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Monday, 27 February 2012

Interminable European money printing assured

Private buyers of peripheral European bonds are likely to have completely dried up.  Chief executive Martin Blessing stressed "that Commerzbank wouldn't buy any more sovereign debt in Europe's financially troubled nations".[1]

He slammed the European Central Bank's (ECB's) recent move to protect its holdings of Greek bonds from the losses forced upon private bondholders, while Commerzbank suffered a 74% loss [2] on their Greek bonds.

Without a private market for bonds, European public authorities now carry the burdens of preventing sovereign default, of funding bankrupt Greece, Italy, Portugal and others for a very long time, and of keeping interest rates low for those countries.

The funds required to support the peripheral nations far exceed available funds.

If the ECB continues to support those nations, their solution will be to print money, known as quantitative easing (QE).  (Which means to "ease" tight monetary circumstances by printing quantities of money without real value backing the value of the printed money.)

The consequences of remedial money printing will be general devaluation of the euro and high inflation in the longer term, after money circulation resumes and the velocity of money increases.  It is possible that the euro might not become devalued with respect to the US dollar because the US is also locked into a large scale QE money printing strategy.  This would reinforce global market sentiment towards gold as euro and dollar fiat currency refugees take the shelter of gold's intrinsic value.

The European strategy risks turning the euro into a pre-euro peripheral currency, characterised by persistent devaluation and a high inflation economy.

I acknowledge The Weekend Australian and The Wall Street Journal:
[1] "Commerzbank boss hits out at Greek bailout", p29, The Weekend Australian, February 25-26, 2012.
[2] "Greek bond deal makes German banker see red", Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2012.

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