Economist Martin van Vliet of ING Bank said: ‘The paltry pace of fourth quarter growth makes crystal clear that the eurozone economy cannot yet stand on its own feet. Economist Martin van Vliet of ING Bank said: ‘The paltry pace of fourth quarter growth makes crystal clear that the eurozone economy cannot yet stand on its own feet.
Collapse of the euro is ‘inevitable’: Bailing out the Greek economy futile, says FRENCH banking chief
The European single currency is facing an ‘inevitable break-up’ a leading French bank claimed yesterday.
Strategists at Paris-based Société Générale said that any bailout of the stricken Greek economy would only provide ‘sticking plasters’ to cover the deep- seated flaws in the eurozone bloc.
The stark warning came as the euro slipped further on the currency markets and dire growth figures raised the prospect of a ‘double-dip’ recession in the embattled zone.
The bailout of Greece will only act as a ‘sticking plaster’ for the Euro crisis, the bank warned yesterday
Claims that the euro could be headed for total collapse are particularly striking when they come from one of the oldest and largest banks in France – a core founder-member.
In a note to investors, SocGen strategist Albert Edwards said: ‘My own view is that there is little “help” that can be offered by the other eurozone nations other than temporary, confidence-giving “sticking plasters” before the ultimate denouement: the break-up of the eurozone.’
‘The euro’s a success’: Peter Mandelson at Downing Street on Thursday
He added: ‘Any “help” given to Greece merely delays the inevitable break-up of the eurozone.’
The alarming claim came a day after European Union leaders promised ‘determined and co-ordinated’ action to shore up Greece’s tattered public finances, but disappointed traders by failing to provide specifics.
Further details are expected early next week, but markets were in high anxiety yesterday amid fears political divisions among rich eurozone members could derail any rescue.
The euro slid almost 1 per cent to $1.357 yesterday, meaning it has lost 10 per cent of its value since November. The pound rose to 1.14 euros.
Earlier this week Business Secretary Lord Mandelson’s claimed that the single currency had been a ‘remarkable success’ and that it remained in Britain’s interests to join.
David Cameron ridiculed that claim yesterday.
He told the Tories’ Scottish conference: ‘Are this Government the only people in the country who still think that would be a good idea? Our deficit and debt are bad enough without the straightjacket of the euro.
‘If I am elected for as long as I am prime minister the United Kingdom will never join the euro.’
The French bank’s warning was echoed by Mats Persson, Director of the Open Europe think-tank, which campaigns for reforms in Brussels.
He said: ‘The eurozone is facing a fully-fledged crisis. The Greece episode has made it painfully clear how flawed the euro project was from the very beginning.
‘Even if Greece receives a one-off bailout it would not solve the real problem, which is the huge differences in competitiveness between the eurozone’s richest and poorest members.
Tory leader David Cameron said if he is elected, the UK will not adopt the euro
‘If these differences are to be evened out, the EU would need a single budget and common taxes so it can redistribute resources.
‘One thing is clear, Britain made the right choice in staying out.’
Mr Edwards argued that Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain are too economically weak to withstand the rigours of eurozone membership.
Countries that are highly uncompetitive are normally able to slash interest rates and devalue their currencies to prop up their economies.
But this is not possible within the euro, given its one-size-fits-all economic governance.
The implication is that weak, peripheral eurozone members will have to suffer years of painful deflation and tumbling living standards, as well as draconian budget cuts, in order to adjust.
Harvard University Professor Martin Feldstein, a long-standing sceptic on the euro, yesterday said the single currency ‘isn’t working’ because member governments have no incentive to keep their public debts under control.
‘There’s too much incentive for countries to run up big deficits as there’s no feedback until a crisis,’ he said.
Germany drags EU back towards recession
Axel Weber, President of Germany’s Bundesbank, warned the German economy will contract this year
The eurozone faces the danger of a ‘doubledip’ recession after Germany’s economy retreated into stagnation.
Figures published yesterday revealed that the countries who have joined the euro collectively grew a mere 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year – equal to Britain’s own faltering performance.
Germany was the biggest drag, recording zero growth in the final three months of 2009 after emerging from recession earlier in the year.
Axel Weber, President of Germany’s Bundesbank, warned this week there is a chance his nation’s economy will contract in the first quarter of 2010, in part because of the severe winter, in a major blow to recovery hopes.
The figures from the European Commission are a blow to Britain’s embattled manufacturers, which count the eurozone as their biggest export market.
France provided a bright spot in the report, expanding by 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter-But Italy, Spain and Greece all registered contractions in their gross domestic product.
Economist Martin van Vliet of ING Bank said: ‘The paltry pace of fourth quarter growth makes crystal clear that the eurozone economy cannot yet stand on its own feet.
‘The disappointing eurozone growth data are a sobering reminder that recovery from financial crisis led recessions tends to be slow and protracted, and might not prove very supportive in calming markets’ fears about the region.’