quinta-feira, 4 de agosto de 2011

Can the Euro Area Hit the Rewind Button? - Barry Eichengreen

Num artigo do passado dia 23 de Julho,  Eichengreen considera que a criação do euro foi um gigantesco erro: "Creating a single currency without also creating a single bank regulator, an emergency lender, and a credible set of fiscal rules gave Europe a common monetary house without a foundation. Europe acquired shiny coins and elegant banknotes but not the other elements of a workable monetary union. The need for these other elements may have been understood, but the national governments participating in the monetary union refused to cede sovereignty over their banking, financial and fiscal policies. Now they are paying the price." que foi agravado pela opção por uma união monetária "not limited to Northern Europe but including also the “Club Med countries”: Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. How anyone could have expected these highly indebted, deficit prone countries to cohabit monetarily with their fiscally rigorous Northern European neighbors was never clear. Some policy makers presumably imagined that the Southern European countries would magically acquire Northern European habits. Or that, blessed with hard money, they would grow so fast that their heavy debt loads would disappear. As recent events remind us, such hopes were less than realistic."

Mas, explica as razões porque se trata de um processo irreversível, chamado a atenção para que, por exemplo, no caso de uma possível reintrodução do dracma "It would not require a Ph.D. in economics to understand that the savings of Greek residents were about to be converted into drachmas that would soon lose value against the euro. Investors would thus respond by transferring their Greek bank deposits to Germany. All of them. On the first minute that word got out that the government was discussing the possibility. Investors would sell their Greek stocks and bonds, for the same reason. This would be a full-fledged financial panic. It would be a full-out bank run. It would be the mother of all financial crises. Greece would have to close down its banking system until order was restored. It would have to suspend trading on its financial markets. It would probably have to seal its borders to prevent residents from ferrying cash out of the country. Being forced to take these steps would not exactly enhance the reputation of the politicians forced to take these emergency actions as a result of their own prior discussions. All this could be avoided, you might say, if the decision was taken in secret and announced as a fait accompli. Residents would wake up one morning and be told that their euro stocks, bonds, cash and bank deposits had all been converted into drachma. End of story. But it is not a plausible story."

E mesmo o cenário de uma saída da Alemanha do euro seria igualmente traumático pois "German exports would be smashed when the deutschemark went through the roof against the currency of the country’s European neighbors", e mais importante "a move to reintroduce the [DM] would create massive financial crises in other European countries, as individuals there shifted their bank deposits en masse to Frankfurt. More financial crises in other European countries are of course the last thing that German business wants. This is why Germany will, in the end, swallow hard and agree to the higher taxes and transfers to other weaker countries needed to make the monetary union work. It will not do so happily. It will not do so all at once. But it will do so eventually because there is no more attractive alternative." Uma crise financeira que (acrescento eu) seria potenciada pelos problemas de balanceamento dos activos e passivos financeiros internacionais que lançaria o caos no sistema financeiro e de pagamentos.

Concluindo que a Europa não tem outra opção a não ser fazer com que o euro funcione!

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