Draghi’s Big Gun

Will it be third time lucky? Two previous attempts have been made to support the struggling Euro and have not stuck. This one could but, only if the European Central Bank (not fund) will lend provided the conditions set by the International Monetary Fund and the European Stability Mechanism are met.

 

Will it be third time lucky? Two previous attempts have been made to support the struggling Euro and have not stuck. This one could but, only if the European Central Bank (not fund) will lend provided the conditions set by the International Monetary Fund and the European Stability Mechanism are met. With youth unemployment in Spain and Italy over 50% and 35% respectively and elections looming in 2013 this is by no means certain.

Conditionality will hurt national pride as not only does the interest on sovereign lending have to be serviced and capital repaid, but the technocrats have to agree the measures to create more sustainable public finances are adequate and will work.

Why does it matter? The arcane workings of the bond markets are beyond most people. Unfortunately it does matter because from Beijing to New York, confidence in Europe has drained away and anaemic export markets mean pressure at home on trade balances and earnings. It is easy to forget that Euroland is one of the richest trading blocs in the world and 450 million comparatively affluent consumers are key to global trade. This affects everyone.

In Germany, Mrs Merkel faces an election in 2013 too, and the Bundesbank have not backed this scheme. Given it is the strongest of Europe’s central banks this is not a good omen.

What will happen next? Euphoria over the OMT(Outright Monetary Transaction) programme may gradually evaporate as the realization that political and voter appetite for even tougher austerity is just not there.

We could have a more settled period to Christmas, but we may see volatility return in 2013, as the consequences of the technical solution on the table is seen as politically and socially unacceptable for different reasons in the North and South European States. This solution needs more Europe and it is not at all clear that the national democracies involved are ready for that.

The terms of the first applications from Spain and Italy will be revealing. 

 

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