This Next Meal
November 21, 2011
Governments are falling, bond yields are zigzagging by whole percentage points and markets around the world are locking up. The eurozone turmoil risks turning into a global crisis.
That's not some journalist talking. It's BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager.
There was widespread euphoria-for about a day-when France and Germany announced an apparent resolution to the European continent's shared debt crisis.
But where did investors starting putting their capital? Back into the dollar. And back into U.S. stocks (see "Money Suddenly Floods into Stock ETFs. Will It Stick?,'' page 1).
The European crisis is not over. And, on this side of the Atlantic, lots of investors have moved to the sidelines, October results notwithstanding.
The sentiment: We've seen this show before. Recently. And it all ends badly.
Which brings forth the core question: Just how much action is enough action, on the other side of the Pond?
Most holders of European sovereign debt are already in shock that they are being asked to take a 50% writedown on what they used to think of as assets.
Now comes BlackRock and it says, that's not nearly enough.
It's recommending 75% or 80% haircuts be required of private creditors.
BlackRock also wants European policymakers to get the European Central Bank to buy more bonds, set out clearer details on the overall rescue fund, force real debt restructuring in Greece, Portugal and Ireland. And ... somehow-instill fiscal discipline without choking off growth.
"The need is greater than ever for policymakers to set and implement credible, decisive and thoughtful rules,'' BlackRock says.
Now come back to the United States. Thanksgiving will get interesting as the bipartisan debt supercommittee tries to make up for a $1.3 trillion a year budget deficit that requires this nation to borrow 36 cents for every dollar it spends. Self-imposed deadline: Nov. 23.
As simple as these financial crises are, you know they'll be fixed by the time the turkey is on the table.
But the meal, if it gets prepared, won't be tasty.