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Stocks Surge On Hopes Of Resolution Of Europe Debt Issues

Published December 12, 2011
William RutherfordAs officials continue to struggle to save the European Union, save the euro and resolve sovereign and bank debt issues, global leaders are making concessions.

The long simmering sovereign debt crisis in Europe has brought the EU to the verge of breakup. Some analysts have been predicating its demise in the very near future. Meanwhile, the fate of the euro also hangs in the balance.

Both of these matters threaten the stability of Europe, politically and financially. European leaders have long struggled to find a solution, but without success. The problem is difficult because all member states must agree to any proposed solution.

Germany and France have emerged as the dominant voices of the struggle, but even French sovereign debt is under siege. Other peripheral, AAA-rated European countries have found their debt under attack, S&P has warned them all. Clearly an answer is needed.

A European summit was scheduled for Dec. 9. In the days leading up to the meeting, some developments have occurred and some concessions have been made.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, wants tougher rules written into the treaties governing the European Union. However obtaining these consents will be a long process that may last years. Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, although generally supportive, has reservations.

One wonders how the treaties could be amended without the common effort of the French and Germans.

Others want the European Central Bank to back up European banks and sovereign states. But the ECB has maintained that this is beyond the mandate of the ECB. Anyway, the Germans do not support this notion, because they know they will be the ultimate backstop. Additionally, a recent auction […]

December 16th, 2011|Categories: Daily Journal of Commerce|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Stocks Surge On Hopes Of Resolution Of Europe Debt Issues

What In The World Is Going On?

In the last quarter we saw the market move 200 points or more 18 times. We saw it move over 400 points four days in a row. What is causing such gyrations? Surely the U.S, economy is not that volatile. While the economy is struggling, it is not careening as wildly as the equity markets.

The reason for the volatility can be summarized in one word: Europe. For over a year Europe has been dealing with a mounting sovereign debt crisis. The focus has been on Greece, but Italy, Spain and Portugal are also under scrutiny and France may not be far behind. The problem is that these countries, particularly Greece, will have difficulty paying their bills as they come due. Since many banks in Europe hold bonds issued by these countries, the fate of the banks is in doubt as well. This is what is being referred to as the contagion effect.

There are several obvious solutions to the problem, but none are very satisfactory. For instance Greece could default on their debt. But, because of the contagion effect, no one is quite sure where that would lead, and furthermore, it would set a precedent for bad behavior in the European Union, and many countries don’t like that prospect, particularly the Northern European countries.

Greece could be excused from the EU. Even that does not avoid default, and in addition it would be very difficult to do.

The likely outcome will be that the EU collectively will have to guarantee every bank in Europe and every country from insolvency, but that is unpopular too as it would be like you being asked to guarantee your neighbors, or partners, or fellow board members debts. Furthermore, the longer this crisis […]

October 24th, 2011|Categories: Comments from Bill|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on What In The World Is Going On?
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