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Eurozone leaders deluded if they think that this treaty "strip" can resolve the debt crisis

Sunday, December 11, 2011

So, Now we know what the latest euro-crisis summit has to offer. The effort to stabilize the fifth integral euro zone in nineteen months, the last of the gab Brussels festival produced a series of headlines and initiatives. But what really accomplish?

The single currency remains as inconsistent as it was last weekend, so vulnerable to systemic collapse. The region's banks and governments are still heavily indebted.
Eurozone leaders are deluding themselves if they think some diplomatic tape, and a lot of bluster, it can hold together a structure inherently unstable.
Moreover, by using a combination of borrowed and printed money to save liquidity problems for governments, which are insolvent largely because, in turn, are behind the insolvent banks, is to treat the symptoms of the crisis not the cause.

This historical error of politics - the struggle against the results of the problem and not the problem itself - has characterized the West's response to this fiasco of the sub-prime from the beginning, not only in the euro zone, but in the United Kingdom and the USA as well. Situation in Europe is much worse, however, given the constraints imposed by the straitjacket of the single currency.

David Cameron was "veto" and the new situation in the UK as a "pariah of Europe", which won the most attention, at least in the UK press. More importantly, however, in Britain, Europe and the world, is whether these initiatives from Brussels can avoid a "euroquake" - a public nuisance, market-driven breakdown of the monetary union.

 If this happens, the economic shock waves would be felt worldwide.
Before the summit, the European Central Bank cut its 2012 forecast of euro area GDP growth of 1.3pc to 0.3pc. The refinancing rate was reduced by 25 basis points to 1 unit. The ECB also unleashed a series of "non-standard" measures to support troubled banks in Europe.

Refinancing operations is extended to three years and extended warranty eligibility further, making it easier for banks to borrow from the central bank in the euro area. Reserve ratios were also reduced, the ECB regulations throw caution to the wind, in a bid to get lending banks in the eurozone.
Then were the measures adopted at the Summit itself. Despite the UK's veto of a EU-wide "fiscal pact", eurozone members will proceed with budget integration, but outside the EU legal framework. A new "Stability of the Union" Member States will adopt a "golden rule" to manage the structural deficit below 0.5pc of GDP. Failure of the countries a 3 pieces of GDP deficit limit will be fined, unless otherwise decided by qualified majority (ie, unless individual governments agreed to let each other out, which of course will).
These measures tired pave the way for "the full fiscal union," he says. However, they are almost identical to the failed "stability and growth pact" that was when it launched the euro, and that both France and Germany soon after failed.

In the end, these rules will always break, because when it comes to something as fundamental as taxes and spending, eurozone governments will always do what their national electorates want, instead of continuing in Brussels. No wonder of it. Western Europe is a collection of sovereign democracies. This is how it should be.
Other announcements include the "rapid deployment" of the € 440bn European Financial Stability Fund to support governments in trouble, such as Greece, Italy and Spain, prevention of "contagion" from spreading throughout the euro zone. However, nobody knows where the € 440bn will come from. Eurocrats recognize this by referring to the EFSF as "leverage." But who will pay money to an entity that has no obvious source of income?
The new European Stability Mechanism apparently has € 500 billion to spend, thus reinforcing the "firewall". However, we must add another acronym to the lexicon of rescue, the ESM will come and "working" July 2012, ahead of schedule. Once again, however, do not know who is spreading the money out. But we do know that Finland and the Netherlands, among others, are outraged France has insisted that the decision to manage all the ESM money over time is no need to be unanimous. The Finnish Parliament has considered this proposal as "unconstitutional."

Another thing we know is that the euro zone has pledged to "pay" the € 200 billion International Monetary Fund through the state banks core members, the IMF can give back to the Member States of the eurozone. This amounts to a circumvention of the law. Eurozone governments can not directly fund bailouts, since its population was indignant and deny national parliaments. But by channeling money through central banks, then "return" through IMF bailout funds can be delivered regardless of such democratic niceties. This is the kind of behavior this deeply immoral Eurocrats as a "break-through".

The euro area faces a looming problem, the acute funding. Member States should pay more than $ 1,100 million debt in 2012, most of it due in the first six months. In addition, European banks, heavily dependent on state largesse, has about $ 665 billion of debt that matures in June next year.
Germany continues to insist that the ECB will not be allowed to unleash all the QE, or buy bonds beyond the $ 210bn that has been in hiding. Many believe that Angela Merkel, will ultimately regret. I still can not believe it, he will not because its parliament and the electorate does not allow it. That's why the big test of the euro zone is yet to come, although this test may have been shelved until early next year, when large refinancing needs maturity.

The Brussels summit was an improper combination of bending the law and posture. The coup de grace for me was the agreement of silence to rule out any requirement for private sector holders of dubious euro zone sovereign debt to incur losses. So much for moral hazard.

The fundamental problem is that European banks are still locked out of traditional funding markets, which will depend on the ECB - which, in turn, is increasingly dependent on money secretly printed and Chinese and others in ultimately chip-in. Faced with the freezing of funds, banks are reducing their balances and strangling growth by refusing to pay, a problem of "special measures" the ECB will do nothing to solve.
The use of ECB facilities for emergency loans on Wednesday rose to € 9.4bn, the highest daily total since early March, signaling deep malaise in the banking sector. Anxiety is related mainly to a lack of confidence. Eurozone banks can not raise money, and not even lend to each other because of crippling fears of counterparty risk, as many continue to hide passive massive so-called "special vehicles". Lawmakers, after all, still lack the courage to force them to fully disclose their losses.

This lack of information is the core of the subprime problem. Nobody wants to hear, but true. Last week "stress tests" suggested European banks have a deficit of € 115bn, € 106bn over in October. However, these exams administered by the government lacks credibility. The first round clarified some major Irish banks, which then went bankrupt. The next round of Belgium Dexia gave a clean bill of health just weeks before it collapsed. And now the European authorities want the markets believe that this last year of high risk financial twist.
Nobody knows who is solvent. The trickle of information from the stress tests cause more problems than solutions. This stand-behind retail depositors, require "full disclosure" and drop the cards, forcing our banks to consolidate bombed. This really is the only solution - in the U.S., the UK and the eurozone. But the failure to capture the eurozone will be much more explosive, given the pressures created by this absurd monetary experiment.
Liam Halligan is chief economist at Prosperity Management Capital.
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