Political Economy

Why China cares about Japan’s negative rates

Why China cares about Japan’s negative rates

By Frances Coppola originally posted at Coppola Comment Japan has just introduced negative rates on reserves, following the example of the Riksbank, the Danish National Bank, the ECB and the Swiss National Bank. The Bank of Japan has of course been doing QE in very large amounts for quite some time now, and interest rates have been close to zero […]

The mess in Portugal is negative for debt sustainability

The mess in Portugal is negative for debt sustainability

Portugal’s election on 4 October was inconclusive, without any party winning an absolute majority of the votes. The President of the country, a former Prime Minister, allowed his own party, led by incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho to form a new minority government as has been done in the past. However, the way he has gone about doing so has created a controversy, which has made Portugal the new focal point of the still virulent European sovereign debt crisis. While I don’t think this is a coup by any stretch, as some are saying, I do think Portugal has a tough road ahead regarding debt sustainability.

Do markets determine the value of the RMB?

By Michael Pettis Last Tuesday the PBoC surprised the markets with a partial deregulation of the currency regime, prompting a great deal of discussion and debate about the value of the RMB. Part of the discussion was informed by a consensus developing in one part of the market that the RMB is no longer undervalued but is in fact overvalued. […]

The Greece debt bailout negotiations are really about France, not Greece

The Greece debt bailout negotiations are really about France, not Greece

This post was originally written for Credit Writedowns Pro on 12 Jun before Greece defaulted on loans to the IMF. The situation in Greece is not about Greece at all. It is about enforcing an economic framework onto all Eurozone countries. And because the policy goal is primarily about enforcing this economic framework everywhere in the eurozone, there is less policy space available […]

Did lending by foreign banks really cause the Greek debt crisis?

Did lending by foreign banks really cause the Greek debt crisis?

There are a lot of competing narratives going around as to why Greece is in such trouble relative to the rest of the eurozone. A lot of this centers on whether Greek fiscal profligacy or poor credit controls by foreign banks was the main cause of the Greek debt crisis. Let me throw my hat into this ring with a few comments. What I say below will generally shade toward the problem being one of fiscal profligacy worsened by an ECB monetary policy that was inappropriate for the eurozone periphery as a whole and Greece in particular.

Variable geometry bites back: Schäuble’s motives

Success of the German-inspired solution for the latest Greek crisis is far from assured. If it fails, the Eurozone may be changed forever. This column argues that the failure would lead to an outcome that has been favoured for decades by Germany’s Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble. Perhaps the package the Eurozone agreed is just a backdoor way of getting to the ‘variable geometry’ and monetary unification for the core that the Maastricht criteria had failed to achieve.

The new European Union

The new European Union

The new bailout deal for Greece was not easy. This column argues that it was also a failure. It will not be enough to recapitalise banks, it asks for structural reform that exceeds Greek capacities, and it raises the Greek debt-to-GDP ratio to unsustainable levels. In a few months or quarters, the programme will fail and the Grexit question will flare up again.

More on Greek Tax Anticipation Note IOUs

More on Greek Tax Anticipation Note IOUs

The rumour making the rounds today is that these two paragraphs in a recent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard piece in the Telegraph are what were the final straw for Syriza that cost Yanis Varoufakis his job. I don’t know whether there is any basis to these rumours. However, I do know that Syriza want Greece to remain in the eurozone and that recent decisions by the ECB make it difficult for Greece. So the questions of government IOUs have to asked.

A Return to Fundamentals?

A Return to Fundamentals?

Overall, I don’t see any clear signs that the risk on, risk off mentality, which has ruled since 2008, is finally coming to an end. Yes, correlations have begun to recede a little bit here and there; however, if it is indeed a sign of bigger things to come, it is still very early days.

Greek default

Greek default

Now that Greece has defaulted on its payments to the IMF, I am going to take this article from behind the paywall. The views in it regarding the impact of default and Grexit are still very much operative four months later. I believe that, short of Grexit, Greece’s impact on the rest of Europe and European asset markets is now limited and that contagion risk is really redenomination risk and only materializes in great measure if Greece leaves the eurozone. The original post from 10 Mar 2015 is below.