Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

Europe – The Weakest Link

Friday, February 15th, 2013

With the election, sequestration showdown and other pressing domestic news, we’ve hardly had time to think about Europe.  Yet the continent is as troubled as ever and is crying out for attention again.

Keep in mind that, in this era of a global economy, our fates are intertwined.  Europe and America are heavy trading partners and our multinational businesses are located throughout each other’s continent.  Our banks own European bonds.  So when Europe is in trouble, so is the U.S.

Well, Europe is in trouble.  We’d say “in trouble again,” but it’s never really gotten out of trouble; at least not since Greece triggered the sovereign debt crisis.  The popular British game show, “The Weakest Link,” could serve as a metaphor for the whole continent, except that what’s happening in Europe is not nearly as entertaining.

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Even Germany’s Credit Is Slipping

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Greece.  Italy.  Spain.  Ireland.  Even France has experienced a wavering credit rating.  But Germany?

Germany has been Europe’s voice of reason, a financial pillar among a creaky, malfunctioning continent with the financial foundation of a sand castle.

We previously asked whether Germany would have the stamina to lift up the rest of Europe or be dragged down by its bailout-addicted brethren.

One sign that Germany is being sucked into the European sinkhole is that Egan Jones just downgraded Germany’s credit rating from AA- to A+.  Granted, Greece is unlikely to see anything near an A+ rating in our lifetime, but for Germany, it’s a stumble, if not a fall from grace.

It’s not that Germany is being irresponsible.  It’s that its debtors are not paying up.  According to zerohedge.com, “Germany is owed EUR700B of which perhaps 50% is collectible … Germany’s debt to GDP was 87% as of 2011. However, increasing Germany’s debt by EUR700B to EUR2.9T for its indirect exposures raises the adjusted debt to GDP to 114%.”

We can only hope that it’s not a sign of things to come.  Yet, as an increasing number of European nations decide that they’ve had enough austerity, without so much as trimming a few vacation days, it’s unlikely that socialism will give way to pragmatism anytime soon.

In fact, Germany’s resistance to printing money as a way out of the sovereign debt crisis is increasingly making the country the odd man out in Europe, even though printing money is a sure path to hyperinflation.

Maybe Germany should leave the Eurozone instead of Greece.