Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.US Paving the Way for Massive First Strike on North Korea Nuclear and Missile Infrastructure - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Trump Reset: US War With China, North Korea Nuclear Flashpoint - Video - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Silver Junior Mining Stocks 2017 Q2 Fundamentals - Zeal_LLC
4.Soaring Inflation Plunges UK Economy Into Stagflation, Triggers Government Pay Cap Panic! - Nadeem_Walayat
5.The Bitcoin Blueprint To Your Financial Freedom - Sean Keyes
6.North Korea 'Begging for War', 'Enough is Enough', is a US Nuclear Strike Imminent? - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Bitcoin Hits All-Time High and Smashes Through $5,000 As Gold Shows Continued Strength - Jeff_Berwick
8.2017 is NOT "Just Another Year" for the Stock Market: Here's Why - EWI
9.Gold : The Anatomy of the Bottoming Process - Rambus_Chartology
10.Bitcoin Falls 20% as Mobius and Chinese Regulators Warn - GoldCore
Last 7 days
Stocks, Gold, Dollar, Bitcoin Markets Analysis - 23rd Sep 17
How Will We Be Affected by a Series of Rate Hikes? - 23rd Sep 17
Fed Quantitative Tightening Impact on Stocks and Gold - 22nd Sep 17
Bitcoin & Blockchain: All Hype or Part of a Financial Revolution? - 22nd Sep 17
Pensions and Debt Time Bomb In UK: £1 Trillion Crisis Looms - 22nd Sep 17
Will North Korea Boost Gold Prices? Part I - 22nd Sep 17
USDJPY Leads the way for a Resurgent Greenback - 22nd Sep 17
Day Trading Guide for Dummies - 22nd Sep 17
Short-Term Uncertainty, As Stocks Fluctuate Along Record Highs - 21st Sep 17
4 Reasons Gold is Starting to Look Attractive as Cryptocurrencies Falter - 21st Sep 17
Should Liners Invest in Shipping Software Solutions and Benefits of Using Packaged Shipping Software - 21st Sep 17
The 5 Biggest Bubbles In Markets Today - 20th Sep 17
Infographic: The Everything Bubble Is Ready to Pop - 20th Sep 17
Americans Don’t Grasp The Magnitude Of The Looming Pension Tsunami That May Hit Us Within 10 Years - 20th Sep 17
Stock Market Waiting Game... - 20th Sep 17
Precious Metals Sector is on Major Buy Signal - 20th Sep 17
US Equities Destined For Negative Returns In The Next 7 Years - 3 Assets To Invest In Instead - 20th Sep 17
Looking For the Next Big Stock? Look at Design - 20th Sep 17
Self Employed? Understanding Business Insurance - 19th Sep 17
Stock Market Bubble Fortunes - 19th Sep 17
USD/CHF – Verification of Breakout or Further Declines? - 19th Sep 17
Blockchain Tech: Don't Say You Didn't Know - 19th Sep 17
The Fed’s 2% Inflation Target Is Pointless - 19th Sep 17
How To Resolve the Korean Conundrum  - 19th Sep 17
A World Doomed to a Never Ending War - 19th Sep 17
What is Backtesting? And Why You Need Backtesting System? - 19th Sep 17
These Two Articles Debunk The Biggest Financial Nonsense I See In The Media - 18th Sep 17
Bitcoin Price Crash 40% In 3 Days Underlining Gold’s Safe Haven Credentials - 18th Sep 17
The Sum of Risks – Global, Strategic, Political, and Financial - 18th Sep 17
The Netflix Of Canada’s Cannabis Boom - 18th Sep 17
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Either You Learn From The Events Of The Past Week, Or You Are Hopeless - 18th Sep 17
SPX 2500 … At Last! - 18th Sep 17
Inflation Lies, Lies and OMG More Lies - 18th Sep 17
How to Choose right Forex Trader? - 18th Sep 17
Who Has Shaped the World the Most? The Dozen Greatest Achievers - 17th Sep 17
Riding the ‘Slide’: Is This What the Next Stocks Bear Market Looks Like? - 17th Sep 17
Gold Up, Markets Fatigued As War Talk Boils Over - 17th Sep 17
Predicting the Future of the U.S. and the World - 16th Sep 17
Deceit in the Financial Food Chain - 16th Sep 17
Gold GLD ETF Investment Resuming - 16th Sep 17
Extreme Weather & Energy Markets: What's Next? - Video - 15th Sep 17
Trump’s Path to IP Wars - 15th Sep 17
GBP USD Approaches Fibonacci Target - 15th Sep 17
Higher US Interest Rates May Force Higher Inflation Rates - 15th Sep 17
Stock Market Investors: Taking the Road "Less Traveled" Has Its Perks - 15th Sep 17
The 3 Best P2P Lending Platforms For Investors In 2017—Detailed Analysis - 15th Sep 17
The US Debt Bubble Will Soon Warrant Serious Measures - 15th Sep 17
Why it is Often Difficult to Sell a House Fast - 15th Sep 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

3 Videos + 8 Charts = Opportunities You Need to See - Free

France May be the Domino that Causes the Euro to Collapse

Currencies / Eurozone Debt Crisis Apr 18, 2012 - 06:21 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Currencies

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMartin Hutchinson writes: Commentators are wringing their hands again, worried the troubles in Spain could cause the whole euro project to collapse.

As a result, all eyes are now on Spanish 10-year debt yields, which went above 6% last week as the threat of euro-chaos returned.

But it's not Spain the markets should be worried about.


The reality is that Spain is not in too bad a shape and that a rescue would be affordable for the European Central Bank even if it was needed.

The real tottering European domino to worry about is France.

After all, it would be impossible for the remaining solvent members of the EU to bail out France if it began to fall.

The larger reality is that France's fiscal position is considerably worse than Spain's.

The country's debt-to-GDP ratio was 85% at the end of 2011, while Spain's was only 66%. What's more, France's public spending is 56% of GDP, according to the Heritage Foundation, compared to Spain's 45% of GDP.

Spain's current government has also instituted a stiff austerity program, mostly comprised of cuts in public spending, which will reduce its deficit below France's by 2013.

Meanwhile, France's austerity has so far consisted almost entirely of tax increases on the rich -not actual spending cuts.

Spending cuts, especially from governments which are overspending, may well stimulate GDP because they free resources for the more productive private sector, whereas tax increases generally worsen recession.

French Elections Hold the Key to the Euro
Whether or not France brings down the euro hinges on the outcome of its upcoming presidential election, set for two rounds April 22 and May 6.

France's current position is very confused, to say the least. No fewer than five candidates have a chance to make it into the two-candidate runoff.

The incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, is currently running slightly behind the mainstream socialist Francois Hollande, but three other candidates potentially could knock one or the other of the front-runners out of the second round.

They are Marine LePen, a nationalist; Francois Bayrou, a moderate; and Jean-Luc Melanchon, an extreme leftist.

Presumably if any of those three made it to the second round, they would be beaten by the remaining major party candidate, as was LePen's father by Jacques Chirac in 2002.

But it has to be said that electoral prognostication is exceptionally difficult.

If Sarkozy or Bayrou win, nothing much changes; France remains committed to the current consensus Eurozone policies and the Eurozone probably "muddles through."

But if one of the other three wins, there is going to be a big problem for the European Union (EU).

LePen would be anathema to the EU leadership, so even if she committed to continue austere fiscal policies, the markets would probably react badly.

As for a Hollande or Melanchon victory, the commitment to government austerity is just not there. In the current nervous state of the markets, France's budget deficit could become impossible to finance.

Hollande, for example, wants to reverse Sarkozy's earlier raising of France's pension age, while also pushing the top income tax rate to 75%.

An election win by Hollande or (very unlikely) Melanchon would simultaneously weaken the credibility of France's own austerity program and weaken the Eurozone coalition that has imposed austerity on Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain.

That would almost certainly cause markets to attack French government bonds, as well as stepping up the attack on Spanish, and probably Italian, government bonds.

The reality is that a France managed by an anti-austerity leftist, even a moderate one, is simply too far from Germany and Scandinavia in its fiscal management and economic outlook to remain part of the same currency zone.

And even if Germany and Scandinavia wanted France to remain part of the euro, they don't have the resources to bail France out.

Hence a Hollande victory at France's election May 6--currently believed to be at least a 50-50 probability--would almost certainly mean the end of the struggle to hold the euro together, and its collapse in failure.

Questions About France, Italy, Spain and the Euro
France, Italy and Spain - unlike Greece - do have ample resources with which to support their government bond markets, provided they control their own currencies.

Since most of their obligations are denominated in euros, their debt/GDP ratios would rise, but probably only by 15-20% since a devaluation of that level would be sufficient to make them export powerhouses.

Thus in principle a break-up of the euro need not lead to a world banking collapse, since the value of French, Spanish and Italian government debt would remain solid.

However, all three countries would have questions about their future.

In France's case, the commitment of the new government to controlling public spending would be questionable.

In Spain, the current government's position would be weakened. What's more, there would be a further round of banking trouble, as home mortgages denominated in euros would be secured only against houses valued in new pesetas.

In Italy, the Monti government, imposed by the EU, would doubtless fall, bringing political uncertainty and further aggression by the country's powerful unions.

And even if everything turned out to be okay in the end (except in Greece) the uncertainty would roil world markets, including in the United States.

For investors, that means it may pay to keep our heads down until the French election results are known.

While everybody is watching Spain, it is France that could topple.

Source :http://moneymorning.com/2012/04/18/france-may-be-domino-that-causes-euro-to-collapse/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2011 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2017 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

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

Catching a Falling Financial Knife