The Great Debate UK

from MacroScope:

It’s all Germany’s fault

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It is fairly commonplace at the moment for U.S. and UK financial analysts -- what continental Europeans call the Anglo-Saxons -- to predict the collapse of the euro zone,  a project they were mostly sceptical about in the first place.  MacroScope touched on this on two occasions in March.

The latest foray into this area comes from Alan Brown,  global chief  investment officer at the large UK fund firm  Schroders. But he does it with twist,  blaming what he sees as the eventual  collapse of the euro zone not on the structure itself nor  on the profligacy of peripheral economies, but on Germany's response to the crisis.

Brown reckons countries like Greece cannot do what is needed.

If Greece does all that it is asked to do, it’s debt/GDP ratio will rise to around 150 percent as debt continues to accumulate and the denominator declines as a result of a renewed recession and deflation. With debt at 150 percent and real interest rates anywhere near today’s level, Greece would have to run a primary surplus of around 8 percent  of GDP just to stabilise its debt ratio.

In the best of worlds, Brown says, German and other northern euro zone countries would solve the problem by stimulating their own economies to offset the deflationary impact of measures to improve public finances in the profligacies.

from MacroScope:

What are the risks to growth?

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Mike Dicks, chief economist and blogger at Barclays Wealth, has identified what he sees as the three biggest problems facing the global economy, and conveniently found that they are linked with three separate regions.

First, there is the risk that U.S., t consumers won't increase spending. Dicks notes that the increase in U.S. consumption has been "extremely moderate" and far less than after previous recessions. His firm has lowered is U.S. GDP forecast for 2011 to 2.7 percent from a bit over 3 percent.

from Global News Journal:

If Greece’s debt dam breaks, who gets wet?

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The 16 countries that share the euro single currency have agreed they will help Greece out if it needs. So far so good. But only now is the nitty-gritty of how member states will go about paying for their contributions being hammered out. And suddenly things are getting a little complicated.

Italy announced on Tuesday it would have to issue government bonds -- known as BTPs --  to raise funds for its part in any Greek assistance. 

from MacroScope:

Brit Euro Shock Horror: Part II

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A week ago we ran a post on MacroScope noting, in part, that Britons have a strange relationship with the euro, sometimes bordering on disbelief that it exists at all. Some new numbers from the monthly Bank of America Merrill Lynch fund managers poll underline the extent of UK scepticism compared with that of others.

For two months, BofA Merrill has asked fund managers around the world what they think will eventually happen as a result of the Greek debt crisis. Four choices are on offer:

from MacroScope:

Brit shock horror: euro to survive

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Euro brezinys_EC1

Britons have never really got the euro zone. "Its not really going to happen, is it?" was a typical question from a City analyst to Reuters back in the mid-90s. The political drive behind the creation of the monetary union was beyond many in eurosceptic Britain.

So the results of a straw poll at an event sponsored by independent City advisers Lombard Street Research were somewhat suprising.  A hundred or so mainly British investors were asked whether the euro would be around in five years with its current membership. Response was about 80 percent saying yes to 20 percent saying no.

from MacroScope:

Political economy and the euro

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The reality of  'political economy'  is something that irritates many economists -- the "purists", if you like. The political element is impossible to model;  it often flies in the face of  textbook economics;  and democratic decision-making and backroom horse trading can be notoriously difficult to predict and painfully slow.  And political economy is all pervasive in 2010 -- Barack Obama's proposals to rein in the banks is rooted in public outrage; reading China's monetary and currency policies is like Kremlinology; capital curbs being introduced in Brazil and elsewhere aim to prevent market overshoot; and British budgetary policies are becoming the political football ahead of this spring's UK election. The list is long, the outcomes uncertain, the market risk high.

But nowhere is this more apparent than in well-worn arguments over the validity and future of Europe's single currency -- the new milennium's posterchild for political economy.

from The Great Debate:

Betting on the unthinkable in the euro zone

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James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Some crises bring partners closer together. Some, as investors in the euro zone are likely to discover this year, drive them further apart.

Look for rising tensions about fiscal and monetary policy among the bloc's 16 member nations, and for a bigger penalty to be imposed on the euro and some euro zone assets against the possibility of a breakup or a secession from the currency group.

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