The EU's Major Living Contrary Indicator Breaks his Silence
He couldn't leave well enough alone. After the third and 'final' Greek rescue in as many years, the eurocracy's contrary-indicator-in-chief felt compelled to endanger the relative calm enjoyed by the markets by opening his mouth.
We are of course referring to European economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn.
As German news magazine Der Spiegel reports:
“The worst of the euro crisis has passed, says European Commissioner Olli Rehn, who points to the common currency area's falling budget deficits in an interview on Thursday. Greek Prime Minister Samaras is also optimistic, saying that his country is now on the right track.
Have we seen the worst of the euro crisis? According to European Commissioner Olli Rehn, we have. He said on Thursday that the debt and financial crisis afflicting Europe's common currency zone has surpassed its apex.
Rehn, commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, told the Financial Times Deutschland on Thursday: "The last high point of the crisis was in June, around the time of the Greek elections. Now we have a reverse trend."
Rehn defended the strict austerity measures applied in countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain, and credited such policies with successfully reducing the combined budget deficit in the euro zone from 6.2 percent of the currency area's gross domestic product in 2010 to 3 percent this year and a projected 2.5 percent in 2013.
In the interview, Rehn said a change in policy is underway, from one of purely crisis management, to a focus more on structural issues and the competitiveness of all euro zone and European Union member states.
Some figures from the real economy, Rehn allowed, such as extremely high unemployment in several euro-zone member states, remain alarming. Much of that, he said, is due to developments in the first half of 2012, including uncertainty over the Greek elections and doubts about Spain's banking sector. Rehn said he is "less pessimistic" than he was before the summer break because during the summer, euro-zone governments and the European Central Bank (ECB) helped stabilize the situation.
Rehn's comments are not the first time that he has voiced optimism about the future course of the euro crisis.”
Saints preserve us! You bet 'it's not the first time' the good commissioner has 'voiced optimism' about the crisis. Unfortunately his bursts of optimism have a so far unblemished record of being extremely ill-timed. He's a kind of reverse doomsayer: every time he says 'this time the volcano definitely won't break out' it's almost like a guarantee that everything will be covered in glowing lava and two meters of ash within days.
He's been predicting the end of the crisis since the day it began, and as such his value as a contrary indicator may one day be exhausted, but he has never in all this time lost his uncanny sense of timing. Will this time be different? Note that Mario Monti's resignation was announced within days of Rehn making the optimistic noises recounted above.
EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn. He's to the EU of today what Halley's Comet was to medieval Europe: a harbinger of doom.
(Photo via Reuters)
It is that time of the year again – our semi-annual funding drive begins today. Give us a little hand in offsetting the costs of running this blog, as advertising revenue alone is insufficient. You can help us reach our modest funding goal by donating either via paypal or bitcoin. Those of you who have made a ton of money based on some of the things we have said in these pages (we actually made a few good calls lately!), please feel free to up your donations accordingly (we are sorry if you have followed one of our bad calls. This is of course your own fault). Other than that, we can only repeat that donations to this site are apt to secure many benefits. These range from sound sleep, to children including you in their songs, to the potential of obtaining privileges in the afterlife (the latter cannot be guaranteed, but it seems highly likely). As always, we are greatly honored by your readership and hope that our special mixture of entertainment and education is adding a little value to your life!
Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke
Most read in the last 20 days:
- A Striking Chart
The Economy and the Stock Market As long time readers know, we are always paying close attention to the manufacturing sector, which is far more important to the US economy than is generally believed. In terms of gross output it is the largest sector of the economy, and it should of course be obvious that saving, investment and production are the only ways to create wealth. What's left of the Brooklyn Domino Sugar Refinery. Photo credit: Paul Raphaelson Contrary...
- Trump and Putin Narrowly Escape Assassination Attempt
The Gloves are Coming Off First a little bit of recent history. Readers are probably aware that some questions about the occasionally malfunctioning Deep State android... no, wait, we'll start again. Questions have recently been raised about the health of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by various “alt-right” tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists, such as this one. The monsters are normally hiding under Hillary's bed, but lately they have come out into the open...
- Why the Fed Destroyed the Market Economy
What Have You Done for Me Lately? Swing voters are a fickle bunch. One election they vote Democrat. The next they vote Republican. For they have no particular ideology or political philosophy to base their judgment upon. The primacy of the wallet. They don’t give a rip about questions of small government or big government. Nor do they have any druthers about the welfare or warfare state. In effect, they really don’t care. What’s important to the...
- Donald’s Electoral Struggle
Wicked and Terrible After touting her pro-labor union record, the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua rhetorically asked, “why am I not 50 points ahead?” Her chief rival bluntly responded: “because you’re terrible.”* No truer words have been uttered by any of the candidates about one of their opponents since the start of this extraordinary presidential campaign! Electoral map (note that the coloration may no longer be applicable...) That Hillary Clinton is...
- Janet Yellen’s Shame
Playing Politics In honest capitalism, you do what you can to get other people to voluntarily give you money. This usually involves providing goods or services they think are worth the price. You may get a little wild and crazy from time to time, but you are always called to order by your customers. In the market economy, consumers reign supreme. There is no such thing as a “lost” vote in the marketplace; every penny spent affects production. Mises noted: “Consumers...
- Get Ready for a New Crisis – in Corporate Debt
Imposter Dollar OUZILLY, France – We’re going back to basics here at the Diary. We’re getting everyone on the same page... learning together... connecting the dots... trying to figure out what is going on. The new three dollar bill issued by the Apprehensive States of America. We made a breakthrough when we identified the source of so many of today’s bizarre and grotesque trends. It’s the money – the new post-1971 dollar. This new dollar is green. You...
- The Economy, the Stock Market and the Fed
John Hussman on Recent Developments We always look forward to John Hussman's weekly missive on the markets. Some people say that he is a “permabear”, but we don't think that is a fair characterization. He is rightly wary of the stock market's historically extremely high valuation and the loose monetary policy driving the surge in asset prices. The S&P 500 Index and the NYSE advance-decline line. Most market internals weakened steadily until early February 2016, but...
- Hanjin Marooning in San Pedro Bay
Global Trade Reversal Expansions and contractions in global trade have played out over long secular trends for thousands of years. The Silk Road, for example, was established by the Han Dynasty of China in 130 BC, and allowed for continuous trade between East and West for nearly 1,600 years. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was also a conduit for culture and knowledge among its network of civilizations. A map of the main ancient Silk Road - click to...
- Great Causes, a Sea of Debt and the 2017 Recession
Great Cause NORMANDY, FRANCE – We continue our work with the bomb squad. Myth disposal is dangerous work: People love their myths more than they love life itself. They may kill for money. But they die for their religions, their governments, their clans... and their ideas. Famous French hippie and author Voltaire. He wears the same sardonic grin in every painting, whether he's depicted at a young or an old age, doesn't matter. His real name was François-Marie Arouet; he...
- The Donald Versus Killary: War or Peace?
War: A Warning from the Past Although history does not exactly repeat itself, it does provide parallels and sometimes quite ominous ones. Such is the case with the current U.S. Presidential election and the one which occurred one hundred years earlier. The Donald probably has the better slogan... The dominating question which hung over the 1916 campaign was whether the country would remain neutral in regard to the horrific slaughter which was taking place on the...
- A Rift in the Space-Time Continuum
Weird and Unnatural NORMANDY, France – First, a quick look at the markets. The Dow bounced on Monday, recovering 239 points of the nearly 400 it lost on Friday. Why the comeback? FOMC member Lael Brainard: her comments on Monday were touted as the “reason” for the stock market recovering half of Friday's losses. We suspect the real reason is the triple witching on Friday... Photo via twitter.com The financial press has a ready answer: “Stocks gain...
- Crimea: Digging For The Truth
Renewed Escalation This summer witnessed a renewed escalation between Russia and Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of sending saboteurs to attack Russian troops, targeting “critical infrastructure”. Kiev denied the allegations and claimed Russia’s “fantasy” was nothing but a false pretense to launch a “new invasion”. August 10: Russian president Putin announces that there was an altercation involving a group of Ukrainian saboteurs at...