Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chief Economist for Citibank Says "(European) Default Will Spread to Japan

Willem Buiter is the chief economist for Citigroup and a former UK Central Banker, who is keen on picking fights with Bernanke and the U.S. Federal Reserve.

He says, "There are no safe havens."

From UK Telegraph:

There are no safe sovereigns
"Fears about the finances of eurozone nations will spread around the world to engulf the US and Japan," former Bank of England policy maker Willem Buiter has warned.
Worries about the risk of a sovereign state defaulting on its debt, which thrust the eurozone into crisis, will soon encompass the two major economies as well, according to Citigroup economists led by Mr Buiter, who sat on the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee.
The team has published a note forecasting much more strife to come in the wake of Greece and Ireland's recent bail-outs and eurozone governments' borrowing costs hitting record highs.
  • "Despite the recent drama, we believe we have only seen the opening and second act, with the rest of the plot still evolving," the team wrote. "There is no absolutely safe sovereigns."
  • There are likely to be several sovereign debt restructurings in the next few years, the analysts said, with Portugal likely to need to access the emergency funding facilities soon.
Against this backdrop, the US and Japan - dubbed the "fiscal sustainability deniers" - cannot keep ignoring the question of how safe their public finances are, the team said.
The fears about default will encompass the two economies "before long", they argued - particularly if a default is defined not just as a failure to meet the debt contract, but also as inflicting severe losses on debt holders through deliberately-engineered inflation or weakening the currency.
  • "Both Japan and US public finances are unsustainable, in our view, and in the absence of credible and substantial fiscal tightening both would eventually face painful discipline through the markets," the economists wrote.

Also see:

Ron Paul warns "US Could See Riots Because of Debt Crisis"

More at UK Telegraph.

Thanks also to What Really Happened

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