Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Weird’s Deep Thoughts (Tuesday Morning Cosmic Insight Edition) The Best Sentence You'll Read About Ending The Eurozone Crisis All Day

A new note out from Citi's Steven Englander tries to assess the latest state of play with regardes to ECB bond buying, the Greek situation, and so forth, businessinsider's Joe Wiesental writes.  It's all solid, but the red highlighted line at the end is fantastic.

An article in Der Spiegel over the weekend discussed a potential ECB intervention to cap peripheral bond yields. A more recent report sent out overnight shifted gears in addressing how the Eurozone prevents contagion in the event of a Greek exit. Dealing with Greek exit could be the more pressing Eurozone issue, because contagion has to be stopped on the spot if Greece leaves, or tremendous damage will be done.  A couple of months of excess financing costs are not pleasant, but are not fatal either, as German policymakers have been at pains to point out.

The article raises three possibilities for dealing with Greek exit: 1) unlimited ECB buying, 2) an ESM banking license, and 3) Eurobonds.  The argument is that if Greece is exiting you need an unbeatable policy recipe to prevent contagion or else you end up with the kind of financial market panic that the US did when Lehman’s went bankrupt without adequate policy preparation for dealing with the aftermath. Nevertheless, as the article notes, each policy has side effects and can affect incentives in an undesirable way.

The big bazooka metaphor is wrong – the battle is not won by the biggest bazooka, but by the one that has unlimited ammunition.  Trust Weisenthal (and Weird) this is indeed the lesson of the crisis and the US banking one.

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