16 November 2010

EU dominos Part 2

Hot on the heels of Ambrose E-P's soothscribing, Peter Oborne weighs in with some tell-it-like-it-is.
For Greece and Ireland, there is an absurdly easy way back to economic growth: return to the drachma and the punt. Such a move would enable national currencies to fall back to levels where they can be internationally competitive – which in the case of hapless Greece would be approximately one third of where it stands today.
Assertions by the big bankers and eurocrats that such a move is technically impossible are self-serving and false. It would of course be very messy in the short term, but there are many examples of countries pulling out of currency unions with no lasting ill-effect.

The peripheral eurozone nations are being prevented from taking this sensible move by a cynical alliance between the big banks and the Brussels elite. The banks cannot countenance any contraction of the eurozone because once Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain pull out, they will have no choice but to default on their debts. Such a move would bankrupt almost all European banks. Between them these four countries have a combined sovereign debt of well over £1 trillion. A very large part of this debt is owned by the major European banks. The Bank of International Settlements estimates, for example, that French financial institutions have lent the equivalent of 37 per cent of total French GDP to these failing countries.
So - I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, in the confident expectation that when it does it will reveal the holes in the socks of the Coaltion government in the UK, through which we will be able to see the true reasons for Cameron's extraordinary contorsions.

And the question is . . .

What is the exposure of British banks, in particular the nationalised and semi-nationalised ones, to the Euro debacle?

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