Saturday, January 14, 2012

Well they would wouldn't they

Seems our EU overlords aren't particularly happy about credit ratings particularly after France, Italy, Spain, Portugal along with Cyprus. Austria, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia all had their credit ratings dropped a notch or two. This has to be particularly galling for the French (or should that be Gauling) who believed that the UK should have had its credit rating dropped before them, though I don't think they quite grasp how the UK economy works with a pound able to be devalued or revalued to deal with market fluctuations unlike the Euro which is locked into the strongest economy (Germany) and does not allow individual nations to devalue or default.

The EU's top economic official has criticised a decision by Standard and Poor's to downgrade the credit ratings of nine eurozone countries.
Economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said the move was "inconsistent" as the eurozone was taking "decisive action" to end the debt crisis.
Other senior European officials have also hit out the move.
The downgrade - which included stripping France of its top AAA rating - was announced on Friday.
Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal were cut two notches, with the latter two given "junk" ratings. Germany kept its AAA rating.
The thing that EU officials are forgetting is that you cannot buck the market and for every action there will be a reaction. As certain Eurozone countries took on more debt during boom years than they could pay back once their economies slowed. Those concerns led investors to demand astronomically high yields or interest rates to lend money to countries like Greece, Ireland and Portugal, eventually forcing those three to seek bailout loans, rather than rely on market financing. This situation has come home to roost as the markets realise that  some of the Eurozone countries cannot be trusted to pay back a loan because they're a poor credit risk due to overspending on their account. What Standard and Poor have done is looked at the economies of the affected countries and decided that there's a possibility that any bonds issued or loans taken might not be repaid at their full value, hence any monies loaned to that group will now have higher interest charges as they are a greater risk. This affects their ability to run their countries with the ruinous overspend on various things such as pensions, infrastructure etc. In a sense it's a way of saying you aren't doing enough, you can't be trusted.
As for the UK, well we're well enough off outside the Eurozone, though there's a possibility we'll be dragged under if it goes under, if only because our politicians don't quite grasp economic realities either. But at the moment our credit rating is safe enough, we may even get a boost as investors seek the security of British bonds.
What it does mean is that the Euro as such is doomed, it may survive as a Northern European currency, but sooner or later the Southern European states along with France and Ireland might just have to be cut loose to default on their debts. That's why they got downgraded, the market is rarely wrong about these things and is self correcting.
John Ward at The Slog explains exactly why it's happening.

1 annotations:

DerekP said...

I can't help feeling that there are some similarities or some link with your last post 'Reinforcing a culture of failure'.

I think bureaucrats
- having relatively free rein with public money
- drafting laws
- 'guiding' policy
- setting the regulations for enforcement of laws and policy
- creating the 'need' for more bureaucrats
- accountable only to other bureaucrats
are a massive drain on investment and prosperity, and destructive to our society and culture (which they are busy re-shaping, as 'they know best').