Saturday, June 30, 2012

On Europe

by Bill McBride on 6/30/2012 07:33:00 PM

It seems every time Europe has a summit, announces a new plan ... and then the details disappoint. As usual, the actual statement lacked details, but here are a couple of reviews:

From Charles Wyplosz: One more summit: The crisis rolls on

Reading the official documents from the June 28 summit requires linguistic and divination skills. The texts are convoluted and clearly aim at giving various positive impressions while shying away from deep commitments.

The clearest result is that EFSF/ESM funds can be used directly to support banks.

The summit attendees seem to have successfully drawn the conclusions that this was necessary from the disastrous impact of their mid-June decision on new lending Spanish authorities to shore up their banks.
At the end of the day, the summit was a little move in the right direction bank supervision, but keep watching; we still don’t know what will actually get put in place. There was nothing on collapsing Greece, nothing on unsustainable public debts in several countries, and no end in sight to recession in an increasing number of countries.

There was no knock-out winner in this summit, but on points I’d have to say that the winner is the crisis.
There is much more in Wyplosz' post.

Paul Krugman adds: What Did the EU Summit Accomplish?
The main substantive thing was the agreement in principle to set up something more or less like a European version of the TARP, in which funds for bank recapitalization will be supplied by a consortium rather than lent to governments already overburdened with debt. Good move, and Irish bond buyers are especially happy. But even this doesn’t take effect right away.

Also some bond purchases, but not by the ECB, so limited in size. So think of this as a very small version of quantitative easing.

So what we know even for the US is that the TARP and QE were perhaps enough to forestall disaster, but not to produce recovery — and Europe has the additional problem of huge needed realignments in competitiveness, which would be much easier if the ECB announced a dramatic loosening — which is didn’t.

Not nearly enough, then. Yet markets were buoyed.

I guess you can argue that this was sort of a downpayment — that it is the harbinger of bigger policy changes to come. I hope so.
A comment a few weeks ago from Mark Dow keeps ringing in my ear: "Germany is now pot committed."

Summary for Week Ending June 29th
Schedule for Week of July 1st