Why One Hedge Fund Is Once Again Preparing For The End Of The Euro

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Our friends at Fasanara Capital have released a new report, which in keeping with the Mayfair fund's recent trend of gloomy predictions, has looked beyond the current set of adverse socioeconomic development jarring Europe, and looks forward to the "last act of the Euro", explaining why "whatever it takes" is now over, and why the time to panic about the future of the common currency is once again nigh.

Here is their latest analysis:

The last act begins for the EUR peg

Why the EUR-peg is likely to break
Why new QE is deflationary and counterproductive, so it may soon be up for review

We have long been negative on the prospects for the EUR peg to survive the test of global structural deflation and local ineffective policymaking. Back in 2013, we wrote of the instability and unsustainability of a currency construct set for failure. At the time, we highlighted three big problems with it:

  • Structural Deflation / Secular Stagnation: debt overhangs and chronic over-supply (misallocation of capital), bad demographics (aging population, falling working population), technological disruption (‘Amazon effect’, 4th Industrial Revolution), falling productivity of credit (diminishing marginal impact of new lending, while also credit growth decelerates) all conspire to the deficient aggregate demand, the structural deflation and the liquidity trap, across the globe: a process which began well before the Global Financial Crisis and the Lehman-moment.

    Why does deflation matter that much? Because durable deflation in a period of economic stagnation is like a death penalty for debt-laden countries burdened with high unemployment: no matter how much virtuous they get fiscally their debt-GDP ratio is set to rise over time, i.e. their debt go up in real terms and make a recovery progressively less likely. So they remain trapped in a long period of debt deflation / balance sheet recession. Take the case of Italy, for example, at 132.5% gross public debt-GDP, where at zero inflation even a primary surplus of ~8% would just about manage to prevent debt ratios from rising further. And such surplus would be heavily contractionary, thus a self-defeating strategy. Such is the evil of deflation. No wonders the ECB embarked on unprecedented expansion of the monetary base. But it failed at stopping deflation. Here are our thoughts in 2014 on that.

  • EU mistaken diagnosis: instead of seeing Secular Stagnation for what it is, EU policymakers saw a problem of low productivity caused by a lack of structural reforms and fiscal discipline. The ensuing quest for austerity drove by ‘internal devaluation’ and aggravated the crisis, helping the inner workings of secular stagnation.
  • Dysfunctional politics: the inability to reach an agreement and put to work sound crisis resolution policies at the EU level has become proverbial. It is still fresh in memory the epic struggle to tackle the restructuring of Greece, which accounts for a ~1% of the bloc’s GDP, while it took over 90 meetings – between EU summits, EU ministers etc - to reach a temporary solution. Gridlock reigns and stands in the way of efficient policymaking. Not so long ago, lack of coordination and a flawed currency construct led to the ‘Black Wednesday’ ERM’s fiasco, with Sterling breaking away disorderly.

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That is wishful thinking, not fact trading
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