Ευρωομόλογα: Αν η Γερμανία “δίνει λεφτά στην Ελλάδα”, τότε…γιατί δε δίνει; Η ευρωζώνη θα διασπαστεί;

Με τα χρέη των κρατών και τα δανεικά των τραπεζών να έχουν έρθει “στο επίκεντρο της προσοχής” από το 2008 και μετά, έχει αναπτυχθεί και μια φημολογία ότι “η Γερμανία δίνει λεφτά την Ελλάδα”. Στην πραγματικότητα βέβαια, τα λεφτά αυτά καταλήγουν για τη διάσωση των χρεοκοπημένων τραπεζικών συστημάτων όλων των χωρών (και της Γερμανίας), αλλά και για να συνεχίσουν να κερδοσκοπούν οι γερμανικές, γαλλικές, κτλ τράπεζες με το κρατικό χρέος, ειδικά των πιο αδύναμων κρατών, και όχι βέβαια για να βοηθηθεί γενικά και αόριστα “η Ελλάδα”.

Οι περισσότεροι θα έχουν ήδη πληροφορηθεί την άρνηση της Γερμανίας στην έκδοση ευρωομολόγων, που ήρθε αρκετά έντονα στην επιφάνεια τις τελευταίες μέρες. Η άρνηση αυτή βέβαια δεν είναι καινούργιο φαινόμενο – αντίθετα από την αρχή της κρίσης υπάρχουν φωνές για έκδοση κοινού ευρωομόλογου, τις οποίες συστηματικά απορρίπτει η Γερμανία (δείτε πχ ένα άρθρο από τις 03/02/2009 επί του θέματος).

Πλέον μάλιστα και η Γαλλία αρνείται επίσης την έκδοση κοινού ευρωομόλογου.

Γιατί όμως; Αφού αυτοί έτσι και αλλιώς κουμαντάρουν όλες τις χώρες της ευρωζώνης, προτεκτορατοποιώντας τες τη μία μετά την άλλη.

Γιατί λοιπόν οι χώρες αυτές είναι οι μόνες που αντιδρούν στο να δημιουργηθεί κοινό ευρωομόλογο, μια κίνηση δηλαδή που παραπέμπει ευθέως στη δημιουργία ενός “υπερεθνικού κράτους” (Αυτοκρατορία), όταν οι μικροτερες χώρες, πάνω στην απελπισία τους λόγω των χρεών, ζητούν το ευρωομόλογο αυτό;

Η απάντηση είναι διότι έτσι ΟΝΤΩΣ θα έδιναν λεφτά στις μικρότερες χώρες (σε αντίθεση με αυτό που γίνεται τώρα, όπου κερδοσκοπούν εις βάρος τους και τις προτεκτορατοποιούν, και το παρουσιάζουν και ως “βοήθεια προς την Ελλάδα/Ιρλανδία/Πορτογαλία/Ισπανία, κτλ” κι από πάνω).

Συγκεκριμένα, τα ομόλογα εκδίδονται από τα κράτη για να δανειστούν χρήματα. Το επιτόκιο δανεισμού εξαρτάται από μια σειρά παραγόντων, πχ σχετίζονται με την ικανότητα του κάθε κράτους να αποπληρώσει το δάνειο + τους τόκους. Για παράδειγμα, αν ένα κράτος έχει μεγάλο χρέος, ή/και μικρή παραγωγική βάση (και άρα μικρή ικανότητα παραγωγής πλούτου), τότε θα έχει υψηλά επιτόκια, διότι οι δανειστές δεν τον εμπιστεύονται και πολύ ότι θα είναι σε θέση να τους δώσει όντως όλα τα λεφτά + τους τόκους (και γι’ αυτό ζητούν μεγαλύτερο τόκο!).

Έτσι, κράτη όπως η Γερμανία δανείζονται με μικρό τόκο, ενώ ακόμα και η Ιαπωνία που έχει μεγάλο χρέος δανείζεται σχετικά φτηνά, κυρίως διότι έχει αρκετά μεγάλη παραγωγική βάση, και άρα υπάρχει μια σχετικά μεγάλη εμπιστοσύνη (ορθώς ή μη) ότι θα πληρώσει και το δάνειο και -κυρίως- τους τόκους (οι τόκοι είναι το ζήτημα, τα δάνεια αποπληρώνονται στο πολλαπλάσιο εξαιτίας των τόκων που εισπράττουν οι παρασιτικοί τοκογλύφοι που λέγονται “πιστωτές”).

Αντίθετα, κράτη όπως η Ελλάδα και τα PIIGS δανείζονται με μεγάλα επιτόκια.

Αν λοιπόν εκδοθεί ευρωομόλογο, τότε αυτό το ομόλογο θα έχει επιτόκιο έναν “μέσο όρο” από το επιτόκιο δανεισμού της Γερμανίας και της Γαλλίας, αλλά και της Ελλάδας, της Ιρλανδίας, κτλ. Αυτό σημαίνει πως η Ελλάδα θα δανείζεται πιο φτηνά απ’ ότι τώρα, ενώ η Γερμανία πιο ακριβά. Με άλλα λόγια, η Γερμανία θα επιδοτεί, εμμέσως πλην σαφώς, κράτη όπως η Ελλάδα. “Θα τους δίνει λεφτά”.

Και επειδή όντως θα τα επιδοτεί, και δε θα επιδοτεί τα δικά της συμφέροντα όπως συμβαίνει τώρα, η Γερμανία-Γαλλία αντιδρά και δεν το δέχεται, δυναμιτίζοντας την ευρωζώνη. Εδώ και η σχετική “ατάκα” από το άρθρο της “Καθημερινής” που δώσαμε παραπάνω:

Όπως η Γερμανία, έτσι και η Γαλλία δεν θέλει να επιφορτισθεί μεγαλύτερο βάρος επιτοκίων, το οποίο θα κάνει ευνοϊκά τα επιτόκια για χώρες που σήμερα αναχρηματοδοτούν το χρέος τους.

Όλοι οι γραφειοκράτες των Βρυξελλών (Γιούνκερ, κτλ) θέλουν τα ευρωομόλογα, προκειμένου να κρατήσουν μακρυά από την επίσημη κήρυξη χρεωκοπίας τα PIIGS για όσο περισσότερο μπορούν, και να διατηρήσουν την ευρωζώνη και τις τράπεζες της ζωντανές. Αλλά και να διατηρήσουν και τις δουλειές τους, καθώς αν διαλυθεί η ΕΕ, αυτοί θα ψάχνουν για δουλειά (αν και κάτι θα βρεθεί για τόσο γνωστά παράσιτα όπως αυτοί…).

Το Βερολίνο όμως τι λέει; Προς το παρόν, οι κινητοποήσεις και οι φωνές που προκαλεί δεν το τρομάζουν, και συνεχίζει με την ευρωζώνη, από την οποία τόσο και τόσο έχει ευνοηθεί. Μάλιστα, ετοιμάζεται να βάλει και το Weber, το Γερμανό κεντρικό τραπεζίτη στη θέση του Τρισέ ως πρόεδρος της ΕΚΤ.

Εν ανάγκη βέβαια, τα σενάρια δίνουν και παίρνουν,και πλέον αυτό που λέγαμε για έξοδο της Γερμανίας από το ευρώ, ή αποβολή μελών ώστε να σταθεροποιηθεί το νόμισμα, ακούγεται περισσότερο, έστω και αν προς το παρόν είναι “μπλόφα” που χρησιμοποιεί η Γερμανία για να περάσει το δικό της.

Το Economist αφιερώνει ένα άρθρο του στο ενδεχόμενο εξόδου μιας χώρας από την ευρωζώνη, πάντα από τη σκοπιά της άρχουσας τάξης, και μας λέει τα εξής:

Breaking up the euro area
How to resign from the club

euro is to regain the monetary independence it sacrificed on joining and to set monetary policy to suit its own economic conditions. This could apply to the strong as well as the weak. Germans may long to have the Bundesbank in charge again. It would surely not take risks with long-term inflation, by keeping liquidity lines open to weak foreign banks, or with its political independence, by buying government bonds. And given the strength of the German economy, it might raise interest rates soon.

As it is, the European Central Bank (ECB), though based in Germany and modelled on the pre-euro Bundesbank, has had to react to the economic and financial weaknesses of the rest of the euro zone in ways that Germans do not like. Add to this taxpayers’ disgust at having to stand behind the public debts of less thrifty countries, and the idea of abandoning the euro looks enticing to some Germans. That appeal might extend to countries, such as Austria and Netherlands, with strong economic ties to Germany. They might prefer to join a new D-mark block than to stay with the euro, were Germany to leave.

Weak economies might also hanker for a monetary policy tailored to their own needs. The euro may have abolished market-based nominal exchange rates but it has led to marked divergences in real exchange rates (see chart). Consumer prices in peripheral countries have risen at a faster rate than in Germany since the start of the euro in 1999. So have wages, making it hard for firms in those countries to compete with Germany in foreign markets and with low-cost imports from Asia in their home markets. Leaving the euro would allow Italy, Spain and the rest to devalue and bring their wage costs into line with workers’ productivity.

How could this be done? Introducing a new currency would be difficult but not impossible. A government could simply pass a law saying that the wages of public workers, welfare cheques and government debts would henceforth be paid in a new currency, converted at an official fixed rate. Such legislation would also require all other financial dealings—private-sector pay, mortgages, stock prices, bank loans and so on—to be switched to the new currency.

The changeover would have to be swift and complete to limit financial chaos. Bank deposits would have to be converted at the same time, and the same rate, as overdrafts and mortgages to keep the value of banks’ debts in line with their assets. When Argentina broke its peg with the dollar in 2001, it decreed that bank deposits should be switched at a more favourable exchange rate than loans, in an effort to appease savers. This imposed losses on an already crippled banking system, and led to a sharp contraction in domestic credit.

The central bank would have to distribute new notes and coins fast. It would also have to set interest rates, and would need a lodestar, probably an inflation target, to guide it. Whatever the official exchange rate at a changeover, the new currency would quickly find a market level against the euro and other currencies. A new D-mark would be expected to rise against the now-abandoned euro; a new drachma or punt would trade at a big discount to its official changeover rate—a devaluation, in effect.

The switch to the euro was smooth, but it was planned for years in great detail and in co-operation among countries. The reverse operation would be far messier. The mere prospect of euro break-up could cause bank runs in weak economies as depositors scrambled to move savings abroad to avoid forced conversion. If Germany were the leaver, it would face an inward flood.

To prevent such a drain, a weak country thinking of leaving the euro would have to impose caps on bank withdrawals, other forms of capital controls, and perhaps even restrictions on foreign travel. That might not work in a region as integrated as Europe—and if it did it would depress the economy by limiting the circulation of cash for commerce. It would also cut the country off from foreign credit, because foreign firms and banks would fear that their money would be trapped. Trade would suffer badly, at least for a while.

A departing country would also have to prepare for legal challenges. A change in the currency in both weak and strong countries would impose devastating losses on businesses and depositors at home and abroad. Savers who could not get their money out of banks before its forced conversion would not be happy to be paid in a devalued currency. Many would sue, as happened in Argentina. The legal uncertainty would further hamper the banks, which would be loth to extend credit for fear they might yet be forced to make depositors whole.

Foreign banks and pension funds holding weak economies’ euro-denominated government bonds would suffer an effective default. They might sue, too. A sovereign might expect to win its legal battles if it drafted its conversion laws well and if it could assert the primacy of its law over European law. But the European dimension would at the very least mean that costly legal battles would drag on.

All the while a government seeking to replace the euro with a devalued currency could scarcely rely on bond sales to finance its operations. But such a country would have long been cut off from capital markets anyway. The prospect of monetary independence would give it new options. In the run-up to passing a conversion law, the government could pay some of its bills, including wages, by issuing small-denomination IOUs, which could be traded for goods and services. These would form a proto-currency that would trade at a discount to the remaining euros in circulation—a shadow price of the devaluation to come. Since the money supply would be shrinking fast, as euro deposits fled the country, this sort of paper would be accepted readily. Scrip issued by the province of Buenos Aires circulated freely months before Argentina’s dollar peg broke.

Germany would be in a happier position. Should it opt to leave, it would have an incentive not to convert its stock of euro-denominated debts to claims in a new, stronger currency. It could instead choose to repay those depreciating debts over time. Rather than invite legal disputes, however, it might instead go for a comprehensive conversion and keep balance-sheets straight. Germany would in any case be able to issue cheap debt in the run-up to conversion. A rush out of euros into German assets in anticipation of revaluation would drive up the prices of Bunds—conceivably to a point where the interest rates on them were negative.

Even so, Germany would face costs it could not control. A new D-mark would surely rise steeply, harming the country’s exporters. Exit from the euro area would deplete its customers in the rest of the zone of the cash and credit needed to buy German goods. As a big creditor, it holds lots of assets elsewhere in the zone. The value of these would plummet in new D-marks, and a contraction in credit in the rump of the euro zone would mean that the value of assets, including businesses that might otherwise have survived, would be destroyed. Germany would no longer be able to influence the euro area’s monetary policy. It could not prevent the ECB from stoking inflation, which would undermine the real value of German loans made to euro-zone banks, businesses and governments.

A determined country could leave the euro and establish its own currency again: nothing is truly irreversible for a sovereign nation. But even the most wilful and powerful state could not fully control the banking chaos and social unrest that a forced currency conversion would unleash. It would be a curious decision for Germany to seek to abandon the euro in search of greater monetary and fiscal stability. It would first have to endure a long period of financial disarray.

Is it worth it?

Countries at the euro zone’s periphery that face years of austerity and high unemployment inside the euro may find it harder to believe that things could be much worse if they left. A devaluation would spare them the grinding wage deflation needed to price the unemployed back into work (though it would not address the economic weaknesses that lie behind poor competitiveness). The spectre of bank runs, high funding costs, default and social unrest might not seem so scary in today’s conditions: some countries are already vulnerable to these. Efforts to ameliorate these problems have so far proved inadequate (see article).

Therein lies the danger for the euro.

Στο BusinessInsider βρίσκουμε μια ανάλυση του PragmaticCapitalist, η οποία αναλύει το γιατί η Γερμανία είναι ο μεγάλος κερδισμένος της ευρωζώνης (καθώς είναι η μόνη που αντέχει το ισχυρό ευρώ, και άρα διέλυσε την παραγωγική βάση των άλλων χωρών, που δε μπορούν να υποτιμήσουν για να παραμείνουν ανταγωνιστικές, και έτσι επιχειρήσεις κλείνουν ή μεταναστεύουν για αλλού, ενώ παράλληλα η Γερμανία έχει εξασφαλισμένους “πελάτες” για τις εξαγωγές της):

Here’s The Real Reason Germany Won’t Abandon The Euro

There have been rumors lately that Germany has raised the possibility that they might leave the Euro. But like most of the talk coming out of Berlin in recent months it’s just that – talk. After all, why in the world would Germany ever want to leave this currency union? Although inherently flawed, there is always a great winner in single currency systems. In this case it is undoubtedly Germany. They have their lowest unemployment rate in 18 years, a booming economy, zero inflation, a monopoly on the export market in Europe and total control over the ECB.

Although their enviable position in the Eurozone (as the primary trade surplus nation) is highly favorable there are other reasons for Germany to fight for the Euro’s survival. They have a vested interested in making sure that the periphery nations do not default on debt that is held largely by German bankers. In addition, the Euro project is largely a creature of the German political regime. As I’ve frequently mentioned there is simply too much political will invested in the Euro thus far to allow it to unravel.

Those are the primary three reasons why Germany will not abandon the Euro. They have benefited enormously at the expense of the periphery nations. Germany will talk tough, but do everything in their power to ensure that this German prosperity continues. The biggest risk to the Euro and Germany is that the periphery nations begin to revolt against their German bankers & their ECB. Thus far the Germans have played their cards well. They have convinced the periphery nations that austerity is good for them and that Europe is here to help them.

Make no mistake. Germany will do everything in its power to keep the poor on their knees. After all, in a single currency system there must always be a winner and loser. Germany knows they are the winner and they will do everything they can to ensure the losers never realize this.

Όσο για το ποιος θα βάλει τα λεφτά για τα νέα “πακέτα σωτηρίας” των ευρωπαικών τραπεζών, καθώς ακόμα και το ΔΝΤ έχει αρχίσει να στερεύει από πόρους, η FED, η κεντρική τράπεζα των ΗΠΑ έχει έτοιμες τις ορδές των εκτυπωτών της – άλλωστε ήδη έχει δώσει πληθωριστικό χρήμα σε τράπεζες των ΗΠΑ, της Ευρώπης, σε επιχειρήσεις όπως η General Motors και τα McDonalds, κτλ. Και επειδή όλα είναι συνδεδεμένα μεταξύ τους, αν ένα ντόμινο πέσει, τότε θα παρασύρει και τα υπόλοιπα. Οπότε το δολάριο πάει για μαζικές υποτιμήσεις:

The US official may not be discussing it openly, but Fed figures show that the US central banks is already bailing out foreigners. Reports tell us that 35 foreign banks took advantage of its EZ money policies. It appears that the Fed is supporting Europe’s banking sector.

And it would not be surprising if the US also backed the IMF. It’s not just the banks that are in trouble in Europe. Governments are deep in debt too. They are so intertwined, that it’s hard to know where private debt ends and public debt begins.

Americans may see the dollar rising against the euro and feel a little patriotic pride. But this is not a good thing for Americans. If Europe comes unhinged, the crisis will waste no time in hitting American banks and the US economy. Ben Bernanke has been trying to get the dollar to go down. A rising greenback makes Germany’s products less expensive and US exports less competitive. It contributes to the threat of deflation…and encourages a long, drawn-out Japanese-style slump by prompting people to save, rather than spend.

Not only that, collapse of European economies would kill world trade. Exporters would be out of business. Importers would be out of money. The whole planet would be out of luck. The crisis would make its way around the world like a giant tsunami…wiping out stock markets immediately…and then swamping almost all economies.

So, what’s going to happen? We wish you wouldn’t ask us questions like that, dear reader.

But we’ll take a guess.

The European situation is more dangerous than most Americans realize.

It could still melt down. US authorities must know this. And they must know too that if Europe melts down, so will the USA.

So, the rumors will probably turn out to be true. The US will back the IMF. The IMF will back Europe. Europe will back Ireland. Ireland will back its banks. And the banks will back their lenders.

Meanwhile, the euro will be backed by the dollar, which will also back the US economy, US banks, the US government, and about half the households in Christendom…not to mention the others!

Who’s got the kind of money you need to do all this backing?

Ah…there’s the rub… There’s the weak link in this strange and magical chain.

Let’s see, if all the world’s debts are guaranteed by paper money…isn’t the paper money itself impaired by the amount of the losses? Won’t the losses be passed along to dollar holders everywhere?

Yes. But, no one knows how much the losses are. And no one knows how much extra “stimulus” money the feds are going to put out. And no one knows when people will get scared and flee the dollar…the euro…and all paper currencies. And no one knows what a panic out of the dollar would produce. And no one wants to find out.

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