Wednesday, July 7, 2010

European Monetary Union breakup risks global deflation shock that would dwarf Lehman collapse, warns ING

Long time readers know that one of our favorite gloomsters is Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, whose writing I once described as a "continuum that ranges from morose to suicidal. Here he is at his despondent best...
From the Telegraph:

A full-fledged disintegration of the eurozone would trigger the worst economic crisis in modern history, devastate every country in Europe including Germany, and inflict a deflationary shock on the US. There would be no winners, warns the Dutch bank ING in a new report "Quantifying the Unthinkable". 
"Complete break-up would have effects that dwarf the post Lehman Brothers collapse. Governments would find themselves having to bail out banks again, worsening already fragile government finances. The risk of at least a temporary break-down in payments systems would be enormous, " said the report by Mark Cliffe, Maarten Leen, and Peter Vanden Houte.
"Initial trauma is sufficiently grave to give pause for thought to those who blithely propose EMU exit as a policy option," it said, a rebuke to those German politicians and economists who have talked openly of shaking out weaker members.

The new Greek drachma would crash by 80pc against the new Deutschemark. The currencies of Spain, Portugal, and Ireland would fall by 50pc or more, causing inflation to soar into double-digits. "The impact is dramatic and traumatic," it said.
ING has attempted to unpick the complex consequences of break-up scenarios, concluding that even a surgical exit by Greece alone would hurt everybody, and be suicidal for Greece. Both weak and strong states would suffer violent downturns if EMU unravelled altogether, though each in very different ways. "In the first year, output falls by between 5pc and 9pc across the various former member states," it said.

The German sphere would face a "deflationary shock". The US dollar would rocket to 85 cents against the euro equivalent, with a "temporary overshoot" to near 75 cents. This would tip the US into acute deflation, threatening North America with a double-dip recession. East Europe would contract 5pc in 2011 alone.
Safe-haven flows to core debt markets would drive down yields on 10-year US, German, and Dutch bonds to near 0.5pc, by far the lowest ever. Club Med yields would decouple brutally, rising to between 7pc and 12pc, "capital controls, notwithstanding.">>>MORE