Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.China Crash, Greece Collapse, Harbingers of Stock Market Apocalypse Forecast 2015? - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold Price Awaiting Outcome of Greece Crisis - Clive_Maund
3.Gold Price Peculiar 6 Month Cycles - Rambus_Chartology
4.Gold Price Just a Little Bit More - Bob_Loukas
5.8 Unprecedented Extremes Indicate a Stock Market Bubble in Trouble - EWI
6.Gold And Silver – Without Either, You Will Be Greeced - Michael_Noonan
7.Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics - James_Quinn
8.China Crash, Greece Crisis Harbingers of Stocks Bear Market? Video - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Gold and Silver Record Shorting - Zeal_LLC
10.Markets Big Deflationary Downwave Quick Reference Guide... - Clive_Maund
Last 5 days
Stock Market SPX Triggers Sell Signal - 3rd Aug 15
The Gold Investment Demand Juggernaut - 3rd Aug 15
Stock Market Pullback at Hand, Gold About to Rally? - 3rd Aug 15
Gold – The More Hate, The More Bullish We Become - 3rd Aug 15
Stock Market Critical Week Ahead - 3rd Aug 15
Gold Price Near Intermediate Bottom - 3rd Aug 15
Stock Market Reluctant Primary Wave IV? - 2nd Aug 15
Power and Compassion - 2nd Aug 15
Preparing for The Stock Market Crash - Inverse ETFs and Puts Timing... - 2nd Aug 15
Commodity Prices Slump Signals Slow Economic Growth Outlook - 2nd Aug 15
BSE Sensex Stocks Bear Market Underway - 2nd Aug 15
What Microsoft’s Dismal Earnings Report Really Tells You - 2nd Aug 15
Gold And Silver Charts Are The Compelling Story. Fundamentals Do Not Apply - 2nd Aug 15
The Fed Can't Stop the Commodity Bear Market - 1st Aug 15
Meet the Leader Who Turned Google Into a “Buy” - 1st Aug 15
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion - 1st Aug 15
Gold’s Amazing Resiliency - 31st July 15
Silver – A Century of Prices - 31st July 15
Demand for Gold Bullion Surges – Perth Mint, and U.S. Mint Cannot Meet Demand - 31st July 15
Reasons Why the Greek Crisis Will Only Get Worse - 30th July 15
The War On Cash: Why Now? - 30th July 15
Greece - The IMF Experts Flunk, Again - 30th July 15
Threat Of Cyber Warfare the “Other Reason To Own Physical Gold” Warns Rickards - 30th July 15
The 5 Biggest Myths and Lies about the Middle East - 30th July 15
Greece, Diversion, and the New World Order - 30th July 15
Ibuprofen Warning - The Pain Killer that can Kill You! - 29th July 15
More Ritholtz on Gold, and Another Response - 29th July 15
Crude Oil Price Is Lower – and You’re Richer - 29th July 15
U.S. Home Sales Market Is Dead – This Chart Proves It - 29th July 15
Greece- What Happens When Economists Talk Politics - 29th July 15
The Gold - U.S. House Prices Ratio As A Valuation Indicator - 29th July 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Stock Market Bubble in Trouble

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.


© 2005-2015 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

Biggest Debt Bomb in History