Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Last Phase

... of the Euro debt crisis would seem to be upon us.

When the jolt from 100B Euros has a lifespan of a couple of hours, you know the end is nigh. I can't see how this doesn't end with the ECB no longer loaning money, but simply giving it away for free. 0% loans with no due date could be the fig leaf for them, but in the end that's the way it's going to have to be unless the whole thing flies apart.

The other thought that occurred to me yesterday as the sugar rush from the Spanish not-quite-so-bailout turned into a massive hangover was the events were now moving faster than the European bureaucracies could react. Think about a hypothetical Angela Merkel schedule for yesterday. She wakes up and goes to the office. Spanish bonds are reacting nicely to the bailout. She goes to a cabinet meeting, but by the time she gets out, the Spanish rates are on their way back up. She makes a couple of phone calls and has a brief chat with her chief of staff and the Spanish bond rates are heading higher. By the time her photo op with some business leaders from Munich is over, the rout is on and Spanish rates are shooting well above 6%.

Remember, Angela doesn't actually do anything. In order for things to occur, members of the German bureaucracy have to write policies and regulations, alter budgets, issue white papers with alternative proposals, prepare briefings and negotiate with their counterparts across Europe. The forces of stability are slow.

The forces of entropy are fast. All an investor has to do is log on to his trading account and sell his stocks and bonds. I read somewhere that when it comes to financial crises, they always come upon you slower than you expected, but when they hit, they move much faster than you expected. After yesterday, it looks like we're entering the fast phase.

European governments moving at top speed. The GTI is Germany and the two Lamborghinis are France and Italy. The financial crisis is the F-15 overhead that blew by them going Mach 2.

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