwine, hug each other and panic, their assault on the “speculators” and the markets , although understandable is also ironic. Why? Because eventually, the Western-European begging bowl will be waved at the markets and the “speculators” – in the vain hope that they will lend the impoverished Eurozone BILLIONS so that the sacred Euro cow can be reprieved.
Biting the hand that could feed you is never a good plan but currently, the markets are dealing with increasingly desperate politicians who have painted themselves into a Euro corner with absolutely NO way out.
Euro and Western economies in general are in debt – both in the public and private sectors. Several countries are bankrupt.
The only REAL solution is GROWTH which unfortunately is NOT achieved by insisting that the weakest economies attempt to restore growth through the unusual and meritless medium of The Austerity Plan.
Austerity gains you a lot of points with the rating agencies, makes it easier for you to borrow more but in the long-term, it is NOT a sustainable strategy – as we in the West are ALL about to discover. Overborrowing is what caused the problem in the first place.
The economic affliction is the mire of public and private sector debt and uncompetitiveness into which the weaker economies of southern Europe have sunk.
The cure should be to create an atmosphere for economic growth.
Unfortunately, the generally accepted (unproved but imposed) speculation is to force broken countries to try and balance their budgets and restore economic growth whilst slashing expenditure and demotivating taxpayers through increased unemployment, inflation and the resultant decimation of tax-revenues.
It will NOT be long before the inevitable wake-up call is heard!
Casino economics does not work.