Euro Bailout Plan
When Mario Draghi announced that he would do whatever he can to preserve the euro, it seemed that moment was imminent. Since he uttered those words on July 26, the IBEX 35 in Spain has gained 17%, while Italy's FTSE Milano Italia Borsa is up 13%.
But the rally may quickly fade.
Draghi and the European Central Bank have not taken any drastic measures since then and investors will most likely have to wait until the September 6 meeting to hear what's next.
On Monday ECB policy maker Joerg Asmussen played to the sentiment felt by many German officials that it might be time to let Greece go from the euro.
"Firstly, my clear preference is that Greece should remain in the currency union," Asmussen said in Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau."Secondly, it is in Greece's hands to ensure that. Thirdly, a Greek exit would be manageable."
However, Asmussen warned that a Grexit would be costly, not just to Greece but to the entire continent as well. "It would be associated with a loss of growth and higher unemployment and it would be very expensive - in Greece, Europe as a whole and even in Germany," Asmussen said.
These days, if someone even sneezes in Madrid, Barcelona, or Córdoba (one of my favorite places, actually), investors go into intensive care all over the world.
This new Spanish influenza has been wiping out paper value from one end of Europe to the other. This morning came word that many of the regions in the country will need help. Attention is now directed from focused support for banks to wider calls for a sovereign bailout.
And that is where the whole matter can turn nasty. Word is that we should now expect some Italian cities to be requesting money in the near future. Seems California and Pennsylvania are not the only locations where cities can go bankrupt.
The accord reached at the end of June by the Council of Europe (the EU member heads of government) to bail out Spanish banks is already derisively referred to as "bailout lite." As the beer commercials attest, this is going to be "less filling."
Unfortunately, it is the heavier version that Europe now needs.