Monday, 13 December 2010

Spooking The Horses

There are times when a well intended policy can actually make matters worse. It seems to me that the European Stability Mechanism may be just one such policy. It is designed to ensure that the financial markets are operated in an orderly fashion in the face of one member of the Euro coming under pressure, but they may serve to de-stabilise the markets by being open to undue political pressure.
In future crises, the EU will require the crisis stricken member of the Euro to force losses on the existing bondholders before a bail out package would be approved. In the future, in the face of the certainty of a loss, what will those bondholders do? My guess is that they will dump the crisis stricken bonds at exactly the time when the Euro member state would want them bought. What will prospective buyers do? Sit on their hands until the price of the debt stops falling. As bond prices are the inverse to interest rates, of course rates are likely to rise.
However, as greater risk has been introduced to the system, it is quite likely that the system will become more volatile. Just as we want to quiet the horses, there go the politicians spooking them again. At least this will give rise to some good shorting opportunities in the medium term!
© The European Futures Observatory 2010
BBC News - EU to target private lenders in future bail-outs

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