Monday, June 4, 2012

Europe's Core / Periphery Imbalances Going Parabolic

George Soros' recent speech on what created the Euro bubble (and how it will need to play out) is making the rounds (although he deleted the speech from his personal site for some reason, a pdf version is here). While I strongly suggest reading the whole thing, a key takeaway is that:
The authorities didn’t understand the nature of the euro crisis; they thought it is a fiscal problem while it is more of a banking problem and a problem of competitiveness.
The result is that the issues have not been addressed and problems have only gotten worse.
The real economy of the eurozone is declining while Germany is still booming. This means that the divergence is getting wider. The political and social dynamics are also working toward disintegration. Public opinion as expressed in recent election results is increasingly opposed to austerity and this trend is likely to grow until the policy is reversed. So something has to give.
Which can be easily seen in a variety of metrics, including unemployment which is shown in the below chart and is simply unbelievable. It shows the current unemployment rate of Spain (currently an unreal 24.3%) divided by Germany's (less than half 2005's level at 5.4%) going back to 2000. It was only 5 years ago that Spanish unemployment was actually lower than Germany's (though that employment coincided with a massive housing bubble in Spain funded by cheap German financing from excess German savings).



Source: Eurostat