Saturday, October 18, 2014

tear gas and ""chicken""

Nathaniel Rothschild allegedly said that one should ""buy to the thunder of cannons and sell to the sound of trumpets"". I guess, the modern-day version would be to trade to the smell of tear gas, which has been wafting across Athens recently. Closer to home, in the beautiful park next to the university that houses the Catalan parliament, ministers and MPs were surrounded by Spain's own indignados movement... which made it just that touch harder to be in the office on time this morning, with riot police blocking many of the streets leading to the campus. It was pretty calm as things go, with no violent clashes, but the image of ministers being ferried in by helicopter reminded me a bit of President De La Rua's last day in office.

Back to the issue of trading: Even popular financial advice sites like marketwatch are now offering suggestions on how to make $$$ from a coming Greek default. I would say, not so fast... we are mainly witnessing a public game of ""chicken"" between the German finance ministry and the ECB. Some of this is squarely aimed at the wider public -- ""look, we are trying to get tough with private creditors"". While the EU has an amazing talent to screw up things, I would say -- uncharacteristically, as those who know my pessimistic side might think -- that this one is too important to go wrong, and that a deal will eventually get done, with no more than a bit of a Vienna-style initiative imposed on the creditors. Now, if only the Greek government will actually stay in office for long enough to see through the implementation of the next round of austerity...

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