Economist: “Tempted Angela?” – Merkel Contemplates On How to Break Up the Euro

Posted by in Economy

 Is German Chancellor Angela Merkel trying to save the euro? Despite German claiming so, The Economist believes rather the opposite. That Merkel is trying to break up the euro. Angela Merkel is been featured contemplating on the euro future – next to her a bottle of whiskey and a cup of  -what it seems to me- a Greek coffee.

A controlled break-up of the euro would be hugely risky and expensive. So is waiting for a solution to turn up

 

 “FOR all you know, Angela Merkel is even now contemplating how to break up the euro. Surely Germany’s long-suffering chancellor must be tempted, given the endless euro-bickering over rescues that later turn out to be inadequate. How she must tire of fighting her country’s corner, only to be branded weak by critics at home. How she must resent sacrificing German wealth, only to be portrayed as a Nazi in some of the very countries she is trying to rescue.”

Practical Merkel for practical solutions: Save or Break and damage calculations

Grexit, pursued by a bear

Begin with Greece. There is a common fallacy, not least in Germany, that dropping the Greeks would be a fairly costless way to teach a useful lesson. In fact the European Central Bank (ECB) owns Greek bonds with a face value of €40 billion ($50 billion), which would be converted into devalued drachma and which Greece might not service.

A further €130 billion or so of loans that Greece has received in the bail-out would have to be written down, or written off. The €100 billion of the temporary debts Greece has stacked up in the ECB’s payments system would crystallise into a loss. Add in a one-off grant of say €50 billion to tide Greece over—call it conscience-salving “solidarity”—and the bill might come to €320 billion. Estimating the price of a “Grexit” is guesswork, but Germany’s share might reach €110 billion of this, about 4% of the country’s GDP.

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At first sight that is a bargain, because it would save German taxpayers from an open-ended commitment to Greece. And yet proof of the euro’s reversibility will throw markets into a panic. Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus and Spain also all owe investors abroad a net sum of 80-100% of GDP (the gross debt is much larger).

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A bolder Plan B would amputate well above the site of infection, cutting off Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus too. Italy, which has net foreign debt of just 21% of GDP, would probably escape the chop: even with its heavy debts and chronic lack of competitiveness, Mrs Merkel would reckon that the euro zone could not function politically without it. The cost of a bolder Plan B would be high.

Read Full article : The ECONOMIST

PS I would put next to Merkel a bottle of Ouzo and a piece of chorizo…