Greek Tale(s)

No matter what new twist the Greek debt crisis takes, there can be no question that it has been a catastrophe for that country and for the entire Eurozone. The Greek economy contracted by over a quarter during the period of 2007 to 2013, the largest decline of any advanced economy since 1950. The Greek unemployment rate […]

Greece: Don’t play with fire, but don’t sweep it under the carpet

Greece’s government is absolutely right that it cannot further cut budget expenses and raise taxes imposed already on the people in order to have funds to endless repaying of the foreign debt. That would be wrong, since it is not just socially unacceptable, but also economically irrational. Thus far, the implemented policies have succeeded in […]

German Investment: The Pedal Is Off the Metal

There is an ongoing discussion on whether Germany is underinvesting and whether it could do more to increase its growth through investment. An analysis of recent trends produced by Roubini (subscription only; referenced today in Bloomberg) shows that German investment is low when measured against its current ability to invest, and is unlikely to significantly […]

Myths and Realities of European QE

The effects of the ECB’s quantitative easing are still unclear and may be insufficient to drag economies out of low growth and high unemployment rates. In effect, removing market pressures might affect incentives to pursue the structural reforms that Europe needs, such as completing the single market and restructuring banks and corporates. There is nothing […]

The deal that may make or break the eurozone

It is no secret that the top priority of the new Greek government will be to negotiate a reduction in the country’s debt – as well as to broker softer terms on the austerity conditions forced by its creditors. Until as recently as the wee hours of Thursday, I thought that this would be unethical. Here is the […]

Mr Schaeuble and G-20 Leaders: Consider the Following

It has been reported on the BBC news that Mr Schaeuble has said: a)   Criticism that the (German) government was not spending enough was justified, and that; b)  Any improvement in spending would not be made at the expense of a balanced budget. According to the BBC report the German economy has contracted and exports […]

Hard Work and External Help: How to Successfully Conduct Macroeconomic Adjustment With Official Assistance

What are the factors that ensure a successful and durable completion of a financial assistance programme? Past experience with IMF-supported adjustment programmes underlines the importance of external conditions but also of fiscal consolidation, financial repair and structural reforms. These findings vindicate the strategy pursued in recent adjustment programmes in the euro area: putting the fiscal […]

Recovery in Europe?

Greece has returned to the bond market, issuing $4.2 billion of five-year bonds at an interest rate of 4.95%. The government’s ability to borrow again is a “reward” for posting a surplus on its primary budget (although the accounting that produced the surplus has been questioned).  This has been viewed as a sign, albeit fragile, of recovery. Portugal […]

Repo Comes Under the Microscope

Introduction On 29 January 2014, the EU Commission published a legislative proposal for a regulation on reporting and transparency of securities financing transactions[1] (SFTs) and associated FAQ document. The EU Commission is concerned that efforts to reform the structure of EU banks (in the form of the Liikanen proposals – see this blog post for […]