November 09, 2011

But the misalignments turned monstrously large only because they were financed.

Sir, Martin Wolf in “thinking through the unthinkable” November 9, quotes Thomas Mayer of Deutsche Bank saying “below the surface of the euro area´s public debt and banking crisis lies a balance of payments crisis caused by a misalignment of internal real exchange rates”.

Yes, the misalignment of the real exchange rates within the eurozone were always in the cards, but the main reason for why they could grow so out of proportion was the fact that it could be financed… and the foremost cause of that were the truly stupid regulations which allowed the banks to finance European sovereigns against little or no capital at all.

I would presume Martin Wolf has many friends among regulators, while I have none, but nonetheless he should have used his column long ago to ask… is it rational to allow banks to finance for instance Italy and Greece, or any sovereign, against basically no capital at all? Had he and his colleagues done that, then perhaps Europe would have had a better chance to nip the current crisis in the bud.