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Posts Tagged ‘euro’

Germany and France examine ‘two-tier’ euro

Posted by Admin on June 20, 2010

Germany and France are examining ways of creating a “two-tier” euro system to separate stronger northern European countries from weaker southern states.

Germany and France examine 'two-tier' euro

The creation of a “super-euro” zone would initially include France, Germany, Holland, Austria, Denmark and Finland

A European official has told The Daily Telegraph the dramatic option was being examined at cabinet level.

Senior politicians believe their economies need to be better protected as they could not cope with another crisis on a par the one in Greece.

The creation of a “super-euro” zone would initially include France, Germany, Holland, Austria, Denmark and Finland.

The likes of Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and even Ireland would be left in a larger rump mostly Mediterranean grouping.

The official said French and German officials had first spent months examining how to exclude poor-performing states from the euro but decided it was not feasible.

A two-tier monetary system in the 16-member euro zone is being examined as a “plan B”.

“The philosophy is the stronger countries might need to move away from countries they can’t afford to bail-out,” said the official. “As a way of containing the damage, they may have to do something dramatic, though obviously in the short term implementation is difficult.

“It’s an act of desperation. They are not talking about ideal solutions but the lesser of evils. Helping Greece could be done relatively cheaply but Spain they can’t afford to let fail or bail-out.

“And putting more pressure on the people of France and Germany to save other countries is politically unfeasible.”

One option, to protect the wealthier northern European countries and to help indebted southern Europeans, would be for Germany to lead a group of countries out of the existing euro into a new single currency alongside the old.

The old euro would decline sharply against the new German and French dominated currency but both north and southern Europeans would be protected.

Northern economies would be protected from debt contagion and southern countries would be spared the horrors of being thrown out and forced to go it alone.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has already paid a political price for forcing the rescue plan on a reluctant public, losing her majority in the upper house of parliament in a recent election.

The official pointed out that France held lent £500 billion to Spain and the Germans had lent £335 billion.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, is understood to have been initially cool on the idea but has grown so frustrated with Greece and now Spain that he has allowed officials to explore proposals.

“He would prefer to keep the euro in place but if Spain, Italy and Greece are dragging him down he accepts he may have to cut them loose,” said the official. “They are trying to contain the contagious effect but they don’t have a solution yet.”

The crunch time will come in September, when Spain has to refinance £67 billion of its foreign debt.

“If the markets don’t buy that will trigger a response by Germany and France,” said the official.

Expelling a country from the euro could push the whole region into a slump because European banks are so exposed to debt in southern Europe. The consequences for the exiting country would be even more catastrophic.

“The euro zone debt crisis has a long way to run,” said one senior EU negotiator. “No one knows where it is going to end up. Only one thing is sure, the euro zone will change.”

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Spanish Economy Continues to Falter

Posted by Admin on June 20, 2010

9 Reasons Why Spain Is A Dead Economy Walking

JUNE 16, 2010

in ANALYSIS,INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY

By Michael Snyder

Barring an economic bailout of mammoth proportions, the economy of Spain is completely and totally doomed.  The socialist government of Spain is drowning in debt, unemployment is running rampant and everywhere you turn there are major economic problems.  So will Spain be the next Greece?  No.  When the economy of Spain implodes it is going to be a whole lot worse for the world economy.  The economy of Spain is more than four times the size of the economy of Greece.  Spain accounts for 11.5 percent of eurozone GDP while Greece only accounts for approximately 2.5 percent.  Spain is the 4th largest economy in the 16 nation eurozone and it is the 10th largest economy in the world.  If the economy of Spain fails it will cause a shockwave that will be felt in every corner of the globe.  In fact, there are quite a few analysts that believe if Spain defaults it would ultimately lead to the breakup of the eurozone.

So will the EU step up and bail out Spain?  Well, there are rumors that EU officials have begun work on a bailout package for Spain which is likely to run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, but on Monday the European Commission, the Spanish government and the German government all denied that the European Union was preparing a bailout for the Spanish economy.

Of course we all know that politicians don’t always tell us the truth.

So who knows what is going on over there right now.

But the reality is that the economy of Spain is not going to make it much longer without serious help, and some EU officials are already using apocalyptic language to describe what an economic collapse in Spain would mean.

For example, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso recently warned that democracy could completely collapse in Greece, Spain and Portugal unless urgent action is taken to tackle the burgeoning European debt crisis.

So could democracy actually fail in those nations?

Well, considering the fact that Greece, Spain and Portugal only became democracies in the 1970s, and that all three of those countries have a history of military coups, such a scenario is not that far-fetched.

Without a doubt there would be serious public unrest in those nations if public services collapsed because their governments ran out of money.

So are there signs that the economy of Spain is about to collapse?

Well, yes, there are quite a few of them.

The following are 9 reasons why Spain is a dead economy walking….

#1) Even before this most recent crisis, unemployment in Spain was approaching Great Depression levels.  Spain now has the highest unemployment rate in the entire European Union. More than 20 percent of working age Spaniards were unemployed during the first quarter of 2010.  If people aren’t working they can’t pay taxes and they can’t provide for their families.

#2) In an effort to stimulate the economy, Spain’s socialist government has been spending unprecedented amounts of money and that skyrocketed the government budget deficit to a stunning 11.4 percent of GDP in 2009.  That is completely unsustainable by any definition.

#3) The total of all public and private debt in Spain has now reached 270 percent of GDP.

#4) The Spanish government has accumulated way more debt than it can possibly handle, and this has forced two international ratings agencies, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, to lower Spain’s long-term sovereign credit rating.  These downgrades are making it much more expensive for Spain to finance its debt at a time when they simply can’t afford to pay more interest on their debt.

#5) There are 1.6 million unsold properties in Spain.  That is six times the level per capita in the United States.  Considering how bad the U.S. real estate market is, that statistic is incredibly alarming.

#6) The new “green economy” in Spain has been a total flop.  Socialist leaders promised that implementing hardcore restrictions on carbon emissions and forcing the nation over to a “green economy” would result in a flood of “green jobs”.  But that simply did not happen.  In fact, a leaked internal assessment produced by the government of Spain reveals that the “green economy” has been an absolute economic nightmare for that nation.  Energy prices have skyrocketed in Spain and the new “green economy” in that nation has actually lost more than two jobs for every job that it has created.  But Spain so far seems unwilling to undo all of the crazy regulations that they have implemented.

#7) Spain’s national debt is so onerous that they are now caught in a debt spiral where anything they do will harm the economy.  If they cut government expenditures in an effort to get debt under control it will devastate economic growth and crush badly needed tax revenues.  But if the Spanish government keeps borrowing money their credit rating will continue to decline and they will almost certainly default.  The truth is that the Spanish government is caught in a “no win” situation.

#8) But even now the IMF is projecting that the Spanish economy is going nowhere fast.  The International Monetary Fund says there will be no positive GDP growth in Spain until 2011, at which point it will still be below one percent.  As bleak as that forecast is, many analysts believe that it is way too optimistic considering the fact that Spain’s economy declined by about 3.6 percent in 2009 and things are rapidly getting worse.

#9) The Spanish population has gotten used to socialist handouts and they are not going to accept public sector pay cuts, budget cuts to social programs and hefty tax increases easily.  In fact, there is likely to be some very serious social unrest before all of this is said and done.  On May 21st, thousands of public sector workers took to the streets of Spain to protest the government’s austerity plan.  But that was only an appetizer.  Spain’s two main unions are calling for a major one day general strike to protest the government’s planned reforms of the country’s labor market.  The truth is that financial shock therapy does not go down very well in highly socialized nations such as Greece and Spain.  In fact, the austerity measures that Spain has been pressured to implement by the IMF have proven so unpopular that many are now projecting that Spain’s socialist government will be forced to call early elections.

So what is going to happen in Spain?

The truth is that nobody can predict for sure how things are going to play out over the coming weeks and months.

But what everyone can agree on is that the stakes are incredibly high.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, world famous economist Nouriel Roubini put it this way: “If Greece goes under, that’s a problem for the eurozone. If Spain goes under, it’s a disaster.”

But right now the entire population of Spain (along with much of the rest of the world) is completely distracted by the World Cup.  As long as the Spanish team does well, that is likely to keep the Spanish population sedated.  But if the Spanish team gets knocked out of the tournament early that will put the entire Spanish population in a really, really bad mood and that could mean a really chaotic summer for the nation of Spain.

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