Tag: sovereign debt crisis

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Euro is a failure

The Euro is a failure

When I was discussing the Greek economic crisis last night with my colleague Ameera David, she asked me who I blame for the mess we are in. I told her I blame the euro because the euro is a monetary union created for political reasons without political union. It is a failure and the Greek crisis shows us one reason why. But I have a catalogue of other reasons. So I have decided to write them down and explain my thinking to you in greater detail.

Some thoughts on the coming defaults of Greece

Some thoughts on the coming defaults of Greece

This post, originally written at Credit Writedown Pro on 27 Apr 2015, is now available here as well. After the meeting in Riga, it is more clear than ever that the gap between Greece and the Eurogroup finance ministers is wide. Default looks likely and so we have to start thinking about what this means for Greece and for Europe. […]

Morality in the Greek Crisis

Morality in the Greek Crisis

I know I keep saying that economics is not a morality play. But when it comes to Greece, I can find no other satisfactory explanation for what is going on. I’ve reminded everyone before about Irving Fisher’s famous observation: “The more the debtors pay, the more they owe”. In 2012, Michael Hudson developed this idea further. “Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be”, he said.

Grexit: The staggering cost of central bank dependence

Grexit: The staggering cost of central bank dependence

This weekend’s dramatic events saw the ECB capping emergency assistance to Greece. This column argues that the ECB’s decision is the last of a long string of ECB mistakes in this crisis. Beyond triggering Greece’s Eurozone exit – thus revoking the euro’s irrevocability – it has shattered Eurozone governance and brought the politicisation of the ECB to new heights. Bound to follow are chaos in Greece and agitation of financial markets – both with unknown consequences.

Yanis Varoufakis: Greece, Germany and the Eurozone – Keynote at the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Berlin, 8 June 2015

This post is re-posted from Yanis Varoufakis’ blog with his permission. CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO Thank you for inviting me. Thank you for being here. Thank you for the warm welcome. Above all thank you for the opportunity to build bridges, to pave common ground, to bring harmony in the face of blatant attempts to sow the seeds of […]

A parallel currency for Greece: Part II

A parallel currency for Greece: Part II

Introducing a currency in parallel to the euro could help Greece repay its external debt and resume economic activity. This second column in a two-part series evaluates the different options and their effects on aggregate demand and fiscal sustainability. The authors propose a tax credit certificates programme, which they argue could generate new spending capacity and avoid the adoption of new austerity measures.