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Euro Future Bleak Regardless of ECB or EU Bailout Efforts

Euro Future Bleak Regardless of ECB or EU Bailout Efforts

2010-05-08 01:13:00
John Kicklighter, Chief Currency Strategist

While an objective view of the situation in Europe leaves us with the assessment that conditions cannot be easily fixed, speculative interests are highly sensitive to effort – especially when the currency can be considered temporarily oversold. The past weeks settlement left EURUSD at its lowest holding in 14 months. What’s more, the burst of activity that led the market to its current floor was extraordinarily volatile. Such a setup leaves the euro prone to a quick recovery on even a questionable perk (general risk trends willing). The outcome of this weekend’s meetings could offer just such a boost. After the Friday meeting of leaders from those 16 countries that share the euro, there was an enigmatic promise to both protect the currency and help stall the spread of credit concerns across the region. After a follow meeting with the full regalia of the European Union, specific steps will be announced. But what can they commit to? Those with the check books know that a promise to provide funds will likely be called to task; and an ongoing bailout of the European community is much larger than the collective members can afford. Stretching themselves to a plan to safeguard the entire region would be considered preposterous. On the other hand, a redoubled focus on Greece could prevent one of the certain catalysts to a crisis from igniting (for how long is another question). Alternatively, if the approach taken is considered another wait-and-see effort mixed with a little cheerleading, it will only be a matter of time before market uncertainty naturally spreads and infects other members.

With such an intense focus on the financial stability of European economies, there may seem little need of economic data. However, the foundations of economic activity and interest rate forecasts are essential to both the near and long-term outlook for the currency. Should data deteriorate, confidence in the stability of the financial and monetary union will weaken far more quickly. What’s more, without a robust economic backdrop, a financial panic can turn into a general crisis. This is the pressure that saddles this week’s GDP numbers. With China, the United States and United Kingdom having already released their growth figures; it is now the European group’s turn. Spain has already reported its own recovery from a two-year recession with a meager 0.1 percent expansion through the first three months of the year. Over the coming days, Portugal, Italy, France and Germany are all expected to report growth through the same period. Should there be any wavering in growth before the impact of the recent market fear set in, confidence that stimulus can offer a meaningful boost will all but disappear. - JK

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