Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Quick Note On Spain And The ECB

I'm still fighting laptop problems, so this is a bit condensed.

Clicking around the Interweb Tubes, this is what seems to be happening in Spain right now:
  1. The European Central Bank is printing money.

  2. Spanish banks are borrowing this money at 0% interest.

  3. Spanish banks are using the money to buy Spanish government bonds at about 6%. Free profit*!

  4. The Spanish government is operating with a substantial budget deficit, so it issues still more bonds.

  5. Return to #1.
Nowhere in this cycle is anything resembling production of goods or services. It's simply the printing of money to support government services. Since inflation is still at an acceptable level, it appears that this can go on off into the future with no problems. Everyone in charge remains anesthetized to the only possible end result. Inflation and crash.

It's not like this hasn't been tried before.

* - The free profit is not without risk. As the holders of Greek bonds discovered, when the nation defaults, they're totally hosed. It tells you all you need to know about the economy of Spain that the banks would rather buy government bonds which they know will end badly than loan it to Spanish businesses.


Jeff Burton said...

Those monopoly money notes are available on ebay for a nominal sum. They make great conversation starters.

K T Cat said...


tim eisele said...

My wife has been collecting hideously-inflated banknotes lately. In addition to the perennial-favorite Zimbabwe notes, she has a bunch from North Korea, too. The North Korean set is now mounted in one of those picture frames that sandwiches the notes between two sheets of glass, so it can be just flipped over to look at the other side.

The frame was not expensive, but I think she probably still spent many times more on it than the bills it contains are worth.

K T Cat said...

I didn't know you could buy NK notes. Way cool!

Houston (aka) Tots said...

I heard a guy on Cavuto's show say Spain and Italy had about 3 to 4 years left before they defaulted.

With Greece owned by Soros-like people, I wonder what the new Europe will look like?