The current gyrations of sentiment over government-bond spreads in the Eurozone are generating much commentary. Yet this column argues they are diverting attention from the real issue – the Eurozone periphery needs a big realignment towards the tradable sector to reignite growth sustainably. It adds that EU policies have made little progress, casting doubt on whether the adjustment can succeed.
Uri Dadush, Zaahira Wyne, 20 April 2012
Manfred Neumann, 17 April 2012
Debt finance of public consumption has clearly gone too far in several countries, reaching the borderline of sustainability. Have austerity measures now gone too far as well? This column argues it seems too early to sound the alarm. First, the global economy is likely to grow by 3.3 % this year, and second, reversing the fiscal stance or exiting the euro are worse options than austerity.
Richard Baldwin, 10 April 2012
The five finalists of the £250,000 EZ breakup contest were announced last week; only one has a graduate degree in economics. This column argues that three are amateurish efforts full of economic and factual errors. European economists should take such ignorance seriously. Failure to do so in the US allowed odious ideas to gain respectability.
Andrea Boltho, Wendy Carlin, 31 March 2012
Divergent behaviour from Eurozone countries that have very different economic, social, and political structures is threatening the existence of the single currency. This column argues that the Eurozone is a fragile bureaucratic creation that has hardly ever raised much popular enthusiasm anywhere. If behaviour across the area remains as asymmetric as it has been over the last decade or so, the project could run into even stronger headwinds in the long run.
Marco Buti, Pier Carlo Padoan, 27 March 2012
In late 2011, the financial crisis had evolved dangerously into a vicious circle of sluggish growth, tensions in sovereign debt markets, and banking sector fragility. CEPR Policy Insight No. 61 looks at what measures are required to turn the economy around.
Marco Buti, Pier Carlo Padoan, 27 March 2012
The economic and financial crisis in the Eurozone is in its fourth year. This column argues that, by providing a confidence bridge, decisive and credible policy action can turn the economy around and bring it towards a good equilibrium of debt sustainability and sustainable growth.
Gianluca Cafiso, Roberto Cellini, 20 March 2012
As fiscal-consolidation policies are being implemented across the EU, a debate has been developing concerning the effects of such policies on the dynamics of the debt-to-GDP ratio. This column examines past episodes and finds that following fiscal adjustment may have favourable effects in the short term but that the two-year cumulated changes have been mainly adverse.
Hans-Werner Sinn, 10 March 2012
In February 2012, the Bundesbank had a TARGET claim of €547 billion on the Eurosystem. This column proposes a US-like system of marketable covered treasury bills that could be applied to a yearly settlement of TARGET liabilities.
Jacob Kirkegaard, 01 March 2012
Brinkmanship has produced an early-morning deal in Europe to extend a new lifeline to Greece and clear the way for the biggest sovereign bond restructuring in history. This column takes a detailed look at the EU deal, the ongoing brinkmanship between the Eurozone and the IMF, and the general focus on austerity.
Marga Peeters, Ard den Reijer, 03 January 2012
While EU leaders are drafting a fiscal compact, the problem of intra-European real exchange-rate misalignments remains. This column argues that reducing imbalances implies a focus on competitiveness, and hence on the alignment of nominal-wage growth with labour-productivity growth.
Vincent O'Sullivan, Stephen Kinsella, 17 December 2011
The capital shortfall at EU banks is 8% higher than originally thought, according to the latest assessment from the European Banking Authority. This column examines the evolution of loan-to-deposit ratios in big European banks. It says banks have been buying back their debt securities, hoarding profits, limiting bonuses, and deleveraging. However, write-downs of sovereign debt have largely offset these efforts.
Nicolas Berman, Antoine Berthou, Jérôme Héricourt, 16 December 2011
The synchronised poor growth in European countries can be explained by many factors, including trade and financial linkages. This column argues that firms’ domestic sales are directly affected by the fall in their exports. Using French firm-level data and the Asian Crisis as a foreign-demand shock, it finds that domestic sales were 5% lower for firms exposed to the crisis. It suggests that this is because the cash flow generated by exports may be used by firms to finance domestic operations in the short term.
Damiano Sandri, Ashoka Mody, 23 November 2011
European policymakers are confronting a heightened crisis characterised by a perverse and seemingly intractable interplay between sovereign debt pressures and financial-sector fragilities. This column argues that the payoffs from strengthening banks’ balance-sheets can still be large and, therefore, fiscal support is merited. But a more resolute strategy for winding down banks is also needed.
Viral Acharya, Dirk Schoenmaker, Sascha Steffen, 22 November 2011
The lack of market confidence in European banks is fed by the uncertainty about Eurozone sovereign debt. This column argues governments and banking supervisors should agree a recapitalisation package well before Christmas. It adds that the required amount to be raised by each bank should be presented as a euro amount and not as a ratio so as not to tempt banks to cut down assets instead of raising capital.
Cezary Wójcik, Christian Fahrholz, 31 October 2011
With the sovereign debt crisis spreading across Europe, there is no shortage of suggestions on how to save the Eurozone. This column says exit rules are the silver bullet. It argues that exit rules would decrease the probability of a breakup of the Eurozone by enhancing market discipline, increasing the political bargaining power of EZ members vis-à-vis the profligate countries, enhancing internal discipline in the profligate countries, and reducing market uncertainty.
Guntram Wolff, 30 October 2011
Stress in the interbank market has increased dramatically since July 2011, and bank stock market valuations have fallen by 22% on average for 60 of the most important banks subject to stress tests. This column argues that bank stock valuation has been affected by the banks’ exposure to Greek debt and that Greek banks were particularly affected. Holdings of debt of the other four periphery countries does not, however, appear to be a strong determinant of stock price movements.
Charles Wyplosz, 25 October 2011
A series of policy mistakes have put Europe on the wrong path. This column says that the current plan to enlarge the EFSF and recapitalise banks through markets will fail. The twin crises linking sovereign debts and banking turmoil need to be addressed simultaneously for Europe to avoid economic disaster.
Open Letters, 25 October 2011
How can Europe fix its sovereign-debt crisis? Many favour euro bonds, but those seem politically impractical because they would require supranational fiscal policies. This column proposes creating safe European assets without requiring additional funding by having a European debt agency repackage members’ debts into `euro-safe-bonds’.
Charles Wyplosz, 19 December 2010
Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi – Member of the ECB's Executive Board – has produced a brilliant defence of the no-default strategy currently pursued by the Eurozone authorities. This column argues that instead of ruling out highly plausible outcomes, the ECB should explain how it will react if defaults happen. By not making adequate preparations, it may be raising the odds of a very bad scenario.
Barry Eichengreen, 03 December 2010
Irish interest spreads did not fall and contagion continues. Here one of the world’s leading international economists explains why. Short-sighted, wishful thinking by EU and German leadership designed a package that is not economically feasible in the long run (it would trigger a vicious debt deflation spiral) and it is not politically sustainable in the short run. The Eurozone had better have a Plan B for when the new Irish government rejects the package next year and imposes a haircut on Irish bank bondholders.