Is Greece a Prime-A Credit?

Its 9:40am in Greece on Sunday, Feb 12. Today should be a big day as its up to parliament to vote on the proposed bail-out package. This post attempts to put things in perspective … First, some facts: Fact 1: Greece is not a poor country. Despite five years of contraction its GDP per capita […]

Saying ‘NO’ in Asia…

Asian cultures value relationships very highly and so it is very difficult to say ‘no’ to a friend. For this reason, negative sentiments are generally communicated indirectly so as not to embarrass those seeking assistance. This way, the original request can be politely withdrawn. The Japanese are experts at this. The word ‘chigiomasu’ means ‘different’ […]

Red Packets Between Hu and Merkel?

Its the Year of the Dragon and Angela Merkel is off to Beijing. It is traditional at this time of year to give Ang Poh (a red packet) filled with money to those less well off. So who will receive the fattest cheque? Merkel’s mission is to convince Mr Hu to forgive Greece its debts […]

Greek Officials Used to be Indecisive, But Now They Are Not So Sure

In an earlier post (Dec 13, 2011) I argued that Greece was in no position to bargain with the banks voluntarily forgiving them debt. If they did, the banks would likely walk away. Well, the Greek Government is trying to bargain and guess what? The banks are walking away… What’s going on? First, there is […]

In or Out of the Euro?…It Doesn’t Matter!

Back in 1999 I wrote that the proposed Euro-system simply changed the unit of account and would have no significant impact on Euroland growth. Ultimately, I argued, it would be structural factors such as education and technology, and fiscal relations such as taxes and government borrowing, that would determine the winners and losers from the […]

Autarky For One and All For Autarky!

‘Autarky’ is the Greek word describing an economy that is self sufficient. There is no trade, no sharing of technology or knowledge, no access to foreign capital for development. Autarky is used in economic theory as the ‘worst case’ scenario from which gigantic economic advances can be made by opening the borders to trade. Famous […]

Fiscal Integration is a State of Mind…

Does the EU need to change their Treaties to achieve fiscal integration and control? Judging by the reports from the recent Summit much debate surrounded the legality and sovereignty issues. This is a sideshow. The EU does not need a slew of referenda and laws to reign in spending … all it needs is for […]

The EU’s Short Term ‘Money Grab’ … But Will they Bear the Cost in the Long Term?

The basic issue in Europe is that Governments have borrowed to consume yesterday and now they need to find someone to pay today. Why not pass the parcel to the Banks? After all, they are used to corporate debt writedowns, and a Sovereign is just the same, right? Not exactly … There are three steps […]

The EFSF Opens for Business … But Will it Make a Profit?

Come next Friday October 14, Malta, the final European state to approve the EUR 440B European Financial Stability Fund, will have given their assent. This is no mean feat – organising and winning approval from 17 separate parliaments in three months is quite an accomplishment. The EFSF will be open for business … What should […]

Beware the IMF

While the IMF speaks with the gravity of a government organisation, it must be remembered that they are essentially a commercial operation servicing governments. Beware their rhetoric… A case in point was last week when a spokesman warned the Greek debt swap would fail without 100% private sector participation (not including the IMF of course!). […]