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Posts Tagged ‘European economy’

Will There Be a QE3?

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 28th, 2011 7:56 AM |

Is there really any doubt that virtually all our markets, especially commodities and with the exception of real estate, have been propped higher as a direct or indirect result of the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing? I have no doubt.

The question remains outstanding just how far the Fed, in concert with its banking friends on Wall Street, has gone and will go to further manipulate our markets. That question may never be fully answered. What a shame! For those who believe a preponderance of truth, transparency, and integrity are the cornerstones for long term fiscal health and financial well being our markets remain a decidedly challenging arena.

In light of this reality and with the end of QE2 on the horizon this June, where do we go from here? A reader posed that very question the other day. (more…)

IMF: “Spain’s Economy Needs Far-Reaching and Comprehensive Reforms”

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 25th, 2010 9:00 AM |

Global markets are down 2-3% overnight. What is going on?

From a military standpoint, all eyes are focused on the Korean Peninsula after North Korea’s admission of sinking a South Korean vessel in late March. How will the world respond? Will the U.S. issue some sort of warning shot across the North Korean bow? Will the international community, and especially those who treasure freedom, rally and aggressively denounce the North Korean’s aggression or will we witness what amounts to a ‘kumbaya’ session?

From an economic standpoint, all eyes are focused on the Euro-zone where fiscal pressures remain elevated. Today the focus is Spain. (more…)

Let’s Cross the Pond and Revisit The Weakest Link

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 23rd, 2009 2:27 PM |

The Washington Post is running a lead article today about the concern that the European Union in general, and the United Kingdom specifically, may derail the global recovery. Let’s cross “the pond.”

European Slump May Stall Global Rebound

Some countries, such as Ireland, are so cash-strapped that they’ve raised taxes in the middle of a deep recession, making things worse. In addition, European leaders have only recently signaled their willingness to conduct broad, systematic stress tests on their financial institutions, similar to the ones on major U.S. banks already concluded by the Treasury Department. 

This is not news. Nothing of substance has dramatically changed in Western or Eastern Europe from my writing, The Weakest Link and The Weakest Link Is Weakening in late February and early March.  

The media, government officials, and market pundits have been been attempting to talk the economy up more than the actual reality would dictate. The equity markets rebounded from an oversold condition in early March. For short term traders and those focused on technical analysis, I hope you caught the move. For those focused on the long term fundamentals of the economy, the risks remain very high.

While, WaPo and other media outlets may voice concerns now or report developments as new, the “strains in the European chain” remain very real. Along these lines, I had written on April 30th in my April 2009 Market Review: Brave New World:  

I believe it is a question of when – not if – in terms of a major European country defaulting on its debt and requiring a rescue from the EU and/or IMF.

The Washington Post should be a little more rigorous in terms of checking their facts. They report:

While U.S. banks have already written down about half the estimated $1.1 trillion in troubled loans and toxic assets on their books, Europe’s financial institutions have thus far written down less than 25 percent of their $1.4 trillion in bad debts related to the crisis, according to a report from the International Monetary Fund. 

In actuality, the IMF has forecasted that U.S. banks have upwards of $2.8 trillion in troubled loans and toxic assets and have written down approximately 40-45% of it. That’s bad reporting. At least the reporter is diligent enough to highlight that Western Europe’s major concerns relate to the financial exposure to Eastern Europe. Although, this is not new news, they report: 

Many major Western European banks are also heavily invested in hard-hit Eastern Europe, where the risk of a fresh wave of corporate and consumer defaults is considerable.

With all due respect, tell us something we don’t know.


Europe Sneezes, Asia Gets A Cold

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 18th, 2009 5:00 AM |

The European Union reported a 2.5% decline in 1st quarter GDP the end of last week. Market pundits claim that this report and quarter will represent the trough for the recession in Europe. I personally do not see any meaningful evidence to support that assertion. Europe has been slow to address the massive capital shortfalls in its banking system. The EU has reluctantly adopted measures of quantitative easing and has been slow to drop its overnight lending rate.

What have been the ramifications of the EU’s tardiness on the monetary and fiscal stimulus fronts? RTT News reports, Euro Moves Lower Versus Rivals After GDP Report. 1st quarter output in Europe plummeted and economic growth revisions across individual countries showed greater declines.

I have always viewed eastern Europe as being The Weakest Link in our global economy. The EU’s enormous exposure to eastern Europe is a MAJOR drag on its financial institutions and, in turn, its economy. The 1st quarter GDP report is a clear indication of the impact that the Weakest Link Is Weakening, much as I had written a few months ago.

Can this European weakness be contained? Can stronger economies pull Europe out of the economic ditch? Weren’t these the same questions we posed in regard to the rising delinquencies and resultant foreclosures in sub-prime mortgages?

The immediate reaction to the European weakness in Asian markets is a swift selloff. Japanese equities are down almost 3% overnight (10pm EST) due primarily to the weakness in Europe. As Bloomberg highlights, Japanese Stocks Slump on Panasonic Loss Forecast, Europe GDP. Bloomberg asserts:

“Europe’s spending less on stimulus, so their ability to recover from the recession is weaker than the rest of the world.”

Additionally, Bloomberg provides further European color:

Gross domestic product in the 16-member euro region fell 2.5 percent from the fourth quarter, the biggest decline since the data were first compiled in 1995, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said on May 15. That exceeded the 2 percent contraction economists expected in a Bloomberg survey and followed a 1.6 percent drop in the prior three months.

“Concerns are building about the health of Europe,” said Ryuta Otsuka, a strategist at Toyo Securities Co. in Tokyo. “That’s having an effect on the currency market and creating a headwind for export companies.”

Why isn’t Europe more swift and aggressive in providing fiscal and monetary stimulus? Germany’s hyperinflation during the post World War I era has left an indelible scar upon that country. I found the insights into Germany’s period of hyperinflation provided in an excerpt of Paper Money by ‘Adam Smith’ (George J.W. Goodman) to be highly informative.

In pausing to review the depth and magnitude of these economic issues, it is readily apparent that our global economy is connected not only across borders but also across historical eras.


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