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.


No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see