Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.London House Prices Bubble, Debt Slavery, Crimea 2.0 - Russia Ukraine Annexation - Nadeem_Walayat
2. Gold And Silver – 2014 Coud Be A Yawner; Be Prepared For A Surprise - Michael_Noonan
3.Sheffield, Rotherham Roma Benefits Plague, Ch5 Documentary Gypsies on Benefits & Proud - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Glaring Q.E. Failure Spotted - Money Velocity Is Falling Rapidly - Jim_Willie_CB
5.Don't Miss the Boat on Big Biotech Catalysts: Keith Markey - Keith Markey
6.Gold Prices 2014: Do What Goldman Does, Not What It Says - David Zeiler
7.Bitcoin Price Strong Appreciation to Be Followed by Declines? - Mike_McAra
8.Gold Preparing to Launch as U.S. Dollar Drops to Key Support - Jason_Hamlin
9.Doctor Doom on the Fiat Money Empire Coming Financial Crisis - Andrew_McKillop
10.The Real Purpose Of QE - It’s Not Employment - Darryl_R_Schoon
Last 72 Hrs
Killing the Maximum-Wage Myth - 23rd Apr 14
U.S. Quarterly Economic Review - Optimism at the Fed - 23rd Apr 14
Why Mohamed El-Erian Left Pimco - Video - 23rd Apr 14
QE Is A Fraud Perpetrated By Made Men - 23rd Apr 14
Gold and Miners Outperform Once Again - 23rd Apr 14
G-20 and the US Tell the Bank of Japan to End Quantitative Easing - 23rd Apr 14
How to Get in the Trading Game and Profit - 23rd Apr 14
Fed Follies, U.S. Housing Market Fiasco - 23rd Apr 14
What Will December 31, 2014 Financial Headlines Look Like? - 23rd Apr 14
Why Gasoline Prices are Surging Again - 22nd Apr 14
Cold War 2.0 - 22nd Apr 14
The JIS – Junk Ideology Syndrome - 22nd Apr 14
How to Avoid Losing All Your Money - 22nd Apr 14
Silver Up, Stocks S&P Down - 22nd Apr 14
U.S. Mainstream Media Propaganda Setting the Stage for War With Pakistan - 22nd Apr 14
U.S. Interest Rates are NOT Rising! - 22nd Apr 14
A Crisis vs. the REAL Crisis: Keep Your Eye on the Debt Ball - 22nd Apr 14
Bitcoin Implications of Lack of Price Action - 22nd Apr 14
Japan - The Twilight Of The Rising Sun - 22nd Apr 14
Is This What a Credit Bubble Looks Like? - 22nd Apr 14
The Dark Side Of The Silver Mining Industry - 21st Apr 14
Strong U.S. Dollar Rally Could Pull Rug From Under Gold and Silver - 21st Apr 14
Silver Feeble Rally Fails to Hold Breakout, Falling Back Towards Support - 21st Apr 14
Stock Market Smart Money – All Out or More to Go? - 21st Apr 14
Fast Rising Pump Prices Counterattack - 21st Apr 14
Extreme Climate Change And Life On This Planet - 21st Apr 14
Gold and Silver Stocks Sitting Tight - 21st Apr 14
Stock Market Minor Correction Imminent - 21st Apr 14
Gold and Silver - Counting Blessings and Tender Mercies - 20th Apr 14 - Jesse
The CIA Through The Looking-Glass - 20th Apr 14 - Stephen_Merrill
Gold And Silver - Gann, Cardinal Grand Cross, A Mousetrap, And Wrong Expectations - 20th Apr 14 - Michael Noonan
Nikkei Stock Market - Sell Japan - 20th Apr 14 - WavePatternTraders

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Sovereign Crisis from Economic Stimulus to Debt Austerity Snowball Effect

Economics / Economic Austerity Jun 18, 2010 - 11:26 AM GMT

By: Mike_Larson

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleA blockbuster draft report from the European Commission saw the light of day recently, thanks to some reporting from Bloomberg. It highlights an incredibly dangerous Catch-22 facing many sovereign nations — the “Snowball Scenario.”

Let me give you an example how this works …


Suppose country A’s economy goes into the tank. The government responds by borrowing boatloads of money and spending like mad on stimulus packages.

The markets allow it to go on for a while. But then investors start to get antsy about all the debt being added to the government’s balance sheet. So they start dumping its bonds, driving prices lower and rates higher. That, in turn, forces the country to implement austerity measures to get its debt and deficit under control.

The problem?

Those moves send the economy BACK into the crapper! Government spending has to rise yet again to pay for things like unemployment insurance, new stimulus packages, and so on … at the same time tax revenues fall. That drives debts and deficits even higher.

The end game in this snowball scenario? A sovereign default!

And that’s not just a theory. In fact …

Snowballs Are Already Rolling Downhill in Spain, Greece, and Portugal

Spain is trying to slash its budget deficit from 11.2 percent to 9.3 percent in 2010 and 6 percent in 2011. Portugal wants to cut its deficit from 9.4 percent to 7.3 percent this year and 4.6 percent next year. They plan to do so by some combination of pension freezes, wage cuts, new taxes, and other measures.

But the European Commission, which is the executive arm of the European Union, says that probably won’t be enough. Its conclusion?

“While the newly announced measures are significant and the targets imply impressive budgetary consolidation, more measures are needed to meet those targets.”

The EU has told Spain and Portugal to get their budgets back in shape.
The EU has told Spain and Portugal to get their budgets back in shape.

In plain English, the message is “Get even tougher! Crack down more! Slash spending! Raise taxes!”

But as the Commission admits, the governments it is counseling face “low GDP growth, poor competitiveness, stable or declining prices and wages and high real interest rates.” So it’s virtually impossible to avoid a “snowball effect on the government debt.”

Stay Cautious! Stay Safe!

Bond traders aren’t dumb. They can see this coming from a mile away. Yields on Spanish 2-year notes shot up recently, then eased a bit. But now they’re rallying yet again — hitting a new cycle high just this week.

Spanish borrowing costs have skyrocketed from 1.51 percent in March to 3.29 percent, the highest in 17 months! It now costs more on a relative basis for Spain to borrow than it does the euro-area’s main economy, Germany. And it’s the highest that the 10-year Spanish/German yield spread has been since 1999 — when the euro currency debuted.

Portugal is seeing costs rise, too. It’s paying 5.58 percent to borrow money for 10 years, up from 4.15 percent back in April.

Reports are surfacing that Spain may need a 250 billion euro ($307 billion) credit line from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and possibly the U.S. Treasury.

Naturally, policymakers are denying that anything is in the works. But what do you expect them to do? These guys said the same thing about Greece, claiming it wasn’t at risk of defaulting. Then they pushed through a $135 billion bailout!

Use market rallies as selling opportunities.
Use market rallies as selling opportunities.

In short, this sovereign debt crisis is playing out just like the private credit market crisis did before. It comes in waves — with periodic sharp drops triggered by some event, then some kind of bailout that makes everybody breathe a temporary sigh of relief, and finally yet another plunge as another hole appears in the dike.

My advice?

Don’t get suckered in by the short-term rallies. This sovereign debt crisis is nowhere near over, and that means you have to stay cautious and safe in your investments.

Consider using inverse ETFs to hedge risk, keeping positions small, and dumping stocks into sharp rallies if you’re lucky enough to get them.

Until next time,

Mike

This investment news is brought to you by Money and Markets. Money and Markets is a free daily investment newsletter from Martin D. Weiss and Weiss Research analysts offering the latest investing news and financial insights for the stock market, including tips and advice on investing in gold, energy and oil. Dr. Weiss is a leader in the fields of investing, interest rates, financial safety and economic forecasting. To view archives or subscribe, visit http://www.moneyandmarkets.com.


© 2005-2014 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Jim Green
18 Jul 10, 16:23
Response to article

I think your article is right on. It seems we are chasing a moving target. We pin that target down for a moment's notice and somehow it seems to escape and cause chaos in financial markets. It also seems there is not a right or wrong answer to ours, or the EU's financial woes and taking a more risk averse stance might prove to be the winner in all of this.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014