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The Sky Falls In…
Get the Prozac out before you read ENBD’s Chief Investment Officer, Gary Dugan, less than optimistic review of the current economic weather.
October 2, 2011 11:03 by shafeer
If it wasn’t bad enough that we were trying to dodge the impact of a financial crisis we are now asked to dodge satellites falling from the sky. However whilst there is only a one in 34,000 chance of being hit by a satellite, it is now a near certainty we will get a global recession.
The Euro zone is now seen for what it is – a failed economic experiment. On the first real test of the economic zone it has been seen to fail its citizens and unleashed a wave of fear and disruption into the global economy. Whilst the politicians still talk about the commitment to the experiment, the markets are pricing its failure. Greece is bust. The politicians should get on with working out how to deal with the fact rather than trying to convince us that Greek debt is still a credible investment.
Remember how early in this crisis people were trying to tell you that Greece was too small to matter. Greece is no small matter. Greece is a complete embodiment of all of the failings of the world at the moment and its demise is unleashing a major re-appraisal of the global economic system and its ability to deliver growth and jobs. Greece failed because it thought it could hide inside the Euro zone flouting all of the rules on economic discipline. Greece was able to borrow cheaply because the world was flooded with liquidity. The day of reckoning was assumed to be so far away we didn’t need to worry about it
The world has woken up to the problems but finds few solutions. Policy makers have to be bold- but few show an appetite or ability. President Obama has presented a step in the direction with proposed spending increases and a commitment to support jobs growth. However Obama’s plans are being crushed by politics. It is very unlikely that the Republican’s will support any programme that leads to extra spending. The US is likely to enter 2012 on a path to recession because unless Obama’s plans are agreed upon, current US government policy will detract from growth in 2012. Also last week we saw the toothlessness of the Federal Reserve. With a pending global recession the Fed’s best idea was to sell short dated bonds and buy longer dated bonds. Unless I am missing something US interest rates are already exceptionally low. It’s true some individuals will be able to refinance their mortgages at lower interest rates. However the authorities must also realise that forcing interest rates down to very low levels also may only reinforce the fear in the markets. Low interest rates in Japan have come to only reinforce the view that the economy remains in trouble.
Remember debt cannot just disappear. The Greeks may end up defaulting on some portion of their debt but that will only lead to the debt being passed to the holders of the debt- most likely Euro zone financials. They will be forded to write down what was previously an asset in their balance sheet. The banks will then have fewer assets so they will be forced to reduce what they lend to their customers.
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