Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Eurozone Cracks Appear

The cracks in the Eurozone are emerging again as the European Central Bank (ECB) was forced to intervene in bond markets in order to push down yields on Greek, Irish and Portuguese bonds.

The purchasing on bonds to prop up Eurozone countries is not universally supported, Germany fears that this is a sign of "policy creep" (ie backdoor rescues for failed states). The result of German pressure on the ECB to limit intervention has been the displacement of market jitters (or, for want of a better word, "predators") to Belgium, which is now experiencing a significant increase in bond yields. Belgium's economic woes are compounded by the fact that its political system has been in stasis for seven months since the election left it without a government.

As the crisis continues and, by definition, the size and number of bailouts so other states (once deemed strong) will be dragged down.

Like it or not the EU will have to change its policy, and give an unlimited guarantee of funding to failed states, if it wishes to maintain a single currency. Failing that, in my opinion before mid year, it is likely there will be a two tier Euro (or exit of the Euro by several member states).

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