Resort to protectionism against eurozone depression: economist
The rest of the world must take steps to protect itself from the consequences of a depression in the eurozone, an economist says before the G8 meeting
The G8 summit of leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the US and the UK will take place in Northern Ireland next week, and protests have started in London.
The summit is unlikely to come to any meaningful conclusion regarding how to fix the eurozone's problem, with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, France's President Francois Hollande and Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta in disagreement over what should be done, Carl Weinberg, Chief Economist at High Frequency Economics, noted.
Weinberg doubts that the leaders "will formally discuss things on which they stand no chance of agreement" but believes that the "depression in euroland" will come up in discussions on the sidelines.
He warned that other governments need to worry about unrest in the world's largest economy, where unemployment has hit record after record high.
The decline in the eurozone has "the potential to disrupt world trade and finance, and even the global balance of power," Weinberg wrote in a note on the global economy.
The solution to the eurozone woes, according to him, is a combination of mutualized bank recapitalization and deposit insurance and fiscal and monetary stimulus.
Other analysts advocate similar solutions but politicians in the eurozone cannot agree on banking union and on whether austerity needs to be relaxed and the European Central Bank (ECB) be allowed to print money.
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"The time has come for the other G8 leaders to acknowledge that euroland cannot avoid a depression given its structural and political constraints," Weinberg said.
"They should therefore coordinate efforts to protect themselves from any economic or financial shocks originating in the zone."
This would involve measures like monitoring financial liabilities to borrowers in the eurozone and finding alternative trade partners "for the day when euroland banking woes render enterprises in the zone unable to function," he said.
"This sounds a lot like isolationism and protectionism... and it is," Weinberg said.
"But there is a new reality in the world, which is that euroland is a 'sunset' economy and will contract on trend for a long time to come."He recommended partnering with 'sunrise' economies instead, and said the move away from the eurozone was already underway, with the establishment of new trade patterns with China and emerging Asia over old trade patterns.
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