Let the Bundesbank chief resign spotlight image

Let the Bundesbank chief resign if he wants to, it'll be no bad thing

Press quote (The Daily Telegraph)
31 August 2012

The problem has been brilliantly summarised by Simon Tilford, of the CER, in his latest blog. Here's just a taste. "Countries facing depressions and rapidly weakening inflation typically face very low borrowing costs: investors invest in government bonds for a want of profitable alternatives. .. This is what we see in the UK and US; borrowing costs remain at all-times low despite the extreme weakness of both countries' public finances and poor growth prospects. 
Investors certainly need to differentiate between eurozone governments, in order to ensure that risk is correctly priced. The Italian and Spanish authorities acknowledge this. But the current spread between the yield on German government debt and that of the Italian and Spanish governments wildly exceeds what is required to make sure investors differentiate appropriately.

The polarisation of borrowing costs has politically explosive distributional effects: Germany is borrowing and refinancing its existing debt at artificially low interest rates. According to the German Institute for the World Economy, investor flight from the government debt markets of the eurozone's struggling members to Germany has already saved the German government almost €70bn. Other countries face ruinously high borrowing costs, which are simultaneously increasing the scale of their reform challenges and narrowing their political scope to make the necessary reforms. The longer Italian and Spanish borrowing costs remain at such elevated levels, the greater the economic damage to those economies will be and the harder it will become for the two countries' governments to shore up the necessary political support for further reforms."