Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Gold Price Trend Forecast, Where are the Gold Traders? - Bob_Loukas
2.Stocks Bear Market of 2017 Begins? Shorting the Dow At its Peak! - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Betting on President Trump Leaving Office Early, Presidency End Date - Betfair Market - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Why Stock Market Analysts Will be Wrong About 2017 - Clif_Droke
5.Is This The Best Way For Investors To Play The Electric Car Boom - OilPrice_Com
6.Silver Price 2017 Trend Forecast Update - Video - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Gold Price Set For Very Bullish 2017, Trend Forecast - Austin_Galt
8.10 Things I learned From Meetings With Trump’s Transition Team - - John_Mauldin
9.How Investors Can Profit From Trumps Military Ambitions - OilPrice_Com
10.Channel 4 War on 'Fake News', Forgets Own Alt Reality Propaganda Broadcasting - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Gold and Silver Weekly Update - 21st Feb 17
US Dollar and Gold Battle of the Cycles - 21st Feb 17
NSA and CIA is the Enemy of the People - 21st Feb 17
Big Moves in the World Stock Markets - Big Bases - 21st Feb 17
Stock Market Uptrend Continues - 21st Feb 17
Brent Crude Oil Price Technical Update: Low Volatility Leads to High Volatility - 20th Feb 17
Trump’s Tax System Could Spark The Wave Of Self-Employment - 20th Feb 17
Here’s How to Stay Ahead of Machines and AI - 20th Feb 17
Warning Signs Of Instability In Russia - 20th Feb 17
Warning: This Energy Investment Could Wreak Havoc On Your Portfolio - 20th Feb 17
The Mother of All Financial Bubbles will be Unimaginably Destructive when it Bursts - 19th Feb 17
Gold’s Fundamentals Strengthen - 18th Feb 17
The Flynn Fiascom, the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper - 18th Feb 17
Not Nearly Enough Economic Growth To Keep Growing - 18th Feb 17
SPX Stocks Bull Market Continues to make New Highs - 18th Feb 17
China Disaster to Trigger Gold Run, Trump to Appoint 5 of 7 Fed Governors - 18th Feb 17
Gold Stock Volume Divergence - 17th Feb 17
Gold, Silver, US Dollar Cycles - 17th Feb 17
Inflation Spikes in 2017, Supporting Gold Prices Despite Increased Odds of March Rate Hike - 17th Feb 17
Roses Are Red... and So's Been EURUSD's Trend - 17th Feb 17
Gold Trade Note Sighted - 17th Feb 17
Gold Is Undervalued Say Leading Fund Managers - 17th Feb 17
NSA, CIA, FBI, Media Establishment 'Deep State' War Against Emerging 'Trump State' - 16th Feb 17
Silver, Gold Stocks and Remembering the Genius of Hunter S. Thompson - 16th Feb 17
Maps That Show The US’ Strategy In Asia-Pacific - 15th Feb 17
The Trump Stock Market Rally Is Just Getting Started! - 15th Feb 17
Tesco Crisis - Fake Prices, Brexit Inflation Tsunami to Send Food Prices Soaring 10% 2017 - 15th Feb 17
Stock Market Indexes Appear Ready to Roll Over - 15th Feb 17
Gold Bull Market? Or was 2016 Just a Gold Bug Mirage? - 15th Feb 17
Here’s How Germany Buys Time From China - 15th Feb 17
The Stock Trader’s Actionable Guide to Trump - 15th Feb 17
Trump A New Jacksonian Era? The Fourth Turning (2) - 14th Feb 17
Stock Market Yet Another Wall Street 'Witch's Brew' - 14th Feb 17
This Is Why You Don’t Own A Lot Of Stocks - 14th Feb 17
Proposed Tax Reforms Face Enormous Headwinds - 14th Feb 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

State of Global Markets 2017 - Report

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

© 2005-2016 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