The latest turn in the global financial crisis has ensnared the debt of some European nations. The fact that these nations are members of a monetary union has generated much confused comment. Here one the world’s leading experts on Eurozone monetary and financial matters sets the record straight, debunking 10 myths and setting forth 10 frequently overlooked facts.
Charles Wyplosz, Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Anne Sibert, Saturday, January 16, 2010
Economists largely neglected systemic risk in the financial sector. This column discusses how governments should gather data about systemic risk and assess its implications. It says the new European Systemic Risk Board is far from the ideal – it is too big, too homogeneous, and lacks independence.
Emil Stavrev, Martin Cihák, Thomas Harjes, Friday, January 15, 2010
The global crisis forced central banks to take unconventional measures. This column says that the ECB’s “enhanced credit support” helped support the transmission of monetary policy by reducing money market term spreads. The substantial increase in the ECB’s balance sheet also likely contributed to a reduction in government bond term spreads and a somewhat flatter yield curve.
Cristina Checherita, Maria Grazia Attinasi, Christiane Nickel, Monday, January 11, 2010
The crisis has raised long-term government bond yield spreads across Europe. This column discusses the causes. Increased risk aversion and concern about public finances explain most of the movements in sovereign bond spreads. Moreover, bank bailouts transferred credit risk from the private sector to governments.
Paul De Grauwe, Tuesday, May 11, 2010
This column, first published 15 December 2009, shows the main outlines of the crisis were clear months ago and suggests actions that – had they been taken early – would have mitigated problems facing the Eurozone today. The column concludes: "All this leads to the conclusion that the Eurozone governments should make clear where they stand on this issue. Not doing so implies that each time one member country gets into financial problems the future of the system is put into doubt." If only those words had been heeded months ago.
J James Reade, Ulrich Volz, Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The global financial crisis has revived euro deliberations in Sweden. This column argues that Sweden ought to join the eurozone. It says that Swedish monetary independence is an illusion, as Swedish money market rates are driven by the policies of the ECB. Sweden would gain more by taking a seat at the ECB table than remaining a passive bystander.
Paul De Grauwe, Wednesday, April 15, 2009
This column shows that the Maastricht convergence criteria are political instruments, not economically vital measures. They were ignored in 1998 so as to facilitate the Eurozone’s creation, and now they are stringently applied so as to slow its enlargement.
Paul De Grauwe, Saturday, February 7, 2009
Spreads of sovereign debt within the eurozone have increased dramatically during the last few months, largely as a result of panic in the financial markets. When it engages in quantitative easing, the ECB should privilege the buying of Irish, Greek, Spanish and Italian government bonds to eliminate the distortions and the externalities that these spreads create.
Lionel Fontagné, Antoine Berthou, Saturday, August 9, 2008
How did the adoption of the euro boost international trade? This column analyses microeconomic evidence from France, showing that fewer firms now export, but those that do export more products to more destinations in Europe.
Barry Eichengreen, Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Originally posted 17 November 2007, this Vox column is more relevant than ever arguing that adopting the euro is effectively irreversible. Leaving would require lengthy preparations, which, given the anticipated devaluation, would trigger the mother of all financial crises. National households and firms would shift deposits to other Eurozone banks producing a system-wide bank run. Investors, trying to escape, would create a bond-market crisis. Here is what the train wreck would look like.
Willem Buiter, Anne Sibert, Wednesday, May 3, 2006
The Maastricht Treaty’s Eurozone entry criteria were designed for slow-growing West European nations. They make no economic sense for the new EU members. These nations opted for stable exchange rates, so their inflation rates rose with energy prices and rapid productivity growth. Neither the ECB nor the Bank of England would try to control inflation and exchange rates simultaneously. Why should Eurozone aspirants be forced to do so?
Charles Wyplosz, Thursday, June 10, 2004
Written in June 2003: EU Commissioner Pedro Solbes announced that aspiring Eurozone members must keep their exchange rates within the old, narrow ERM band. If EU Finance Ministers agree, this is very bad news, raising the possibility of exchange rate crises. It is in the EU’s common interest to recognise that the new members are different; they should be given two options: early euro-isation or the Swedish-type oblivion of the wide-band ERM.