The Greek transfer problem
THE MACROECONOMIC challenge facing Greece in 2010 was side-stepped from the start—driving, in turn, policy missteps.
Figure 3 highlights the truly extraordinary non-resident purchases of Greek government debt—capital inflows—during the decade from 1999. The left chart uses the Bank of Greece’s excellent flow of funds data—recorded at market value of transactions—to track the 4-quarter sum of non-resident and resident purchases of Greek debt. It also shows the fiscal balance throughout. Continue reading “Fixing Greece: Part II”
WITNESS, IF YOU WILL, the resurrection of the Greeks. Disbursement of €7.7 billion on 7th July by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), with another €0.8 billion soon to follow, and an “Agreement in Principle” International Monetary Fund (IMF) precautionary arrangement, has brought Greece to life once more—and deservedly so.
The Greek government bond (GGB) 10-year yield at roughly 5½ percent sits close to post-crisis lows. The Tsipras government has returned to markets with a five-year bond with 4.635 percent coupon, below that attained by the previous administration in 2014. SYRIZA can be forgiven for eyeing program exit. Continue reading “Fixing Greece: Part I”
IT’S PERHAPS the greatest irony of all: just as euro area crisis appears consigned to history, should the European Central Bank (ECB) meet its 2 percent inflation target peripheral stress could return!
How so? In short: rapid unwinding of the ECB’s Asset Purchase Program (APP) due to building inflation pressure would rekindle balance of payments pressures in TARGET2 (T2) debit countries—triggering a rise in yields, slowdown in growth, and fears once more for debt sustainability. Continue reading “The ECB’s TARGET2 challenge”
THE SPECTACULAR increase in Germany’s external current account balance since the millennium—from €37 billion deficit in 2000 (-1¾ percent of GDP) to €263 billion surplus as of 2017Q1 (+8¼ percent)—has caught the eye of commentators and policymakers alike in recent years. Continue reading “Germany’s current account and global adjustment”