Jest in a time of cholera

July 29, 2011

In a moment of crisis — or crises — analysts like to resort to light relief. This Friday, they were particularly inspired. Faced with another round of collapsed U.S. debt talks and a potential ratings downgrade for Spain, few shied away from using color and hyperbole.

A Commerzbank note was divided into sections: ”SOS!” and “Save our souls!”

Gary Jenkins at Evolution Securities toyed with fiction when trying to understand the current economic backdrop: “I am no longer sure if this is reality or I am watching a Hollywood summer blockbuster.”

Rating agencies came under a different kind of fire after Moody’s placed Spain under review for possible downgrade, fueling contagion risks in the euro zone — they were accused of being shameless attention-seekers. Said Paul Donovan, senior economist at UBS:

One could perhaps argue that the credit rating agencies exhibit some of the characteristics of small children: If they’re not the center of attention, particularly media attention, they start acting up until someone pays them attention.

The highlight was Societe Generale’s new “Socio-meter” which measures economic misery, political mood and EU attitudes. It concludes that while they remain concerned that the euro area debt crisis is not over yet, for now “our socio-meter shows pockets of heat but no torrid heatwave.”

The thousands of Greeks that protested in Athens during the height of summer may think otherwise.

 

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