Tag: IMF

  • LOTS OF FROTH, by François Leclerc

    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 … Read the rest

  • SURRENDER, YOU ARE SURROUNDED!, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    It is not just Italy and Spain causing problems, after the decisions taken during the last summit suffered a setback, in view of the spectacle of great confusion and nervousness we have witnessed with regard to the joint press release – which wasn’t one – from Spain, Italy and France demanding immediate implementation. Simultaneously, Greece is providing an example of the strategic retreat of the European authorities and of the IMF.

    It is now the ECB and the Eurosystem which hold the vast majority of the Greek debt, a fact which … Read the rest

  • FIRST IT WAS THE AGENCIES, NOW ITS THE FORECASTERS’ FAULT, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    “I can’t see any time soon when…the pressure will be off” replied David Cameron, the British Prime-Minister, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. He continued, “this is a period for all countries, not just in Europe but I think you will see it in America too, where we have to deal with our deficits and we have to have sustainable debts”. In conclusion, his austerity policies are likely to continue beyond 2020, as the situation is “a lot tougher than the forecasters were expecting”. Georges Osborne, the Chancellor of … Read the rest

  • WELL SPOTTED, BRAVO!, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    As already highlighted the Spanish government is already benefitting from a de facto rescue plan under another name. To save appearances, the new austerity measures put forward for vote in parliament have not been the object of a memorandum jointly signed with those providing the funds, as had previously been the case for other countries. In fact, the announcement of these measures came the day before that of the banking bail-out!

    One major difference with the preceding rescue plans can be observed: the entirety of the 100 billion Euros loans provided … Read the rest

  • GUILTY PARTIES WANTED !, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    In accordance with the predictable script, the bond market is under pressure again. The cost of servicing Spanish and Italian debt has continued to increase as their financing plans move forward in little measured steps. The effect of all this is to place an additional burden on the budgets, undermining those measures which are intended to reduce the deficits.

    The statistical institutes INSEE (France), IFO (Germany) and ISTAT (Italy) all agree: Europe is sinking into a recession which they describe as ‘technical” in an attempt to make it sound innocuous, but … Read the rest

  • AFTER THE WORDS, THE MAGIC FORMULA…, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    What can you say when you are in total disagreement? You can always assert, with one voice, the need for a union! This is this perspective that the quartet composed of José Manuel Barroso, Mario Draghi, Jean-Claude Juncker and Herman Van Rompuy (in alphabetical order) continues to work on.

    A new magic word has been discovered and is going to be proclaimed with all its variations, to push for the implementation of four unions: banking, fiscal, economic and political. With the fiscal union already in the pipeline, the next stage which … Read the rest

  • BACK FROM LOS CABOS, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    Given that the G20 has confined itself to mere generalities and that the European Summit on the 28th and 29th June is dangerously close, what can be expected of the meeting in Rome on the 22nd June between Angela Merkel, Mario Monti, Mariano Rajoy and François Hollande, intended to serve as preparation for it?

    Two projects are being examined in parallel by the European institutions, which are being assembled together and presented as if they were one of Great Wonders of the World. Firstly, by issuing Eurobonds with … Read the rest

  • A BIG BANG, OR NOTHING , by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell

    With the G20 meeting being held in Mexico at the start of the week, our perspective will find itself altered, falsely accustomed as we are to only seeing the debt crisis from a European angle. On the 18th and 19th June, the greats of this world are going to gather in Los Cabos, a tourist resort in Southern Lower California, under the double auspices of debt and global recovery.

    To avoid standing idly by whilst confronted by a disaster of its own making, the British Government has just announced a plan … Read the rest

  • WHEN THE WISE MAN POINTS AT THE MOON… (I), by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell.

    The chaotic ups and downs of the deleveraging process continue inexorably, affecting not only the debt of the member states but also a European banking system which is now in the same mess. What it had been concealing has now been revealed: it is in a very sick and feeble state.

    In order to subdue and contain this gradual process, new bail-out instruments have had to be put in place – which are the subject of much debate; their effectiveness is limited since they are part of a debt-reduction strategy which … Read the rest

  • A HUNDRED BILLION EUROS FOR SPANISH BANKS, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell.

    It was no longer possible to carry on. Two and a half hours of videoconference between the Eurozone’s finance ministers (joined by Christine Lagarde on behalf of the IMF) were needed to finalize the scheme, allowing the German and Spanish governments to save face. Germany made sure that aid for the Spanish banks passed via the State, thus increasing Spain’s deficit, whilst Spain attempted to explain that this was not a bail-out plan or a loss of sovereignty, with, furthermore, the assistance not being subject to any austerity measures.

    Up to … Read the rest

  • WHEN FATE INTERVENES…, by François Leclerc

    Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell.

    In the blink of an eye, discussions have switched focus. The issue of growth which was at the forefront has rapidly surrendered its place to the elaboration of a plan for the supervision of the banks and the rescue of those in need. Improvisation continues to be a dominating force, with what was denied yesterday becoming a priority today.

    The sheer size of the reported losses in the Spanish banking system and the capital withdrawals out of struggling countries have forcibly imposed this return to a theme which had been set … Read the rest

  • THE IRONY OF HISTORY

    Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell.

    I have made the observation here that what leads us to desire change is never the projection of an idyllic image of a new future world to which we aspire, but rather the present moment in which we live become intolerable.

    Irony plays a considerable role in history and it would be particularly pleasing if, where cold and objective reason has not been able to resolve the Greek situation at the heart of the Euro zone or of the conundrum of the Euro zone itself, indignation itself succeeds. Because if the recent remarks … Read the rest

  • Le Monde – Économie, Monday 8 – Tuesday 9 March 2010

    Here an English translation of La machine infernale, my monthly column for March in Le Monde – Économie.

    A DEVILISH DEVICE

    Only five years ago, we were led to believe that the advertised model of the economic and financial apparatus represented a system that was finally mature: stable because thoroughly predisposed to self-regulate and practically safe thanks to super-efficient risk-spreading.

    Self-regulation did not happen. Risk, although atomized, was nonetheless concentrated by the more astute players into enormous portfolios of financial products with, influenced by the economic climate, inflated risk premium; an unavoidable downside correction triggered the implosion of the … Read the rest