Goldman’s “Conspiracy Theory” Stunner: A Greek Default Is Precisely What The ECB Wants

They all come close, but never precisely to the true endgame: The ECB is run by the Troika, which is run by Germany.

Almost every time you hear something about the Greek crisis, you’re going to hear either about the Troika (ECB/IMF/European Commission) and its components or Germany having its say in the situation. As with Cyprus, they want to create a vassal state out of Greece. We were told Cyprus was all about getting rid of corrupt Russian money laundering, etc. when it really wasn’t. What they had in mind was natural resources such as oil and gas within the area, plus a strategic military launching pad for the Middle East and Mediterranean region. Given that the Greek leadership doesn’t want to give up power, they will cave in and hand over more sovereign rights as well as the deposits of taxpayers.

When they’re finished with Greece they’ll move on to Italy, Spain and France who are facing a situation ten-fold worse. They will not stop until the entire European continent or whatever they can grab is under their control.


Last week, we showed a curious thesis by Goldman, which asked if there is a new and “ominous” development in European currency swings, namely the emergence of what may be a “under the table” fight between the ECB and the Bundesbank on which bonds to monetize.

This is what Goldman said then:

the average maturity of ECB bond buying is around 8.0 years, in line with what Executive Board member Coeure said in his May 18 speech. However, while Italy and Spain see purchases that have an average maturity above that of the outstanding debt stock, Bundesbank buying has fallen short from the very beginning…. This kind of signal – from the key hawk in the Eurosystem – has the potential to undercut the credibility of ECB QE, since it weakens the portfolio balance channel.

After all, it was supposed to be low yields in core Europe into risk assets. If those yields now rise and become more volatile, such portfolio effects will be lessened.

Here is Goldman’s full take:

From an economic perspective, Greece shows that “internal devaluation” – whereby structural reforms are meant to restore competitiveness and growth –is difficult politically and a poor substitute for outright devaluation. Emerging markets that devalue during crises quickly return to growth, powered by exports, while Greek GDP continues to languish. We emphasize this because – even if a compromise involving a debt haircut is found – this will not do much to return Greece to growth. Only a managed devaluation, with the help of the creditors, can do that. With respect to EUR/$, we think the Bund sell-off increases EUR/$ downside if tensions over Greece escalate further. This is because the ECB, including via the Bundesbank, would almost surely step up QE to prevent contagion. We estimate that the immediate aftermath of a default could see EUR/$ fall three big figures. The ensuing acceleration in QE would then take EUR/$ down another seven big figures in subsequent weeks. We thus see Greece as a catalyst for EUR/$ to go near parity, via stepped up QE that moves rate differentials against the single currency.

Incidentally, “internal devaluation” is a very polite way of saying plunging wages, labor costs, and generally benefits, including pensions.

But if this is correct, Goldman essentially says that it is in the ECB’s, and Europe’s, best interest to have a Greek default – and with limited contagion at that – one which finally does impact the EUR lower, and resumes the “benign” glideslope of the EURUSD exchange rate toward parity, a rate which recall reached as low as 1.05 several months ago before rebounding to its current level of 1.14.  Needless to say, that is a “conspiracy theory” that could make even the biggest “tin foil” blogs blush.

A different way of saying what Goldman just hinted at: “Greece must be destroyed, so it (and the Eurozone) can be saved (with even more QE).

Or, in the parlance of Rahm Emanuel’s times, “Let no Greek default crisis go to QE wastel.”

Goldman continues:

Greece, like many emerging markets before it, is suffering a balance of payments crisis, whereby a “sudden stop” in foreign capital inflows caused GDP to fall sharply. In emerging markets, this comes with a large upfront currency devaluation – on average around 30 percent across nine key episodes (Exhibit 1) – that lasts for over four years. This devaluation boosts exports, so that – as unpleasant as this phase of the crisis is – activity rebounds quickly and GDP is significantly above pre-crisis levels five years on (Exhibit 2). In Greece, although unit labor costs have fallen significantly, price competitiveness has improved much less, with the real effective exchange rate down only ten percent (with much of that drop only coming recently). This shows that the process of “internal devaluation” is difficult and, unfortunately, a poor substitute for outright devaluation. The reason we emphasize this is because, even if a compromise is found that includes a debt write-down (as the Greek government is pushing for), this will do little to return Greece to growth. Only a managed devaluation can do that, one where the creditors continue to lend and help manage the transition.

Here, Goldman does something shocking – it tells the truth! “As such, the current stand-off is about something much deeper than the next disbursement. It signals that the concept of “internal devaluation” is deeply troubled.

Bingo – because what Goldman just said in a very polite way, is that a monetary union in which one of the nations is as far behind as Greece is, and recall just how far behind Greece is relative to IMF GDP estimates imposed during the prior two bailouts…

…simply does not work, and for the union to be viable, a stressor needs to emerge so that broad currency devaluation benefits not only the peak performers, i.e., the northern European states, but the weakest links such as Greece.

One final thought: what Goldman wants, its former employee at the ECB tends to deliver.

Full article:Goldman’s “Conspiracy Theory” Stunner: A Greek Default Is Precisely What The ECB Wants (Zero Hedge)

Comments are closed.