“Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the community. That is not to say that our future lies only in Europe, but nor does that of France or Spain or, indeed, of any other member. The […]
Eight years of the financial turmoil has given a reason for many debates, research, arguments, discussions and even research work to many. To many nothing has really changed, in fact to them, we might be looking at something more serious in 2016. The question that is important is whether there is any truth to the occurrence of second financial crisis or are we just in denial? This article had been previously published in 2014.
For long, geopolitics seemed to have started playing an important role in deciding the destiny of global financial markets. 2015 has seen contrasting developments, where nearly every market affected the other, irrespective of how much contribution one made to the other’s GDP. The reason could be that globally financial markets remain highly interconnected and if not through investments then through trade, the influence remained inevitable. This article highlights four important economies that could make a difference to global financial markets.
Greece has been struggling hard to meet the requirements needed to be a member in the Eurozone. Moreover, following the 2008 financial crisis in the US, Greece’s economy got smaller by 25% since 2009. Germany, France, Italy and Spain are the most important economies accounting for most of the Union’s GDP.
This probably is a situation which will be a loss in either case: if Greece exits, it could be a bigger issue for Eurozone and Greece will have to fight its own battles with no common currency nation by its side.
The whole purpose of BRICS New Development Bank is to be self sufficient and rely less on western economies. The world’s reserves has shrunk from 90% (2004) of dollar denominated securities to 60% in 2014. But, the growing tension individually in the member countries could easily defeat the purpose for which it was originally formed. Some debate that this small initiative (formation of BRICS) could be a big challenge for the advanced economies.
The Eurozone comprises of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. Established in 1999, these countries have adopted a common currency called the ‘Euro’. ‘Euro’ itself was introduced as a single currency no later than 2002. By sharing a common currency, the countries follow common economic and fiscal policies. Monetary policy decisions are taken by the independent European Central Bank , also known as the ECB. Entry to join the eurozone is controlled by the so-called Eurogroup.
Greece’s bailout extension expires in May this year and its inclination towards the members of BRICS seems inevitable. For long, Greece’s economy has been bringing troubling news to the Eurozone. The EU members have time and again tried their best to keep Greece in the common currency zone but bailouts and downgrading has got the worse out of Greece. However, the debt crisis in Greece seems to only deepen and has taken a different turn with some new developments in the Greece’s strategy – mostly captured in the statements of Greek Defense minister, Panos Kammenos.
The US dollar has been on the rise every day setting high records. With the upward pressure on dollar, stronger dollar could tighten financial conditions across the growth. Further the rising dollar could be offsetting the benefit of low cost oil. Over the past six months, the trade-weighted dollar has risen 25% and faster than anytime the last 40 years. US dollar is a global unit of account in debt contracts and that could be a cause of slow down in the rest of the world. Not only that, if the dollar continues to increase, inflation and US economic could weaken.
Six years of the financial turmoil has given a reason for many debates, research, arguments, discussions and even research work to many. To many nothing has really changed, in fact to them, we might be looking at something more serious in 2015. The question that is important is whether there is any truth to the occurrence of second financial crisis or are we just in denial?
2015 will be a year that will test many emerging economies like Brazil, Russia and China. Advanced countries will take measures to revive past growths and try to remain in the race. Low oil prices will lower inflation in many economies but will raise concerns in many others.
During the US financial crisis, many economists and countries across the globe reacted negatively to the revival of United States economy. Beginning of 2007, saw the ascent of a crisis that was one of the longest and biggest in the history of economic failures. The ripple effect of the crisis could not be measured since economists back in US were still trying to figure out why early actions had not been made and how central bank failed to predict something so big. Many articles flooded the internet mostly focussing on ‘ Sub-prime Mortgage’, ‘Securitization’ and failures of the US central banking system.
Analysts found a new topic for debate and those who had been waiting to point fingers on Wall Street and the biggies in US, finally got a chance to do so! People compared these to previous bubbles that had been burst and research students found a new PHD topic with various hypotheses!
In 2008, countries like France, Germany and a few European countries were relieved about the fact that they had not faced the music of the US meltdown and it was reaping what it had been sowing. Little did they know that such crises take a while to gain momentum and the slow poison can be damaging for their own economies. In 2008, German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück declared the US to be the source of the crisis. In a speech to the German parliament Steinbrück declared, “The world will never be the same … the US will lose its status as the superpower of the global financial system.”
In view of the expected effects of a serious recession, the governments of Germany and France saw value in putting some distance between themselves and Wall Street. “America is experiencing a decline in its power, and the financial crisis is only one indication of this. Europe must take on more responsibility,” began a column by Joschka Fischer, the former German foreign minister in 2008. On the US financial crisis on 27th August, 2008 President Sarkozy in his UN speech mentioned that even though the main epicenters of previous financial crises were the emerging countries, the very heart of world capitalism is being hit. He focussed that everything needed to be done at the EU level to promote the growth of the European economy. He spoke of reestablishing confidence by consolidating the European financial sector by strengthening the transparency, responsibility and oversight. The aim was that the EU will make the most effective contribution to the effort that must be pursued more broadly with its partners to correct the shortcomings and deficiencies of the international financial system. This was one of the reactions by Europe after US financial system fell apart in 2008.
In 2013 , Euro had a different tale to tell. Failure of big banks, austerity packages, bailouts, crashing of stock markets and even talks of Euro zone falling apart were witnessed. Large labour unions could have saved Eurozone but unemployment rate is on the rise and making matters worse than before.The unemployment rate in Euro zone has risen from to 12.2% for April, according to Eurostat, the statistics office of the EU. At 24.4%, youth unemployment was double the wider jobless rate and up from 24.3% in March.Protesters who picketed the European Central Bank on Friday , 31st May 2013, are planning a second day of action across European cities as anger grows over austerity measures that many blame for taking eurozone unemployment to an all-time high.¹ Germany and Austria have the strongest economies in Europe by some margin, but there are structural reasons the rates are low too,” said Gary Browning, chief executive of Penna, a global human resources group. While this happens, Cyprus is waiting for a miracle to happen but the uncertainty for such a miracle makes matters worst.The impact of austerity is greater when countries in Eurozone have limited scope to offset the impact of tighter fiscal policy by cutting interest rates, and when a large number of countries are cutting back at the same time.This explains why the IMF – spurred on by an Obama regime deeply troubled by the depression in the eurozone – has been advising member governments to ease up.
Combination of recession, social unrest and political necessity is a reminder of the situations faced in United States and Germany in the early stages of Great Depression.The mistakes made in Europe has been a failure to loosen monetary policy aggressively enough and a tightening of fiscal policy during recession. The Eurozone is doing all it takes to save the single currency and in doing so this one objective can drown the various economies of the Eurozone’s member countries.The case needs to be made, and explained to the public – as economist Paul Krugman recently did for Cyprus – that years of mass unemployment are too high a price to pay for keeping the euro.
© 2013 Deena Zaidi. All rights reserved.