Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. TESLA! Cathy Wood ARK Funds Bubble BURSTS! - 12th May 21
2.Stock Market Entering Early Summer Correction Trend Forecast - 10th May 21
3.GOLD GDX, HUI Stocks - Will Paradise Turn into a Dystopia? - 11th May 21
4.Crypto Bubble Bursts! Nicehash Suspends Coinbase Withdrawals, Bitcoin, Ethereum Bear Market Begins - 16th May 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.Cathy Wood Ark Invest Funds Bubble BURSTS! ARKK, ARKG, Tesla Entering Severe Bear Market - 13th May 21
7.Stock Market - Should You Be In Cash Right Now? - 17th May 21
8.Gold to Benefit from Mounting US Debt Pile - 14th May 21
9.Coronavius Covid-19 in Italy in August 2019! - 13th May 21
10.How to Invest in HIGH RISK Tech Stocks for 2021 and Beyond - Part 2 of 2 - 18th May 21
Last 7 days
How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
The Only way to Crush Inflation (not stocks) - 14th Oct 21
Why "Losses Are the Norm" in the Stock Market - 14th Oct 21
Sub Species Castle Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 14th Oct 21
Which Wallet is Best for Storing NFTs? - 14th Oct 21
Ailing UK Pound Has Global Effects - 14th Oct 21
How to Get 6 Years Life Out of Your Overclocked PC System, Optimum GPU, CPU and MB Performance - 13th Oct 21
The Demand Shock of 2022 - 12th Oct 21
4 Reasons Why NFTs Could Be The Future - 12th Oct 21
Crimex Silver: Murder Most Foul - 12th Oct 21
Bitcoin Rockets In Preparation For Liftoff To $100,000 - 12th Oct 21
INTEL Tech Stock to the MOON! INTC 2000 vs 2021 Market Bubble WARNING - 11th Oct 21
AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Wall of Worry Meets NFPs - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Intermediate Correction Continues - 11th Oct 21
China / US Stock Markets Divergence - 10th Oct 21
Can US Save Taiwan From China? Taiwan Strait Naval Battle - PLA vs 7th Fleet War Game Simulation - 10th Oct 21
Gold Price Outlook: The Inflation Chasm Between Europe and the US - 10th Oct 21
US Real Estate ETFs React To Rising Housing Market Mortgage Interest Rates - 10th Oct 21
US China War over Taiwan Simulation 2021, Invasion Forecast - Who Will Win? - 9th Oct 21
When Will the Fed Taper? - 9th Oct 21
Dancing with Ghouls and Ghosts at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 9th Oct 21
Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
Scan Computers - Custom Build PC 6 Months Later, Reliability, Issues, Quality of Tech Support Review - 8th Oct 21
Gold and Silver: Your Financial Main Battle Tanks - 8th Oct 21
How to handle the “Twin Crises” Evergrande and Debt Ceiling Threatening Stocks - 8th Oct 21
Why a Peak in US Home Prices May Be Approaching - 8th Oct 21
Alton Towers Scarefest is BACK! Post Pandemic Frights Begin, What it's Like to Enter Scarefest 2021 - 8th Oct 21
AJ Bell vs II Interactive Investor - Which Platform is Best for Buying US FAANG Stocks UK Investing - 7th Oct 21
Gold: Evergrande Investors' Savior - 7th Oct 21
Here's What Really Sets Interest Rates (Not Central Banks) - 7th Oct 21
CISCO 2020 Dot com Bubble Stock vs 2021 Bubble Tech Stocks Warning Analysis - 6th Oct 21
Precious Metals Complex Searching for a Bottom - 6th Oct 21
FB, AMZN, NFLX, GOOG, AAPL and FANG+ '5 Waves' Speaks Volumes - 6th Oct 21
Budgies Flying Ability 10 Weeks After wings Clipped, Flight Feathers Cut Grow Back - 6th Oct 21
Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
Will China's Crackdown Send Bitcoin's Price Tumbling? - 5th Oct 21
Natural Gas News: Europe Lacks Supply, So It Turns to Asia - 5th Oct 21
Stock Market Correction: One More Spark to Light the Fire? - 5th Oct 21
Fractal Design Meshify S2, Best PC Case Review, Build Quality, Airflow etc. - 5th Oct 21
Chasing Value with Five More Biotech Stocks for the Long-run - 4th Oct 21
Gold’s Century - While stocks dominated headlines, gold quietly performed - 4th Oct 21
NASDAQ Stock Market Head-n-Shoulders Warns Of Market Weakness – Critical Topping Pattern - 4th Oct 21
US Dollar on plan, attended by the Gold/Silver ratio - 4th Oct 21
Aptorum Group - APM - High RIsk Biotech Stocks Buy, Sell, Hold Investing Analysis for the Long-run - 3rd Oct 21
US Close to Hitting the Debt Ceiling: Gold Doesn’t Care - 3rd Oct 21
Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
Original Oculus VR HeadSet Rift Dev Kit v1 Before Facebook Bought Oculus - 3rd Oct 21
Microsoft Stock Valuation 2021 vs 2000 Bubble - Buy Sell or Hold Invest Analysis - 1st Oct 21
How to profit off the Acquisition spree in Fintech Stocks - 1st Oct 21
�� Halloween 2021 TESCO Shopping Before the Next Big Panic Buying! �� - 1st Oct 2
The Guide to Building a Design Portfolio Online - 1st Oct 21
BioDelivery Sciences International - BDSI - High RIsk Biotech Stocks Buy, Sell, Hold Investing Analysis for the Long-run - 30th Sep 21
America’s Revolving-Door Politics Behind the Fall of US-Sino Ties - 30th Sep 21
Dovish to Hawkish Fed: Sounds Bearish for Gold - 30th Sep 21
Stock Market Gauntlet to the Fed - 30th Sep 21
Should you include ESG investments in your portfolio? - 30th Sep 21
Takeda - TAK - High RIsk Biotech Stocks Buy, Sell, Hold Investing Analysis for the Long-run - 29th Sep 21
Stock Market Wishing Away Inflation - 29th Sep 21
Why Workers Are NOT Returning to Work as Lockdown's End - Wage Slaves Rebellion - 29th Sep 21
UK Fuel PANIC! Fighting at the Petrol Pumps! As Lemmings Create a New Crisis - 29th Sep 21
Gold Could See Tapering as Soon as November! - 29th Sep 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Greece - The IMF Experts Flunk, Again

Economics / Eurozone Debt Crisis Jul 30, 2015 - 03:31 PM GMT

By: Steve_H_Hanke

Economics My Globe Asia column in May was titled “Greece: Down and Probably Out.” Well, it’s out. Yes, Greece descended from drama to farce rapidly.

If all goes according to plan, the left-wing Greek government will come to an agreement with the so-called troika – the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – over the details of a third bailout program by August 20th. This rescue package will probably be worth €86 billion (U.S. $94.5 billion). So, since 2010, Greece will have received three bailouts worth a whopping €430 billion (U.S. $472.2 billion). This amounts to a staggering €39,000 (U.S. $42,831) for every man, woman, and child in Greece.


Like past bailouts, the third one will fail to stop Greece’s economic death spiral. The experts from the EC, ECB, and particularly those from the IMF have been wrong about the prospects for the Greek economy since day one. The experts have failed to embrace a coherent theory of national income determination. Indeed, they have often engaged in ad hoc theorizing that has, at times, appeared to be convoluted and politically motivated. The result has been a series of wildly optimistic forecasts about the course of the Greek economy followed by wrongheaded policies.

What has been missing from the experts’ toolkit is the monetarist model of national income determination. The monetary approach posits that changes in the money supply, broadly determined, cause changes in nominal national income and the price level (as well as relative prices — like asset prices). Sure enough, the growth of broad money and nominal GDP are closely linked. The data in the following chart speak loudly to the linkage.



               Greece’s monetary tune started to be played by the ECB in 2001, when Greece was allowed to adopt the euro on false pretenses. Yes, the experts at the Hellenic Statistical Authority had cooked the Greek books, and the experts at Eurostat knew the Greek data were phony. Still, Greece was allowed to enter the eurozone.

               Following the Northern Rock fiasco and bank run in September 2007 and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, the ECB allowed the supply of state money to grow. Then, in 2009, Jürgen Stark, the ECB chief economist, convinced the President of the ECB Jean-Claude Trichet that state money (the monetary base) was growing too rapidly and that excessive inflation was just around the corner. In consequence, the ECB withdrew its non-standard measures (read: credit facilities) to Greek banks in the spring of 2010. As the accompanying chart shows, that fateful ECB withdrawal marked a turning point in the growth of broad money in Greece. It, and the Greek economy, have been contracting ever since. This was in spite of a massive fiscal stimulus (a fiscal deficit of 12.7% of GDP) in 2009, prior to the October elections. Money dominates. The important thing to watch is the growth of broad money.

               Shortly after the October 2009 victory of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement brought George Papandreou to power, his government passed a so-called austerity budget in which the fiscal deficit was supposed to be squeezed down to 9.4% of GDP.

               Greece was clearly in trouble and needed a helping hand. But, the EC and ECB were untrusting of the Greek government. So, in March 2010, the IMF was called in to negotiate loan conditions for new Greek financing. Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) was the IMF’s managing director and was preparing to run for the French presidency as the Socialist candidate. DSK was more than willing to give his socialist brothers in Athens a helping hand. In 2010, Greece received a massive bailout.

               Just how massive? Normally, the IMF is limited to lending up to six times a country’s IMF quota subscription to that country. However, if the IMF judges a country’s debt to be sustainable, then that country can qualify for “exceptional access,” and the IMF credit extended to such a country can exceed the 600% limit. Thanks to DSK and the IMF experts, the debt sustainability reports were rosy, until recently. The IMF, as well as the other members of the troika, extended credit to Greece, and did so generously.

               The following table tells the tale. Greece holds the record for the highest IMF credit level relative to a country’s quota.

The first and second bailouts of May 2010 and February 2012 did boost the growth rate of state money. But, bank money, which accounts for the lion’s share (over 80%) of total money (M3) contracted at a very rapid rate. In consequence, the money supply (M3) has generally plunged since the bailouts, and so has nominal (and real) economic activity. And the worst is yet to come: note that the last dismal data for state and bank money in Greece are for June. Since then, things have deteriorated, with bank closures and the imposition of capital controls. This spells more trouble for Greek banks that produce over 80% of Greece’s money and for the economy.

The four big Greek banks were already in trouble (as of Q1 2015). The accompanying table presents the Texas Ratios for the four banks that make up 87% of bank assets in Greece. Ratios over 100% mean that, if nonperforming loans must eventually be written off, a bank will become insolvent. If current data were available, I believe the nonperforming loans would be much higher than in the first quarter of 2015. In addition, with the collapse of the money supply and little chance of a recovery in the production of bank money, a high percentage of nonperforming loans will be written off. In consequence, the Greek banking system will be insolvent. This means that calls for a fourth Greek bailout are right around the corner.

               The IMF failures in Greece bring back vivid memories of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98. On August 14, 1997, shortly after the Thai baht collapsed on July 2nd, Indonesia floated the rupiah. This prompted the IMF to proclaim that “the floating of the rupiah, in combination with Indonesia’s strong fundamentals, supported by prudent fiscal and monetary policies, will allow its economy to continue its impressive economic performance of the last several years.”

Contrary to the IMF’s expectations, the rupiah did not float on a sea of tranquility. It plunged from 2,700 rupiahs per U.S. dollar at the time of the float to lows of nearly 16,000 rupiahs per U.S. dollar in 1998. Indonesia was caught up in the maelstrom of the Asian crisis.

By late January 1998, President Suharto realized that the IMF medicine was not working and sought a second opinion. In February, I was invited to offer that opinion and began to operate as Suharto’s Special Counselor. I proposed as an antidote an orthodox currency board in which the rupiah would be fully convertible into the U.S. dollar at a fixed exchange rate. On the day that news hit the street, the rupiah soared by 28% against the U.S. dollar. These developments infuriated the U.S. government and the IMF.

Ruthless attacks on the currency board idea and the Special Counselor ensued. Suharto was told in no uncertain terms – by both the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, and the Managing Director of the IMF, Michel Camdessus – that he would have to drop the currency board idea or forego $43 billion in foreign assistance.

Why all the fuss over a currency board for Indonesia? Politics. The U.S. and its allies wanted a regime change in Jakarta, not currency stability. Former U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleberger weighed in with a correct diagnosis: “We were fairly clever in that we supported the IMF as it overthrew [Suharto]. Whether that was a wise way to proceed is another question. I’m not saying Mr. Suharto should have stayed, but I kind of wish he had left on terms other than because the IMF pushed him out.” Even Michel Camdessus could not find fault with these assessments. On the occasion of his retirement, he proudly proclaimed: “We created the conditions that obliged President Suharto to leave his job.”

As the Indonesian episode should teach us, the IMF’s management can be very political and often neither trustworthy nor competent. Greece offers yet another chapter.

By Steve H. Hanke

www.cato.org/people/hanke.html

Twitter: @Steve_Hanke

Steve H. Hanke is a Professor of Applied Economics and Co-Director of the Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Prof. Hanke is also a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.; a Distinguished Professor at the Universitas Pelita Harapan in Jakarta, Indonesia; a Senior Advisor at the Renmin University of China’s International Monetary Research Institute in Beijing; a Special Counselor to the Center for Financial Stability in New York; a member of the National Bank of Kuwait’s International Advisory Board (chaired by Sir John Major); a member of the Financial Advisory Council of the United Arab Emirates; and a contributing editor at Globe Asia Magazine.

Copyright © 2015 Steve H. Hanke - 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.

Steve H. Hanke Archive

© 2005-2019 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