France’s finance minister sends tremors through European capitals with a defiant warning that his country would no longer try to meet deficit targets
Eurozone strategy is in tatters after economic recovery ground to a halt across the region and France demanded a radical shift in policy, warning that austerity overkill is driving Europe into a depression.
Growth slumped to zero in the second quarter, with Germany contracting by 0.2pc and France once again stuck at zero. Italy is already in a triple-dip recession.
Yields on 10-year German Bunds fell below 1pc for the first time in history, beneath levels seen during the most extreme episodes of deflation in the 19th century. French yields also touch record lows. Much of the eurozone is replicating the pattern seen in Japan as it slid into a deflation trap in the late 1990s.
It is unclear whether tumbling yields are primarily a warning signal of stagnation ahead or a bet by investors that the European Central Bank will soon be forced to launch quantitative easing, buying government bonds across the board.
China has already made its aim to establish the renminbi as a global currency, possibly even replacing the American dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Recent moves to ramp up the gradual liberalization of the renminbi, which is currently allowed to trade only within a narrow trading band, and other actions suggest that China may be preparing for a major push to establish its currency as a major global reserve currency.
Traditionally speaking, the American dollar has acted as this reserve currency. The dollar is the most widely used currency in the world, and most commodities, such as oil, are priced in dollars. Many countries keep huge dollar reserves on hand to facilitate trade. China, for example, is believed to have some 3.2 trillion dollars worth of reserves. Even the tiny city-state Singapore has over 250 billion dollars in reserves. Continue reading