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Daily View: The eurozone crisis

Clare Spencer | 10:32 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

euros1905.jpgCommentators look at the euro's four year low against the dollar, Greece's first bailout instalment from the EU and the international implications.

In the Financial Times Gideon Rachman explains the international fascination with the European crisis:

"In the past few weeks, Europe has certainly got the world's attention - but not in the way that it had hoped. Rather than admiring the EU for its dynamism and power, the rest of the world is watching the unfolding economic crisis in Europe with fascination and horror. Observing the struggle to save the euro from Washington or Beijing is a bit like watching a car crash on the other side of the road. It is bad enough being a spectator - but there is the added fear that you will be hit by flying debris."

In the China Post Richard Quest says the euro is "starting to look like a car with too many drivers":

"The euro is starting to look like a car with 16 drivers, all running on different fuels and following individual maps with no one really sure who is at the wheel. You think I am being unfair?

"It has only been a week since the european Union and IMF put together their US$1-trillion plan for eurozone countries and the markets have now given their verdict. The bailout will prevent attacks on european government bonds, but it will not rescue the single currency (nor has it brought the stability that was intended)."

Political blogger Paul Staines who writes under the name Guido Fawkes says
that because of the UK elections the media hasn't noticed that "Europe's financial markets are in meltdown" which he uses as ammunition in the debate against the UK joining the euro:
"Euro politicians are now blaming speculators - a sure sign that they want to shoot the messenger - speculators are the harbingers of economic reality, not the creators. The euro is at a four-year low for good economic reasons, not because traders are shorting it.

"Britain is spared this financial contagion as it stands in splendid isolation from the European Central Bank. Let us hear no more from europhiles on the laughable 'stability' that joining the euro will bring."

In the blog Economist's View Tim Duy argues that the crisis might be good for the US:

"First, the weaker Euro has taken a bite out of oil prices, which fell back below $70 today. Make no mistake - keeping a lid on oil prices offers continued support for US consumers. And while we can all dream of a more balanced economy less dependent on household spending, for now it remains the best game in town...

"Likewise, the rush to Treasuries is keeping a lid on US interest rates...
Add a lid on interest rates via a steady surge of capital flows to sustained job growth, and the odds of sustainable recovery look better every day. Moreover, we are still in a sweet spot with regards to monetary policy. The Fed was not inclined to tighten policy this year, expecting continued downward pressure on inflation via a persistent unemployment gap. The European crisis only adds to the willingness of monetary policymakers to hold tight. No, in the near term, the Fed is not likely to derail the recovery."

The Economist calls into question the argument that the fall in the value of the euro will be good for the US economy because it will improve US purchasing power:

"Oil prices and American borrowing costs plummeted during the fall of 2008. That didn't mean good times for the American economy were ahead then, and it doesn't mean it now. The European crisis is a blow to one of the world's largest economic areas, which will have negative impacts on Asian and American businesses, and the increase in uncertainty and delayed rebalancing are most unwelcome. It's a situation we could all do without."

In the Guardian Mark Weisbrot compares Greece to Argentina and Latvia and suggests a rethink on their internal devaluation plan:

"So before making a commitment to indefinite recession and slow recovery, including many years of high unemployment and other social costs, Greece may want to consider the alternatives. They may be less painful and allow for a speedier, more robust economic recovery."

More from the BBC

BBC NewsEuro drops to new four-year low against US dollar
BBC NewsGreece receives first tranche of EU bail-out loan
BBC NewsQ&A: Can Europe's 750bn euro bailout package work?

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