The Great Debate UK

You could not make this stuff up

-David Kuo is director at the financial website The Motley Fool. The opinions expressed are his own.-

You could not make this up if you tried.

Britain gets its knickers in a twist over a hung parliament, Europe has been unceremoniously skewered by a Greek debt crisis, and if that wasn’t bad enough, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee sits idly by as the rate of inflation climbs.

Welcome to the month of May when investors are supposed to sell and return again on St Leger’s day.

If truth be known, a hung parliament was always on the cards. It was always likely that no single political party would win enough seats in the May general election to form the next government.

Risk aversion comes screaming back

-Jane Foley is research director at Forex.com. The opinions expressed are her own.-

The Greek fiscal crisis has forced investors to weigh up the risks of sovereign default very carefully.

Eerie calm before Britain’s election

– James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

To look at sterling and gilts, you would hardly know that Britain is sailing into a general election which will likely deliver a weaker government with a diminished ability, if not will, to grapple with high debts, an uncertain role in the global economy and an aging population.

Financial Crisis Part II

- Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School and a co-author of “Verdict on the Crash” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Hollywood would never allow a record-breaking disaster movie to go without a sequel. The same seems to be true of the 2008 banking crisis.

German elections bring forward a possible stalemate situation for EMU

-Jane Foley is research director at Forex.com. The opinions expressed are her own.-

Next month’s UK general election is not the only one of significance in Europe. There is the possibility that the German regional elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 9 could result in the end of the CDU/FDP government’s majority in the upper house of parliament.

from Breakingviews:

Greek agony must galvanize the euro periphery

The emergency numbers are ringing. Greek 10-year debt yields are ballooning to well over 8 percent. The country cannot sustainably finance itself. The debt of other troubled euro zone countries -- Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy -- is vulnerable to contagion. Help for Greece from the International Monetary Fund and European Union can't come too soon. But the probable rescue must be a spur not a salve, in Greece and outside it.

Germany is reluctant but the EU's hand is being forced by the markets. The much-discussed help must surely come. The IMF will begin supervising Greek economic policy. But the task of making the country solvent looks immense.

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 Breakingviews:

How to tell you’re not Greece — yet

By Rob Cox and Agnes T. Crane

Greece may be enviable as the ancient cradle of democracy -- but no country wants to emulate its contemporary fiscal troubles.

Markets are exacting a heavy price for the Hellenic Republic's budget woes. Yet the Mediterranean archipelago is hardly the only country that would fall into crisis if creditors lost faith. Indeed, the government of the United States is running a deficit of Greek proportions, although its total debt load is much less frightening.

from Breakingviews:

Greek default should not be taboo topic

Forget about Greece for a moment. Just think about country X, which has lived well beyond its means for years thanks to loans from inattentive or foolishly optimistic lenders. When the crunch comes, the X-people will have to cut back on spending. And the X-lenders will generally suffer from the famous rule of banking: "Can't pay, won't pay."

If Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, has his way, Greece is not going to be country X despite its weak government, bloated civil service and poor trade position. Van Rompuy said on March 25 that a vague new support agreement should "reassure all the holders of Greek bonds that the euro zone will never let Greece fail". This default taboo should be reconsidered.

Greece and the mythology of the EU

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Laurence_Copeland- Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School and a co-author of “Verdict on the Crash” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The (probably temporary) resolution of the Greek crisis seems to have produced a result which was unexpected – by me, at least. For the first time in the history of the EU, the German taxpayer has refused to be sacrificed on the altar of European solidarity.

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