Friday, October 21, 2011

Frankish Kabuki Presages Euro Debt Non-Solution

It sure looks like the Frankish ethnic cousins - France and Germany - have pretty much settled on an uneasy compromise for injecting fresh capital into the EFSF.  France had wanted it to act like an insurer but Germany said "nein" to that, so the fund will likely remain only a liquidity provider.  That takes care of Greece for the time being, with short-term melt-up rallies aplenty coming for stocks on both sides of the Atlantic.  Maybe France will see the light behind limiting the EFSF's firepower once it considers how its sovereign credit rating is getting trashed

The bad news is that the continent's bad debts are now obviously too big for a Greek-sized rescue fund. Germany has drawn the line at any further rescues beyond Greece.  Italy and Spain, when and if they fail to make sovereign debt payments, are beyond the EFSF's reach.  China will not bail out Europe; it has too many insolvent banks and municipalities at home to shore up.  The U.S. may provide a repeat of its massive swap transfers, but if Europe's collateral (that's the euro, folks) dissolves the Fed will have to create untold amounts of new dollars to shore up its own balance sheet.  That giant sucking sound you'll hear will be the sound of non-U.S. institutions running to dispose of their dollars.  No foreigner wants to hold a devalued dollar.  Rushing to drop a devalued currency can very well launch hyperinflation for Americans holding no other asset besides U.S. dollars. 

Enjoy your weekend! 

Nota bene:  I am long FXI and GDX (which I have held for diversification purposes) and a few California state muni bonds.  I hold a lot of cash right now because I believe this European situation will result in a very serious downturn in may equity markets.