sábado, 18 de junho de 2011

Ler os Outros: Sobre a Grécia

Dois excelentes artigos sobre a situação na Grécia.

No primeiro artigo, publicado no WSJ, os Professores John Cochrane e Anil Kashyap referem a propósito da proposta alemã de que os bancos que "the only way to get banks to "voluntarily" roll over the debt is by letting them carry the debt at artificial "hold to maturity" valuations, which leaves the danger to the financial system" defendendo que "Sovereign debt and sovereign exposure must face large capital buffers. Sovereign debt must be marked to market. Banks must run serious stress tests to find implicit sovereign exposure. Banks with inadequate capital must raise it, find buyers, or reorganize. If that means bailouts of "systemically important" banks, then governments must do so, face their taxpayers, and make their regulators explain how they let this happen." como forma de expurgar os receios de uma nova crise financeira.

O segundo é um artigo publicado no Telegraph e que explica de forma bastante didática o que está em causa na Grécia, cuja leitura integral recomendo mas do qual, numa altura em que Sarkozy e Merkel terão já chegado a um acordo para "salvar a Grécia", saliento a resposta a três questões fulcrais:

"Q Will a second rescue package work?
If by work you mean bring Greece back to financial health, giving it time to recover economically and to repay everyone from whom it borrowed money, almost certainly not. A more realistic aspiration is that it gives European leaders time to consider how best to tackle the inherent problems facing the country and, more broadly, the euro project.

Q Are people right to say this could be the next Lehman's?
It certainly could. As is the case in every country, Greek banks' balance sheets are heavily invested in the country's government debt. Should that debt suddenly be worth half its face value, the Greek banking system would become insolvent overnight. This, in turn, would trigger major losses for some of Europe's biggest banks, some of which, particularly in France and Germany, are perilously undercapitalised. This threat may explain the ECB's reluctance to countenance even a soft default.

Q Does the Greek situation make the collapse of the euro inevitable?
It raises major existential questions for the euro project – and not merely because the straitjacket of euro membership has so limited Greece's options in responding to the crisis. The major counter-argument to the euro was that it is impossible to have a currency union without a fiscal union. In other words, without a central authority with the power to tax and spend, it is impossible to get an area as large as the eurozone pulling in the same economic direction. And that was what came to pass: over the past decade and a half, Greece and many Mediterranean neighbours (not to mention Ireland) have borrowed and spent too much while Germany has saved too much. The idea that such divergent economies could issue currency that was supposedly worth precisely the same value everywhere is unfeasible.

It is difficult, in economic terms at least, to imagine the euro surviving in its current state – particularly because Greece's problems are shared by other countries. Granted, the euro is a political project. But the scale of anger in Berlin at the prospect of having to transfer billions to its Mediterranean neighbours purely to safeguard the euro project is such that it makes stark the question of whether there really is the public will to keep it alive."

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