Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The EU and Money Printing

Markets rose recently on news that the EU had agreed on a "rescue fund" for its members, the most infamous of whom have recently been Greece and Italy.  Since that announcement, however, Italian bond yields have skyrocketed, presumably reflecting the belief that the rescue fund will be insufficient and Italy, as well as other countries like Greece and Spain, will ultimately default on their debt (basically bonds).  Forces are thus putting increasing pressue on the European Central Bank to print money to buy more EU member sovereign debt and thus act as a stopgap against panic selling of this debt (and a refusal by markets to purchase more of such debt).  Ask yourself:  what happens if the European Central Bank announces that it will print money ("monetize") to buy more debt?  Also ask yourself how likely this now seems.  The first answer for me is "massive rally" and the second is "very."

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