Disclaimer

Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. But I can't by law give you advice, and I do make mistakes. Remember: the unexpected sometimes happens. Oddly enough, the expected does too, but all too often it takes longer than you thought it would, or on the other hand happens more quickly than you expected. The Goddess of Markets punishes (eventually) greed, folly, laziness and arrogance. No matter how many years you've served Her. Take care. Be humble. And don't blame me.

BTW, clicking on most charts will produce the original-sized, i.e., bigger version.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Soft underbelly

This graph shows the weighted average of industrial production for Greece, Italy and Spain, among the 5 or 6 European economies hardest hit by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).  You can see the impact in 2008 of the meltdown in the US, and the slow recovery in 2009 and 2010.  Then these economies started to fall again, this time a European own-goal, as German-imposed economic and financial orthodoxy forced swingeing fiscal austerity.  The US ran massive (federal) deficits, and so its recovery, though sluggish, still actually happened.  In the grip of a malign madness, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland by contrast were forced to slash spending and up taxes, and naturally, their economies plummeted.  During 2013, the fall stopped, but as you can see, there's scarcely a boom going on.

The total decline in IP and GDP, the jump in unemployment and dire poverty, all these were as bad as the Great Depression in the US.  And frankly, it could take a decade before the economies of these countries pass their previous peaks.




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