Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tim Duy: Draghi finds the panic button. Maybe.

by Calculated Risk on 7/26/2012 03:35:00 PM

From Professor Tim Duy at EconomistView: Draghi Blinks. Maybe.. A few excerpts:

It looks like Draghi finally found that panic button. This is crucial, as the ECB is the only institution that can bring sufficient firepower to the table in a timely fashion. His specific reference to the disruption in policy transmission appears to be a clear signal that the ECB will resume purchases of periphery debt, presumably that of Spain and possibly Italy. The ECB will - rightly, in my opinion - justify the purchases as easing financial conditions not monetizing deficit spending.

So far, so good. But there is enough in these statements to leave me very unsettled. First, the claim that the Euro is "irreversible" should send a shiver down everyone's backs. Sounds just a little too much like "the crisis is contained to subprime" and "Spain will not need a bailout." Second, the bluster that "believe me, it will be enough" is suspect. The ECB always thinks they have done enough, but so far this has not been the case. Moreover, he is setting some pretty high expectations, and had better be prepared to meet them with something more than half-hearted bond purchases.

Also, note that despite Draghi's bluster, the rally in Spanish debt send yields just barely below the 7% mark.
More distressing to me was Draghi's clearly defiant tone, reminiscent of comments earlier this week from German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. The message is that Europe has done all the right things, it is financial market participants that are doing the wrong things.
As Duy noted, Spanish 10 year bond yields have only fallen to 6.93% - not a huge vote of confidence.

Usually - whenever a European policymakers sounds like they have found the "panic button" - Schäuble speaks up and squashes all hope. Luckily Schäuble is going on vacation ...