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No Real Quick Fix Looms for European Crisis

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Tuesday, 11 Oct 2011 12:38 PM Current | Bio | Archive

I’m not participating in this moment of “desperate optimism.”

To me, the eurozone countries are still far away from getting their act together in a serious, honestly united, transparent, trustworthy and sustainable way.

Until that happens, if it ever happens at all, the eurozone generated solvency and liquidity crisis will continue to damage the rest of the financial world and remain a menace to global growth that could push most of the economically important economies into recession again.

Investors should keep in mind that there simply isn’t a quick solution to this EU crisis. The cause is very simple: Looking from hindsight, we must admit the euro project started on the wrong foot by aspiring for quantity and not quality. Worst of all, it didn’t respect nor applied its own “Maastricht Treaty” rules.

Jean-Claude Trichet, speaking in his capacity of chairman of the of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), said the world faces a systemic crisis of sovereign risk. “Over the past three weeks, the situation has continued to be very demanding. The crisis is systemic and must be tackled decisively,” he said. “We are the epicenter but it’s a challenge for all sovereign signatures.”

In this context, it could be somewhat enlightening to look at the composite leading indicators (CLIs) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that were released on Monday for August 2011. The OECD CLIs continue to point to a further slowdown in economic activity in most OECD countries and major non-member economies. The CLI for the OECD area fell 0.5 point in August, which is the fifth consecutive monthly decline.

The CLI for the United States is down to 102.2 from 102.8, NAFTA that stands for of Canada, Mexico, and the United States together is down to101.9 from 102.4; Germany is down to 101.9 from 102.9, the UK is down to100.4 from 100.9 and Russia is down to 103 from 103.4. They all point more strongly to a slowdown than in the month before, but are still above 100, indicating that economic activity remains above its long-term trend.

For all other major economies, except Japan (Japan remains at 104 since May), the CLIs are now below 100 hereby pointing strongly to a slowdown in economic activity below long term trend (Brazil down to 95 from 96.6; India down to 95.7 from 96.5; Italy down to 99.6 down from 100.3, etc.) The CLIs for the major five of Asia is down to 100.2 from 100.4.

Keeping it simple; I can’t find indications of a general economical expansion somewhere on the horizon. On the contrary, we are teetering on the brink of a global contraction and continue moving in that wrong direction.

I think investors should take this into account when considering investments.

Also, expect downgrades in Europe to continue.

Bottom line: In my opinion, the time for taking risks still isn’t here yet.

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HansParisis
I m not participating in this moment of desperate optimism. To me, the eurozone countries are still far away from getting their act together in a serious, honestly united, transparent, trustworthy and sustainable way. Until that happens, if it ever happens at all, the...
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Tuesday, 11 Oct 2011 12:38 PM
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