Eropa Dalam Situasi Berbahaya (Bagian II)

Written by Denny   // February 15, 2013   // Comments Off

“You’ve got a completely undemocratic structure, accumulating more and more power, and I don’t see how that could ever be made to function. You could make the whole leap forward to complete political union, you could replicate the United States with a genuine European parliament and an elected European president and so forth, but I think it is unworkable because there is no unified European people. There is no single language, there is no single way of looking at things, there is no shared political culture, it is a completely absurd project, and highly destructive for democracy.”

-Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

 

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“Germany has two very bad choices. It can finance the multiple trillions of euros of debt of Spain and Italy (and France), converting it into eurozone debt, while giving up its own fiscal sovereignty and allowing a eurozone-wide fiscal union and taxing authority; or the Germans can spend trillions of euros allowing the eurozone to break up, either by exiting themselves or allowing the southern countries to exit.”

-John Mauldin

Satu kesalahan besar saat memperhatikan perkembangan di Eropa adalah menyerap apa yang mereka sampaikan sebagai fakta. Media-media meneruskan apa yang mereka peroleh dari berbagai sumber informasi di Eropa, namun sungguh perlu pandangan yang skeptis dalam menyikapinya.

Cobalah pikirkan: apa yang mungkin salah? Tidak ada hal yang meyakinkan di Eropa, setelah skenario terburuk – yakni resesi – muncul. Satu-satunya yang meyakinkan adalah: Masalah Eropa akan berlanjut di tahun 2013! Kemungkinan akan ada sejumlah yang kembali bergejolak di sejumlah wilayah Eropa mengingat regionalnya mengalami resesi yang semakin dalam.

Anda mungkin akan terkejut (atau mungkin tidak), namun satu dari sejumlah persoalan utama di Eropa adalah mengenai euro itu sendiri. Jika Anda bertanya mengapa, maka bacalah laporan Charles Gave dari GKResearch di bawah ini, yang berjudul “Europe: The Last Great Potemkin Village Where “The Rich Get Richer, And Poor Get Poorer”":

“On the surface, it would seem that the euro crisis has calmed. Markets have rallied since the summer and, to borrow a phrase from Herbert Hoover, “prosperity is just around the corner.” But outward appearances in Europe are like a Potemkin village. Behind the well-scrubbed facades, Southern Europe is in a death spiral. Anyone convinced that the European monetary union has come through the crisis stronger is a victim of the slickest PR campaign in history.

Let’s be very clear here: this is what the euro has wrought. This destruction of the non-German industrial bases has taken place with the active complicity of the European technocrats. They did not even realize that France, the EMU’s second largest economy, for example was becoming hopelessly uncompetitive.

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Let’s go one step further. According to the official GDP statistics the French economy since the beginning of the euro experiment has done as well as the German economy:

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But note that if we use the ratio of the two industrial production indices, then we see that the French economy has “underperformed”? the German economy by 20%.

The loss of industrial capacity in France, Italy and Spain has taken place in the private sector part of the economy. The implication is thus that the share of the private sector in the economy must have been going down in Italy and France, and up in Germany. To compensate for demise of the private sector, the “solution” in good Keynesian logic is of course to grow the public sector.

The red line in the chart below depicts reality; the blue line the Keynesian fairy tale. French debt went through the roof, to pay for a massive increase in government spending as a percentage of GDP.

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Needless to say, the same thing has happened in Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, etc., where the collapse of the private sector has been offset by a rise in government spending financed by an even bigger rise in new debt. Where does that leave us? Well, we have a bunch of countries deindustrializing fast, issuing tons of “riskless assets”? to mask the fact that they are in a very serious depression.

This is very visible in the next chart (see below). The euroland industrial production index is FLAT since 1998, with Germany’s index up 30%, the French one down -10% and the Italian and Spanish ones down- 20% each.

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This is a zero sum game if there ever was one, with Germany being the main winner and the other three economies massive losers. Instead of leading to convergence in euroland economies, the euro project has led to massive divergences, with the strong getting stronger, and the weak getting weaker.

For these trends to change, we would need radical change. We are not talking about retirement age being nudged up a year in one country, or rules for firing people liberalized an iota in another. We would need to see bloated states firing 20% to 40% of civil servants, and the government spending share of GDP to plunge; the cost of labor to fall by at least -20% relative to the cost in Germany; the return on invested capital in Europe’s South to move above the ROIC not just in Germany but also in Eastern Europe. There is zero chance of these types of reforms taking place.

Which means the logical end of the euro experiment is thus to have all the European factories in Germany or its office bases in the East and none in the South of Europe where the costs are too high and will remain too high under almost any scenario. We have already part of this journey, which I fully expected when I wrote in 2000 that the euro was going to lead to “too many houses in Spain, too many civil servants in France and too many factories in Germany.”

The dire truth is that one cannot maintain a fixed exchange rate among countries which have different underlying productivity growth rates, different social systems and different political arrangements. Nothing will ever change this reality.

* * *

Conclusion

The ECB has thrown enough money at the market to, for now, reduce borrowing costs and allow equity prices to rise (unfortunately so is the euro, threatening exports). This buys time-but these actions are not enough to solve the structural problems created by the euro. The private sector has shriveled in Southern Europe, as government spending and debt has soared. If we have France, Italy and Spain together enter a debt deflation/debt trap, the crisis will be far too big for Germany to handle: and if this happens before German federal elections are held (no later than October) we could see the European political crisis revive in full force. Do not trust the Potemkin facade of the euro. I would not own fixed? income in any country in euro land, especially with the euro being so strong. Only equities in the freest parts of the economy should be considered.

Bagi orang-orang di Asia atau Amerika Serikat, kadang sulit untuk membayangkan seberapa buruk kondisi Eropa saat ini. Namun setelah membaca laporan singkat Mike Krieger dari Liberty Blitzkrieg, saya kira akan memperjelasnya dengan mudah kepada setiap orang bahwa Eropa saat ini sedang menghadapi suatu depresi ekonomi menyeluruh.

Greeks Raid Forests In Search Of Wood To Heat Homes

Greece just seems to be getting worse and worse. Being the leading edge of Southern Europe’s descent into 3rd world status, Greece’s lessons are all of our lessons, as I outlined in my piece last year The Global Spring. From the Wall Street Journal:

EGALEO, Greece-While patrolling on a recent cold night, environmentalist Grigoris Gourdomichalis caught a young man illegally chopping down a tree on public land in the mountains above Athens.

When confronted, the man broke down in tears, saying he was unemployed and needed the wood to warm the home he shares with his wife and four small children, because he could no longer afford heating oil.

Tens of thousands of trees have disappeared from parks and woodlands this winter across Greece, authorities said, in a worsening problem that has had tragic consequences as the crisis-hit country’s impoverished residents, too broke to pay for electricity or fuel, turn to fireplaces and wood stoves for heat.

Such woodcutting was last common in Greece during Germany’s brutal occupation in the 1940s, underscoring how five years of recession and waves of austerity measures have spawned drastic measures.

“The average Greek will throw anything into the fireplace that can be burned, ranging from old furniture with lacquer, to old books with ink, in order to get warm,” said Stefanos Sapatakis, an environmental-health officer at the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Glad Europe is fixed.

What Do the Charts Say?

Pertanyaan yang ada di benak kebanyakan orang saat ini adalah: Berapa lama kita bisa bertahan … dan berpura-pura bahwa semuanya baik-baik saja? Jika kita hanya bisa mencetak cukup uang sampai ekonomi mulai bangkit kembali dengan sehat, maka semuanya akan baik-baik saja, bukan?

Namun tidaklah semudah demikian. Ambil contoh Yunani misalnya. Meskipun negara tersebut sudah dibantu (bail out) beberapa kali, indicator ekonominya masih terus memburuk.

Dengan melihat sejumlah grafik Tyler Durden dari www.zerohedge.com berikut, Anda dapat segera bahwa masalah struktural tidak mudah untuk diatasi:

Charts Of The Day: Greek Unemployment Hits Escape Velocity

It took one month for the 2013-2014 Greek medium-term unemployment target rate to be hit. The target rate? A grotesque, all time high 26%. Because as Elstat reports, this is what Greek unemployment already was in the month of September. Which means that at the time Greece was preparing its latest “Third Greek Bailout”? projections in November, the rate was already well above the long-term target.

Elstat also tells us that in September, the total number of actively employed Greek workers (including government) was a tiny 3,695,053. The number of persons unemployed: 1,295,203, while the inactive ranks swelled to 3,373,692. As a reminder, last month’s 25.4% unemployment rate has been promptly surpassed in a few weeks. Finally, that powder keg of conflict, youth unemployment, was a jaw dropping 56.4%.

So without further ado, here are the charts that summarize this.

Total workers employed:

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Total workers unemployed:

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And the unemployment rate:

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And yes, by returning to the Drachma, Greece would at least have some chance of curing the unfixable internal and external imbalances, which unless resolved, will send this rate into the stratosphere, and a far bigger chart will soon be needed.

Source: ElStat

Terakhir yang tak kalah penting, saya akan mengetengahkan kepada Anda 2 gambar jenaka mengenai krisis hutang Eropa. Apapun yang terjadi dengan ekonomi global, penting untuk tetap tersenyum:

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Selamat menjalani hari dan semoga beruntung!

Sumber: nicoomer.blog.kontan.co.id


Tags:

Euro

hutang

krisis Eropa


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