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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Roubini : Europe Risks irreversible Balkanization of the Banking System and Financial Markets

Nouriel Roubini : Thus, Germany and the eurozone core have increasingly outsourced official financing of the eurozone’s distressed members to the ECB. If Italy and Spain are illiquid but solvent, and large-scale financing provides enough time for austerity and economic reforms to restore debt sustainability, competitiveness, and growth, the current strategy will work and the eurozone will survive. In the process, some form of fiscal and banking union may also emerge, together with some progress on political integration. But, however important the fiscal and banking union elements of this process may be, the key is whether large-scale financing and gradual adjustments can restore sustainable growth in time. This will require considerable patience from governments and publics in the core and periphery alike – in the former to maintain large-scale financing, and in the latter to avoid a social and political backlash against years of painful contraction and loss of welfare. Is this scenario plausible? Just consider what must be overcome: economic divergence and deepening recessions; irreversible balkanization of the banking system and financial markets; unsustainable debt burdens for public and private agents; daunting growth and balance-sheet costs in countries that pursue internal devaluation and deflation to restore competitiveness; asymmetrical adjustment, with moral-hazard risks in the core and insufficient financing in the periphery fueling incompatible political dynamics; fickle and impatient markets and investors; austerity fatigue in the periphery and bailout fatigue in the core; the absence of conditions for an optimal currency area; and serious difficulties in achieving full fiscal, banking, economic, and political union. - in Project-syndicate
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