Grexit: Probability, Necessity, Damage
by Kevin CookMay 21, 2012 | Comments : 14 Recommended this article: (0)
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US equities seem to be pricing-in another round of fear about the slow-motion disintegration of the Eurozone. If the past six months have been a period of relative calm where the probability of "Grexit" (Greece exiting the monetary union) was less than 25%, since the early May elections and consequent political circus, the market seems to view the odds at 50/50 now.
Some like Nouriel Roubini believe it is "inevitable." Writing in the UK's Guardian late Friday, he says...
"The Greek eurotragedy is reaching its final act: it is clear that either this year or next,Greece is highly likely to default on its debt and leave the eurozone.
Postponing the exit after the June election, with a new government committed to a variant of the same failed policies (recessionary austerity and structural reforms), will not restore growth and competitiveness."
And after the G8 meeting this weekend at Camp David, where Obama and Cameron failedto push Merkeland Co. toward some form of seismic QE from the ECB, it is becoming painfully clear that Germany would rather let the Eurozone fall apart than go into to debt to save it in its present form.
As we noticed last fall, they win whatever happens – as long as they don’t print money.
This quote last week from German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told us everything we really needed to know about what to expect...
"In 12 to 24 months, we'll see a calming of financial markets."
Translation: We know the firestorm that is coming. Roubini is right. It's going to get ugly. We are fully prepared to stick to our guns and not allow the ECB to become the lender of last resort.
We know it was a poor design from the start... a monetary union without a fiscal one. But are they committed enough to save it?
Is it even possible to integrate multiple cultures, economies,and political regimes under the same monetary structure? And is it worthsaving simply because the collateral damage to the global economy would be too great?
In some ways, the Germans may believe that painful austerity and a possible depression are the only ways to cleanse a debt crisis. They are thinking about the future 10 years from now, not 10 months. There may be some virtue in that vision.
I'd like to hear from other investorsonthese pressing issues...
How likely is Grexit?
How soon? After the June 17 election?
What is the immediate damage to the European banking system?
And what is the long-term evolution for the EU and the Eurozone proper? A core of only 10 countries a few years from now?
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