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HSBCs sjeføkonom Stephen King brukte usedvanlig sterke ord for å beskrive utsiktene for 2012: Vi står foran en krise av uante dimensjoner og alvoret ser utrolig nok ikke ut til å ha gått opp for politikerne, sa King.

Han var også gjest hos CNNs Richard Quest der han sa at EUs sjanse til å forebygge og avverge krisen glapp for en god stund siden, og nå befinner man seg på en rutsjebane hvor det er langt vanskeligere å styre.

«Entering 2012, we are facing uncertainty on the grandest of scales,» HSBC economists led by Stephen King said in their latest quarterly report.

«This loss of faith is reminiscent of the collapse in confidence in 2008, when the wheels came off the global economy. Back then, forecasters completely failed to grasp the gravity of the situation. The same may be true today,» HSBC said.

Det har gått opp for EU-politikerne at euroen kan bryte sammen, men desto tydeligere fremstår deres treghet og nøling. Markedet er ikke overbevist, selv etter toppmøtet 8. desember.

The good news was that euro zone policymakers recognized that a break-up of the 17-member bloc could spark another great depression. But, despite signs of greater urgency, investors for the most part remained unconvinced that a strategy was in place to ease the debt burdens straining the single currency.

Tom verktøykasse

Til forskjell fra i 2008 har regjeringene brukt opp virkemidlene for å stimulere økonomien: lav rente, nye lån, skattelettelser. Nå er det budsjettbalanse som gjelder, hvilket betyr kutt. Det betyr en nedadgående økonomi, samtidig stiger gjelden.

As the world economy slumped after the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, governments had room for maneuver. Today, with fiscal austerity in fashion and interest rates near zero across the developed world, firepower is limited.

«Indeed, with the risk of recession on the rise, debt dynamics are in danger of spinning out of control,» HSBC said.

The European Central Bank acted decisively on Wednesday to limit the immediate danger by lending banks a whopping 489 billion euros in cheap three-year loans. The cash injection will reduce the risk of a credit crunch and fire sales of assets by banks shut out of the wholesale funding markets.

But the ECB is at best buying time to help weaker euro zone members put their finances back in order and recoup competitiveness lost as a result of having weaker productivity and higher labor costs than core countries led by Germany.

In Eurozone, Year Of Deleveraging Could Prove Dangerous