Monday, October 24, 2011

European debt crisis deepens

European leaders were said to be making progress towards a euro-zone recovery plan on Monday, but with arguments between some member states there is still no real consensus [BBC].

France's President Nikolas Sarkozy and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkal have pressed Italy on reforms and debt reduction. Meanwhile there is still mounting concern over Greece.

Some analysts have suggested that while the crisis is set to continue, liquidity has to be improved, and that a process of quantitative easing or printing more money, was needed.

The Bank of England has already warned of significant fallout from the eurozone crisis. Ben Broadbent, a member of the Bank of England's interest rate-setting committee, told the Financial Times, that even if significantly increased its money-printing operations Britain would not be insulated from the ongoing crisis enveloping Europe. However he remained broadly optimistic, saying that a disaster in the eurozone was unlikely to occur.

Euro-scepticism growing in UK

Economic uncertainty across Europe has galvanised euro-scepticism in Britain and threatens to create political instability for the Conservative Party. But Foreign Secretary William Hague has said that calls for a referendum on whether Britain should remain within the EU was "the wrong question at the wrong time" [BBC].

All Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour MPs have been instructed to vote against a motion calling for a public vote on the UK's place in the EU. However some 70 members of parliament are likely to defy the party whip on the issue [BBC].

While the government would not be bound by the result of the vote, based on a motion by Tory MP David Nuttall, it could prove politically difficult for the Conservative leadership.

But opposition to the motion has also come from the Labour leadership. "It (a referendum) is not the right thing for Britain," Labour leader Ed Miliband said. "It is not the right thing for jobs. It is not the right thing for growth." A referendum would create further "economic uncertainty" Miliband insisted and he urged David Cameron to "show leadership" rather than make concessions to his backbenchers [BBC].

US concerns

Across the pond there is also concern over the eurozone debt crisis. Scott Nations, President and Chief Investment Officer at Nationsshares, said the US needed to do more. Talking on CNBC he said the United States was about to "sit down to a banquet of consequences" because of what is going on in Europe. "We are completely at risk," Nations said, "and we are not exercising any leadership."

"I'm not saying we should write a cheque but we should exercise some leadership," Nations added. In particular he expressed his concern that despite 13 emergency summits in the last two years, Europe had failed to control the spiralling sovereign debt crisis.

One of the short term issues was the stabilizing of biggest banking system in the world, that being the European banks. But there is also the problem reducing contagion. The worries and concern mounting over Europe's apparent inability to control the situation is in turn worrying investors and affecting economies further afield.

Many reports on Monday suggested that EU leaders were close to a deal. And there was some positivity at the opening in New York and across some European markets and in Asia with hopes that a deal might be near [BBC]. For the economic stability, both within Europe and around the world, such a deal is imperative. 

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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