What the euro crisis is not

December 15, 2011

With Southern Europe getting so much of the blame for the continent’s financial crisis, it is refreshing to see someone highlight the other side of the coin. That’s just what Joshua Rosner, managing director of Graham Fisher & Co., did in testimony on Thursday. Asked to discuss the potential risk to U.S. taxpayers of the ongoing political battle over a frayed monetary union, Fisher began his remarks by debunking the reigning narratives being used to describe the crisis:

Without “bazooka,” Europe still vulnerable

December 12, 2011

This time it was going to be different. A make-or-break, comprehensive, grand, “bazooka” solution would draw a line under the euro zone debt crisis.

The real facilitators of Europe’s crisis talks

December 9, 2011

“Sometimes it’s good to do these things in person,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said after meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble to discuss what to do about Europe’s debt crisis.

Contagion strikes Europe’s core

November 23, 2011

Any lingering illusion that the European crisis could be contained to so-called peripheral countries with high debt levels was shattered on Wednesday. German government bonds, which had thus far been seen as a safe-haven, slumped sharply after investors shunned the country’s auction of new 10-year debt.

The irrelevance of slightly better U.S. economic data

November 18, 2011

The latest round of reports on the U.S. economy, while hardly the ringing endorsement of a robust recovery, have been a bit better overall. Jobless claims, while still high, have fallen to a seven-month low of 388,000. Industrial output, meanwhile, posted its largest increase since July as factory and mining production expanded strongly.

from Anooja Debnath:

When it comes to recessions, 40 is the new 50

November 11, 2011

If it were about age, 40-somethings would cringe. But it seems a dead certainty that 40 now means 50 -- or even higher -- when it comes to predicting the chances of a recession taking place.

Contemplating Italian debt restructuring

November 10, 2011

This week’s evaporation of confidence in the euro zone’s biggest government debt market — Italy’s 1.6 trillion euros of bonds and bills and the world’s third biggest — has opened a Pandora’s Box that may now force  investors to consider the possibility of a mega sovereign debt default or writedown and, or maybe as a result of,  a euro zone collapse.

from Global Investing:

Are global investors slow to move on euro break-up risk?

November 9, 2011

No longer an idle "what if" game, investors are actively debating the chance of a breakup of the euro as a creditor strike  in the zone's largest government bond market sends  Italian debt yields into the stratosphere -- or at least beyond the circa 7% levels where government funding is seen as sustainable over time.  Emergency funding for Italy, along the lines of bailouts for Greece, Ireland and Portugal over the past two years, may now be needed but no one's sure there's enough money available -- in large part due to Germany's refusal to contemplate either a bigger bailout fund or open-ended debt purchases from the European Central Bank as a lender of last resort.

from Global Investing:

Euro exit-ology

November 8, 2011

Whether or not it's likely or even a good idea, talk of Greece leaving the euro is no longer taboo in either financial or political circles.  What is more, anxiety over the future of the  single currency has reached such a pitch since the infection of the giant Italian bond market that there are many investors talking openly of an unraveling of the entire bloc. But against such an amplified "tail risk",  it's remarkable how stable world financial markets have been over the past few turbulent weeks -- at least outside the ailing sovereign debt markets in question.

Europe’s recession trips up economists (again)

November 7, 2011

Europe’s economy is contracting at a steeper rate than most city economists recognise – and not for the first time.