France Approaching Economic Zombiedom

By Jan 16, 2013, 7:18 PM Author's Blog  

Europe may be out of sight for now, but that’s only because it’s not out of the woods.

Draghi be damned: Spain still in a debt death loop.  And that doesn’t even take into account the fact that 90 percent of the Spanish state pension fund is invested in Spanish government debt.  Or that Spain has long leaned on its banks to buy its debt, meaning that Spanish banks buy the bonds of the government that is supposed to bail them out if they get in trouble.  There’s a financial Escher etching for you.

So what does Spain do? It begs Germany to increase growth. As if it’s like turning on a faucet.

And if there is such a faucet, the handle has come off in Germany’s hand: the economy contracted more in 4Q12 than at any time since the depths of the financial crisis.

Meanwhile, France is getting deeper into Mali.  IMO, best outcome: something like the American Punitive Expedition to Mexico in 1915, which futiley chased Pancho Villa around the deserts of northern Mexico for a year. Worst case: British army in Afghanistan, 1842, or Islawanda.

US support-per the linked FT article-is lukewarm at best.  We (and the Brits) are supplying airlift.  A telling illustration of the lack of sustained expeditionary capability in NATO outside of the US.  Given the extreme logistical challenges of operating in the Texas-size wilds of northern Mail it is hard to imagine a force of a few thousand frenchies doing anything but getting swallowed up in the vast, desolate expanses.

And as I noted yesterday, France is approaching economic zombiedom.

So yeah. Everything is just hunky dory. Maybe as long as Draghi’s paper lasts.  Or more accurately: as long as the bond markets believe in the magic of paper.

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