Reuters blog archive
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi makes a lengthy appearance in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He will doubtless reassert that the ECB would start printing money if necessary but, as we reported last week, policymakers are fervently hoping they won’t have to and that a raft of measures announced in June will do enough to lift the economy and inflation.
Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann fired another broadside over the weekend, saying rates were too low for Germany and policy should remain expansive for no longer than absolutely necessary.
With less than a week to run to the July 20 deadline for a deal, Iran and the six world powers are miles apart on Tehran’s nuclear programme. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday major differences persist – largely over uranium enrichment -- with Iran and Tehran did not demur.
The six want Iran to scale back its nuclear programme to deny it any capability to quickly produce atomic bombs. Iran says its activities are entirely peaceful and want crippling sanctions lifted as soon as possible. Kerry will meet his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif for a second day in a row on Monday to see if progress can be made.
So, it's been a few days. Which means the markets have hit that point in the Star Trek episodes when the Klingons were temporarily short of torpedoes, which gave the Enterprise crew time to suss out what was going on.
Some of the missiles were fired. Big rate hikes from Turkey and South Africa, that followed a rate hike from India, and a few conclusions are inescapable:
Breaking with previous EU practice that depositors' savings are sacrosanct, Cyprus and international lenders agreed at the weekend that savers would take a hit in return for the offer of 10 billion euros in aid.
Cypriot ministers are now scrambling to revise a plan to seize money from bank deposits before a parliamentary vote on Tuesday that will either secure the island's financial rescue or threaten its default.
Mounting speculation that Spain is prepping for a bailout begs the question – what happens to Italy?
Sources told Reuters Spain is considering freezing pensions and speeding up a planned rise in the retirement age as it races to cut spending and meet conditions of an expected international sovereign aid package.
If anything positive can be said to have come out of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, it may be that the theory arguing major economies could “decouple” from one another in times of stress was roundly disproved. Now that Europe is the world’s troublesome epicenter, economists are already on the lookout for how ructions there will reverberate elsewhere.
Luis Oganes and his team of Latin America economists at JP Morgan say Europe’s slowdown is already affecting the region – and may continue to do so for some time. The bank this week downgraded its forecasts for Brazilian economic growth this year to 2.1 percent from 2.9 percent, and it sees Colombia’s expansion softening as well. More broadly, it outlined some key ways in which Latin American economies stand to lose from a prolonged crisis in Europe.
What happens if Greece leaves the euro? No one can say for sure. But John Davies at WestLB, finds it difficult to envision a benign outcome.
Greece’s economy, at around $300 billion, is very small compared to the euro zone as a whole. The problem is if other countries follow suit – or are pressured in that direction by stubborn financial markets.
So much for the lasting power of the ECB’s 1 trillion euros in cheap bank loans. Spain is again looking like a basket-case, more because of market dynamics rather than any particular policy misteps.
Many observers have praised Spain for its willingness to implement reforms. And yet the markets have another idea. The cost of insuring debt issued by Spanish banks against default has risen sharply over the past month, as a tough budget this week did little to soothe concerns over the country's deteriorating fiscal situation.
Jason Lange contributed to this post.
Suddenly the shoe is on the other foot. The financial crisis of 2007-2008 had its roots in the U.S. banking system and then spread to Europe. Now, it’s Europe’s political debacle that threatens economic growth in the United States.
A recent raft of better U.S. economic data, including a steep drop in weekly jobless claims reported on Thursday, have pointed to a swifter recovery. But such signals seem a bit futile when there’s a risk of another major global financial meltdown lurking.
Any lingering illusion that the European crisis could be contained to so-called peripheral countries with high debt levels was shattered on Wednesday. German government bonds, which had thus far been seen as a safe-haven, slumped sharply after investors shunned the country's auction of new 10-year debt.
Germany drew significantly less bids than the amount on offer for its Bunds, with investors deterred by very low yields. There is a growing view the euro zone powerhouse will pay a high price whatever the outcome of the regional debt crisis. If the crisis spirals out of control, some fear that it could reach a magnitude that would hit Germany as well by sending it into a deep recession. On the other hand, any solution to the crisis is likely to involve a higher fiscal bill for Germany.
from Global Investing:
It's just over a month until everyone winds down for a Christmas break -- this means the season for the 2012 outlook briefings by various managers is starting.
Among the first I went to was ING Investment Management, which held the briefing this morning. Eric Siegloff, global head of strategy and tactical allocation, reckons the next year's key theme affecting asset classes is summarised as CCC -- crisis, contagion and credibility.