Although the UK is not in the euro, what the Governor of the Bank of England has to say about the eurozone's crisis will resonate, simply because he is one of the big global figures in central banking.
So it matters that he has given unambiguous support for the European Central Bank's reluctance to bail out "deficit" countries, such as Italy and Spain, which are having growing difficulties borrowing from the private sector.
He says that it is for the stronger eurozone governments to lend in an explicit and visible way to the likes of Italy and Spain, and not to try to hide from their electorates what they are doing by putting pressure on the central bank to provide the necessary finance.
Or to put it another way (which he didn't, but I am), it is largely down to Germany - the biggest and strongest economy in the eurozone - to provide a backstop of emergency financial support for the deficit countries, during the several years that it will take for Italy, Spain, Portugal and so on to rebuild the competitiveness of their respective private sectors, so that they'll be able to pay their way in the world.
With every German central banker saying more-or-less the same, this is probably the final nail in the coffin of the notion that the European Central Bank could use its own resources to become the so-called lender of last resort to governments experiencing serious funding challenges.
JPMorgan Joins Goldman Keeping Italy Debt Risk in Dark By Christine Harper and Michael J. Moore - Nov 15, 2011 7:01 PM ET
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), among the world’s biggest traders of credit derivatives, disclosed to shareholders that they have sold protection on more than $5 trillion of debt globally.
Just don’t ask them how much of that was issued by Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, known as the GIIPS.
As concerns mount that those countries may not be creditworthy, investors are being kept in the dark about how much risk U.S. banks face from a default. Firms including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan don’t provide a full picture of potential losses and gains in such a scenario, giving only net numbers or excluding some derivatives altogether.
Germany and France’s drive to force Greece to honor its euro commitments risks backfiring on Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy.
A week after the currency’s guardians declared for the first time that countries can be ejected from the 17-nation bloc, U.S. stocks tumbled on concern German politicians are already creating exit chutes for the weakest members.
The sell-off suggests Europe’s crisis is spiraling into a new stage as investors bet on which countries are most likely to quit the euro, starting with Greece. The risk is that this will make it harder for debt-laden countries to convince investors they can get their finances in order and for policy makers such as Merkel, Sarkozy and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to bolster the euro’s defenses.
“This is a dangerous phase,” Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital in London and a former U.K. Treasury official, told Bloomberg Television’s “On the Move” with Francine Lacqua yesterday. “All of a sudden, we’re talking about the future of monetary union in its current format.”
Lenders seen swallowing Greece's 80 billion euro demand By Ben Harding
ATHENS | Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:36pm GMT
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece needs 10 times more aid in January than the 8 billion euros (6.8 billion pounds) it is scrambling to secure by next month. International lenders are likely to grit their teeth and pay both bills to prevent a messy default that could take down Italy as well.
Greece says lenders will need to frontload their proposed 130 billion euro bailout for Athens with an initial 80 billion euros because of the vast sums needed to cut private sector debt without destroying Greek banks in the process.
European leaders say Greece has consistently failed to sell state assets, chase tax evaders and slash the public sector as promised, prompting the exasperated leaders of France and Germany to openly suggest last month Athens might quit the euro.
"While they may well want to threaten Greece, when push comes to shove, euro zone governments may opt to put off disorderly default ... and the Greek government is aware of that," said Ben May at Capital Economics.
Fake terror plots, paid informants: the tactics of FBI 'entrapment' questioned Critics say bureau is running a sting operation across America, targeting vulnerable people by luring them into fake terror plots Paul Harris in New York guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 16 November 2011 12.33 EST