Italien: gefangen in der Schuldenfalle

Roger Bootle von Capital Eco­nomics wurde dadurch bekannt, dass er den Wolfson-Preis für das beste Konzept einer ordent­lichen Abwicklung des Euro gewann. Er schreibt jeden Montag im Tele­graph. Hier beschäftigt er sich mit den Aus­sichten für Italien. Motto: gefangen in der Schuldenfalle.
  • „Con­trary to much received wisdom, in most cir­cum­s­tances, the level of a government’s budget deficit and the accu­mu­lated stock of its debt have hardly any impact on the yield on its bonds. As long as the markets are confident (…).“
    Stelter: Das konnten wir auch in Grie­chenland sehen. Das Land war lange schon bankrott, bevor es zu Zins­an­stieg und damit der offi­zi­ellen Pleite kam.
  • But if investors think that there is going to be a default, then this factor will effec­tively over­whelm ever­y­thing else. There is nothing more gua­ranteed to con­cen­trate an investor’s mind than the pro­spect of losing all his money.“
    Stelter:: banal, aber klar. Sobald es Zweifel gibt, ist die Pleite da.
  • The eco­no­mists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff examined the interplay between government debt, financial crisis, and recession. They argued that for the ratio of government debt to GDP, 90pc is the cri­tical level. Beyond this point, debt ratios tend to get out of control and to produce a financial crisis that often ends in eco­nomic disaster.“
    Stelter:: Dies gilt aber so direkt nicht, siehe Italien und vor allem Japan.
  • „When it comes to the pro­spect of default, over and above the debt ratio, three key factors are important – the under­lying rate of eco­nomic growth, the rate of inflation, and having your own cur­rency. This last factor can be cri­tical. It allows you to issue and redeem debt in a cur­rency that you issue. And it gives you the ability to set your own interest rates.“
    Stelter:: Wenn man sich das Geld selber drucken kann, gibt es per Defi­nition keine Gefahr eines offenen Bankrottes.
  •  „During the 19th century, the UK managed to work down its ratio of government debt to GDP from over 200pc after the Napo­leonic wars to below 30pc on the eve of the First World War. It did this through a com­bi­nation of sus­tained eco­nomic growth, fiscal res­traint and sus­tained low interest rates. In the years after the Second World War it achieved a similar feat by similar methods, alt­hough this time helped by signi­ficant inflation.“
    Stelter:: Und die wollte auch die EZB genau deshalb erzeugen!
  • „The ratio of Italian public debt to GDP is running at over 130pc. Tel­lingly, this ratio is higher than it was before the global financial crisis. All these years of austerity during which the Italian public finances have been kept on a tight rein have brought no pro­gress– in fact, the reverse. The reason is easy to fathom. Since Italy joined the euro, the Italian economy has expe­ri­enced next to no growth. Mean­while, the rate of inflation has been ground downto nugatory levels.“
    Stelter:: Das nominale Wachstum in Italien war ganz einfach zu tief für die Schul­denlast und das Zinsniveau.
  • „How to get out of this trap? I suppose it is just about pos­sible that Italy, like the UK in the past, could grow its way out of this problem. If the eurozone were to grow rapidly, and if inflation were to be higher than it has been recently, then the growth rate of Italian money GDP could exceed the rate by which the debt is rising, and hence bring the debt ratio down.“
    Stelter:: Das halte ich ange­sichts der demo­gra­fi­schen Ent­wicklung und des geringen Pro­duk­ti­vi­täts­wachstums für eine Illusion.
  • „What marks Italy out as a smould­ering source of debt crisis is that, unlike Japan, the United States and the UK, Italy does not have the ability to issue debt, nor to redeem it, in a cur­rency that it issues. Nor does it have control of its own interest rates. This puts it in just about the worst of all pos­sible posi­tions. Indeed, it is in a similar position to many emerging market countries that, in the past, have been forced to borrow in dollars.“
    Stelter:: Das bedeutet nichts anderes, als dass Italien in der Falle zu hoher Schulden, schwachen Wachstums und des Euros steckt.
  • „Not only is the new Italian government intending to launch mea­sures that will increase the deficit, but last week the ECB con­firmed that it intends to stop its pro­gramme of buying eurozone government bonds, including Italian ones, by January. This will remove a vital prop for the Italian bond market.“
    Stelter:: Es ist noch abzu­warten, ob es die EZB wirklich tut. Noch sind es ja nur Drohungen.
  • „Some people say that there can’t be an Italian bond market crisis because the majority of Italian government debt is held by Ita­lians. This judgment is com­pletely mis­placed. If Italian indi­vi­duals and insti­tu­tions start to believe that their government will default, or par­tially default through re-deno­mi­nating the debt into a new cur­rency, then they will not be wanting to hold the stuff when the balloon goes up (…).“
    Stelter:: Die Kapi­tal­flucht ist doch schon länger in vollem Gange.
Abruptes Fazit: „Government bond issuance may be national but default is inter­na­tional.“ Stelter:: Und das stimmt.