The Great Debate UK
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.
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.