Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Last Bastion of Central Bank Independence

What you won't read on the WSJ, the FT and The Economist: investors are awaking for the fact that sovereign debt isn't as risk free as they thought it is. The fact that it's showing up in the weaker and more indebted economies in Europe is solely related to the fact that these countries cannot manipulate their currency, because they abide by the only independent central bank remaining in the world. This transforms them in the earliest victims of the trend.

So much better for them, at least they are being forced to do their homework before it's not too late, and they may be the first to get out of the next wave of troubles: the slow but inevitable worldwide rise of sovereign debt nominal rates.

At the core of the current mess is the fact that countries shouldn't have ever got used to the idea that financing their excessive spending at nominal rates of 3% or less is sustainable. The carnival will end for all at some point, through financial constraints (as it's happening in Europe) or through inflationary revenues (as it will surely happen in most of the rest of the world).

I hope that in the process the last bastion of central bank independence, the European Central Bank, doesn't fall. The world will sorely need a benchmark when the tide changes.

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