Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Gold Final Warning: Here Are the Stunning Implications of Plunging Gold Price - P_Radomski_CFA
2.Fed Balance Sheet QE4EVER - Stock Market Trend Forecast Analysis - Nadeem_Walayat
3.UK House Prices, Immigration, and Population Growth Mega Trend Forecast - Part1 - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Gold and Silver Precious Metals Pot Pourri - Rambus_Chartology
5.The Exponential Stocks Bull Market - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Yield Curve Inversion and the Stock Market 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
7.America's 30 Blocks of Holes - James_Quinn
8.US Presidential Cycle and Stock Market Trend 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Dear Stocks Bull Market: Happy 10 Year Anniversary! - Troy_Bombardia
10.Britain's Demographic Time Bomb Has Gone Off! - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Tory Leadership Contest - Will Michael Gove Stab Boris Johnson in the Back Again? - 19th May 19
Stock Market Counter-trend Rally - 19th May 19
Will Stock Market “Sell in May, Go Away” Lead to a Correction… or a Crash? - 19th May 19
US vs. Global Stocks Sector Rotation – What Next? Part 1 - 19th May 19
BrExit Party EarthQuake Could Win it 150 MP's at Next UK General Election! - 18th May 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast 2019 May Update - 18th May 19
US Economy to Die a Traditional Death… Inflation Is Going to Move Higher - 18th May 19
Trump’s Trade War Is Good for These 3 Dividend Stocks - 18th May 19
GDX Gold Mining Stocks Fundamentals Update - 17th May 19
Stock Markets Rally Hard – Is The Volatility Move Over? - 17th May 19
The Use of Technical Analysis for Forex Traders - 17th May 19
Brexit Party Set to Storm EU Parliament Elections - Seats Forecast - 17th May 19
Is the Trade War a Catalyst for Gold? - 17th May 19
This Is a Recession Indicator No One Is Talking About—and It’s Flashing Red - 17th May 19
War! Good or Bad for Stocks? - 17th May 19
How Many Seats Will Brexit Party Win - EU Parliament Elections Forecast 2019 - 16th May 19
It’s Not Technology but the Fed That Is Taking Away Jobs - 16th May 19
Learn to Protect your Forex Trading Capital - 16th May 19
Gold Ratio Charts Offer The Keys to the Bull Market - 16th May 19
Is Someone Secretly Smashing the Stock Market at Night? - 16th May 19
Crude Oil Price Fails At Critical Fibonacci Level - 15th May 19
Strong Stock Market Rally Expected - 15th May 19
US China Trade Impasse Threatens US Lithium, Rare Earth Imports - 15th May 19
Gold Mind Reader's Guide to the Global Markets Galaxy: 'Surreal' - 15th May 19
Trade Wars and Other Black Swan Threats to Your Investments - 15th May 19
Our Long-Anticipated Gold Momentum Rally Begins - 15th May 19
Defense Spending Is Recession Proof - Defense Dividend Stocks - 15th May 19
US China Trade Issues Will Drive Market Trends – PART II - 14th May 19
The Exter Inverted Pyramid of Global Liquidity Credit risk, Liquidity and Gold - 14th May 19
Can You Afford To Ignore These Two Flawless Gold Slide Indicators? - 14th May 19
As cryptocurrency wallets become more popular, will cryptocurrencies replace traditional payments? - 14th May 19
How US Debt Will Reach $40 Trillion by 2025 - 14th May 19
Dangers Beyond a Trade War with China - 14th May 19
eBook - Greatest Tool for Trading? - 14th May 19
Classic Pitfalls for Inexperienced Traders - 14th May 19
Stock Market S&P 500 Negative Expectations Again - 13th May 19
Why Rising Living Standard in China Offers Global Hope - 13th May 19
Stock Market Anticipated Correction Starts On Cue! - 13th May 19
How Chinese Trade Issues Will Drive Stock Market Trends - 13th May 19
Amazon SCAM Deliveries for Fake Verified Purchaser Reviews "Brushing" - 13th May 19
Stock Market US China Trade War Panic - Video - 13th May 19
US Stock Market Leading Macro Economic Indicators Update - 12th May 19
SAMSUNG - BC94.L - Investing in AI Machine Intelligence Stocks - 11th May 19
US Increases Trade Tariffs Against China – Stock Markets, Gold, and Silver - 11th May 19
Who Has More To Lose In A No Deal Brexit? - 11th May 19
Gold at $1,344 Will Start Real Fireworks on the Upside - 11th May 19
Make America’s Economy Great Again - 10th May 19
Big US Stocks’ 2019 Fundamentals - 10th May 19
Stock Market US China Trade War Panic! Trend Forecast May 2019 Update - 10th May 19
Stock Market Shake-Out Continues – Where Is The Bottom? - 10th May 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

U.S. House Prices Analysis and Trend Forecast 2019 to 2021

Europe’s Economic Crash Landing

Economics / Euro-Zone Nov 12, 2011 - 12:19 PM GMT

By: Mike_Whitney

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis Article“Italy is now mathematically beyond the point of no return.” –Barclays Capital

November 11, 2011 -- The situation in Europe gets more depressing by the day. Policymakers have waited too long and now events are beyond their control. The only way to avert a disorderly breakup and another Great Depression is by deploying the European Central Bank (ECB) to backstop the debt of the individual countries, and even that might not work. New ECB chief Mario Draghi must announce his intention to keep interest rates down regardless of the cost. Blanket guarantees are the only way to stop the bleeding. But acting as lender of last resort will not stop the contagion; it will merely minimize the damage. The dissolution of the eurozone is a foregone conclusion. It’s only a matter of time. Here’s an excerpt from an article by Edward Harrison over at Credit Writedowns:


“… it’s game over for the euro zone. The extend and pretend stuff ain’t gonna work…. if you are an investor, this is the moment of truth. Everything – every asset class – depends on how the euro zone performs in the Italian Job. There are only two outcomes, here. If Italy blows up, a Depression is upon us; banks would be insolvent, CDS triggers would implode the system, bank runs would begin, stock markets would crash, and you will would see sovereign debt yields go to unbelievable lows for nations with a lender of last resort.” (“Italy, Italy, Italy”, Edward Harrison, Credit Writedowns)

Yields on Italian debt are soaring while overall economic conditions continue to deteriorate. The eurozone is sliding fast into recession if it isn’t in one already. The EU’s ill-considered austerity measures have increased deflationary pressures and slowed growth. Credit is shrinking while bank balance sheets dip deeper into the red. This is why the ECB intervened in Thursday’s auction of Italian and Spanish debt and loaded up on both hoping to calm the markets and stop the panic. This is from Reuters:

“Traders said the European Central Bank increased its bond buying, but the ECB’s hard-line chief economist told regional governments not to expect the bank to rescue them with unlimited funds.

A sale on Italian debt went smoothly, but worries persisted that Italy’s borrowing costs were unsustainable. The pullback in yields helped support market sentiment.” (Reuters)

Stocks rose on the news that the ECB would announce more bond purchases in a press statement later on Thursday, but expectations are probably too high. Demand has dropped off sharply while the rout continues apace. This is from Der Spiegel:

“Run for your lives” is the new motto in Europe, and not just among banks and insurance companies, which are selling off southern European bonds as quickly as they can, but also among ordinary holders of savings accounts. Banks and regulatory agencies are noticing that anxious citizens throughout Europe are trying to bring their money to safety. The flight of capital from Italy, Spain and Greece is in full swing.

Aside from the ECB, there are no longer many buyers of Italian treasury bonds. It is clear that most investors are trying to reduce their inventories — if they can find someone to take the paper off their hands. It is almost as if buyers were boycotting Italian bonds. (‘Run For Your Lives’; Euro Zone Considers Solution of Last Resort, Der Spiegel)

The ECB has been playing cat-and-mouse with its bond purchases, waiting for the Italian parliament to signal it would pass economic reforms on pensions and labor. These punitive reforms will be pushed through by the man who will likely replace deposed PM Silvio Berlusconi, Mario Monti, who was formerly the European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission and a member of the Bilderberg Group.

Berlusconi’s abdication has had no noticeable effect on the markets nor has the so-called “breakthrough” agreement that was announced more than 2 weeks ago in Brussels. The plan called for the establishment of a $1 trillion eurozone financial emergency fund (EFSF) to address problems that flare up like the Italian bond crisis. As expected, there’s a good deal of disagreement about how the fund should be implemented or from where the resources will come. So far, the only country to purchase bonds from the EFSF has been Japan, and they’ve already lost money on the deal. That’s not an encouraging sign for a fund that is supposed to save the eurozone.

Imagine if Henry Paulson–instead of nationalizing Fannie and Freddie when they were about to blow–had decided to set up a structured investment vehicle funded by issuing bonds to China that would cover 20 per cent first-loss provision on Fannie mortgage-backed securities. Do you think investors still would have held on to their Fannie bonds? No way. There would have been a run on the bank. And yet, this absurd invention is the Eurocrats’ solution to the crisis.

The reason that investors are ditching Italian debt is not because of Italy’s debt-to-GDP ratio (which is currently 120 percent.) No, it’s much simpler than that. Investors purchase government bonds because they believe they are risk-free. Now, however, they’ve discovered that Italian bonds are not risk free, in fact, a default could mean that they would retrieve very little of their original outlay. So, why buy them?

The problem is easy to fix. It’s just a matter of allowing the ECB to act as guarantor of the debt of the individual states. (which is what the Fed did for the entire financial system after Lehman collapsed) But the ECB doesn’t want this power because it would preclude the bank from imposing its austerity regime on the member-states while claiming it has no choice to act otherwise. As it stands, the ECB is the perfect tool for spreading neoliberalism throughout the eurozone, and that is precisely what it’s doing.

What’s remarkable about the “debt crisis” is that it was entirely predictable. Many economists warned from the very onset that the monetary union was structurally flawed and wouldn’t work without greater political and fiscal integration. Many critics, like Wynne Godley, focused on the eurozone’s absence of a lender of last resort. Here’s how he summed it up back in 1992:

“If a government does not have its own central bank on which it can draw cheques freely, its expenditures can be financed only by borrowing in the open market in competition with businesses, and this may prove excessively expensive or even impossible, particularly under conditions of extreme emergency….The danger then, is that the budgetary restraint to which governments are individually committed will impart a disinflationary bias that locks Europe as a whole into a depression it is powerless to lift.” (“The Greatest Prediction of the last 20 Years,” Pragmatic Capitalism)

Indeed. Italy and the other countries are in dire straits because they do not control their own currency and, thus, cannot control their own fate. They are entirely at the mercy of the ECB. Is it any wonder why restructuring is never seriously considered (because it would cost the banks and bondholders money) or why there’s been no attempt to create a stimulus program that will lift the struggling states in the south out of their slump and back into the black? The ECB refuses to use the tools that are available to it because its overall policy objectives are already being achieved. Internal devaluation and belt-tightening are the path to privatization, fewer social services, and cheaper labor, exactly what the bankers want.

So, where is all this headed?

I’ll let The Economist have the last word. This is from an article by Ryan Avent in the current issue titled “Finito?”:

“I have been examining and re-examining the situation, trying to find the potential happy ending. It isn’t there. The euro zone is in a death spiral. Markets are abandoning the periphery, including Italy, which is the world’s eighth largest economy and third largest bond market. This is triggering margin calls and leading banks to pull credit from the European market. This, in turn, is damaging the European economy, which is already being squeezed by the austerity programmes adopted in every large euro-zone economy. A weakening economy will damage revenues, undermining efforts at fiscal consolidation, further driving away investors and potentially triggering more austerity. The cycle will continue until something breaks. Eventually, one economy or another will face a true bank run and severe capital flight and will be forced to adopt capital controls. At that point, it will effectively be out of the euro area. What happens next isn’t clear, but it’s unlikely to be pretty.” (“Finito?, The Economist)

The chances of the eurozone surviving in its present form are slim to none.

Email: fergiewhitney@msn.com

Mike is a well respected freelance writer living in Washington state, interested in politics and economics from a libertarian perspective.

© 2011 Copyright Mike Whitney - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis.
Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Mike Whitney Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Pete
13 Nov 11, 17:45
The US $ is next

As soon as bond investors figure out(or admit) that the US can't make good on its Treasury Bonds, it'll be "Game Over" here as well.

I was around to see the 30 year Treasury with a coupon of 14% in the early 80's.

I'm betting I'll see it get there again.

"Hairball"

Whitefish, MT


Post Comment

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

6 Critical Money Making Rules