Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Panic, shmanic


One learns to take very little notice of short-term movements in the stock markets, and cries of "panic selling" leave us largely unmoved – as does the attendant hyperventilation.

In the round, the largely ignorant market traders are no better at predicting major economic movements than are their "teenage scribbler" colleagues in the MSM. But it is nonetheless mildly entertaining to watch the headless chickens at play, as The Guardian reports: "European stock markets rocked by panic selling as debt crisis reignites".

What we are seeing, of course, is a dose of the inevitable, as the focus moves from Greece to Spain (via Portugal, of course), as the stresses of the single currency continues to exert their malign influence on the ClubMed states. That said, though, this is not "carnage" – if you want that, go to Syria. 

Except for the nerds, however, the details are too tedious to record, and there is no appetite at present to immerse oneself in the blow-by-blow accounts that are on offer. Suffice it to say that what is happening now was predictable (and predicted), although we still further from the end game than most – including myself – predicted. 

And if one needs to look for a reason, we have to go no further than Erik Britton, of City consultancy Fathom. In a statement of the bleedin' obvious, he says: "The LTRO [long term refinancing operation] and all those things, all it's done is bought a bit of time, but it hasn't addressed the structural problems, even slightly, even for Greece".

For the future, a twist of the knife is anticipated after the Greek general election which is now slated for 6 May. Opinion polls currently show support for the mainstream "pro-austerity" parties is too weak to allow them to form a government.

An unstable minority party coalition party, pledged to unravel some of the so-called "reforms" is bound to send sentiment into another nose-dive, and refocus attention back on Greece. Another juicy crisis is, therefore, on the cards, before the panic is put to bed for the summer hols. 

My money (or overdraft, to be more precise) is still on a Greek collapse in the autumn, if for no other reason than it is sufficiently far ahead for me to be able to dine out on the prediction and not be called out. One day, it will happen, and the whole thing will come tumbling down, but the current market "panic" is just the froth of the day.