Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell
A brand new development in the history of the ECB has occurred: leaks yesterday revealed the broad outlines of its new sovereign debt securities’ purchase programme. One cannot help thinking that it was necessary to prepare the ground in advance, with the ECB decisions falling well short of some of the mounting speculation.
According to Mario Draghi, there will be no limit to the amount of bond purchases on the secondary market – but the scope of the announcement needs to be put into perspective. They will in fact be decided on a case by case basis, and not as soon as a specific threshold has been crossed: based on interest rates or spread for example. It has also been confirmed that it will concern securities with a maturity of between one and three years, something already anticipated recently by the market, judging by the result of the issues which have occurred.
Continue reading LOTS OF FROTH, by François Leclerc
Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell
In my articles here, I generally address myself to anyone who wants to read me, but just this once, I would like to direct my address to my fellow financial engineers, and moreover in a tone – also just this once – of provocation which is blatant but, let us hope, efficient as well.
Here we go: a monetary zone has to be able to default in its entirety and restructure its debt (namely, to be able to say, “I can only pay back X centimes for every Euro I have borrowed”) and it also has to be able to re-evaluate its currency, and, in particular, to be able to devalue it.
The Eurozone has deprived itself of these two medicines. Hardly surprising then that today it is terminally ill.
The Solution: next Sunday evening (before Tokyo opens), the entire debt for all 17 countries in the Eurozone will be re-baptized Eurodebt (French OAT bonds, German Bunds, etc.) and the following minute, the Eurozone as a whole will default.
On Monday morning, the Eurodebt will be restructured (in one go) and the exchange rate between the Euro and other currencies will be allowed to adjust naturally.
The Eurozone will have carried out its metamorphosis. It will now be able to function like any other ordinary monetary zone. It will have been saved.
PS. Would all those commentators who are likely to say that we would be better off not saving the Euro please take your comments elsewhere; I am not talking here of either a ‘for’ or an ‘against’.
This is an exclusive preview – in English! – of my column which will be published in the Belgian weekly Le Vif/L’Express this coming Thursday
The phenomenon is the way in which things manifest themselves to us, and this can be real – either with things appearing as they really are; or it can be deceptive – with things appearing other than they really are – such is the case for optical illusions for example which suggest a false reality. Where the Greek language said phainomenon, latin said apparentia, appearance, with the same two nuances as for phenomenon – either an appearance faithful to the nature of things, or, on the other hand, an appearance which is deceptive.
Why this talk about epistemology? Because of the Greek elections last Sunday, and the European political class which has fallen victim to an appearance which is deceptive: it thought that encouraging the Greeks to vote for the right-wing party New Democracy was a way of saving the Euro, fearing that a vote for the left-wing coalition Syriza, would signal the end of it. Whereas in fact the opposite is true
Why? Because the formula adopted so far to try to save the Eurozone has been a spectacular failure. To persist stubbornly with the same policy following the principle of ‘TINA’ (There is no alternative, the infamous words of Margaret Thatcher), is to be sure of pursuing the hellish spiral descent which was triggered at the end of 2009. The Europeans who are roped together like a climbing team (let’s not pull the wool over our eyes) are in spiritual turmoil. The ropes of its members are working loose one by one: Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus…. whilst the number of them looking to have a secure foothold – burdened by the weight of those already dangling in mid-air which is growing heavier and heavier – is reducing dangerously.
Continue reading Le Vif/L’Express, « There is ALWAYS an alternative », June 22, 2012