Monday, 19 August 2013

Look who's saying it now!

I have been repeating it all along:  Germany is enjoying the Euro crisis.

It has been a great beneficiary of the Euro crisis both through reduced cost of servicing its national debt ( as the crisis raised interest costs to problem countries and reduced them to strong surplus countries) as well as by registering strong economic growth leading to strong balance of payments surplus and low unemployment.   Germany benefited from a weak Euro in a way it would not have been possible to do if it still had its own Deutsche Mark which would have shot sky high to reflect the country's strong status and act as a self-correcting mechanism to address the structural surplus.

But the now the Germans themselves are saying it.   See this report in today's Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL ONLINEProfiteering: 

Crisis Has Saved Germany 40 Billion Euros

Germany has profited from the euro crisis to the tune of 41 billion euros in reduced interest payments. Strong demand for its debt has cut yields and made it cheaper for Germany to borrow. Meanwhile, the crisis has only cost Germany a mere 599 million euros thus far.

Germany is profiting from the debt crisis by saving billions of euros in interest on its government debt, which has enjoyed a steep drop in yields due to strong demand from investors seeking a safe haven.

According to figures made available by the Finance Ministry, Germany will save a total of €40.9 billion ($55 billion) in interest payments in the years 2010 to 2014. The number results from the difference between actual and budgeted interest payments.

The information was released in response to a parliamentary inquiry from Social Democrat lawmaker Joachim Poss.

On average, the interest rate on all new federal government bond issues fell by almost a full percentage point in the 2010 to 2014 period. Financial investors regard Germany as a particularly safe creditor because of its solid state finances.

The interest rate savings combined with unexpectedly high tax revenues generated by the strong economy  have also led to a decline in new borrowing. Between 2010 and 2012, the German government issued €73 billion less in new debt than planned.

The Finance Ministry is trying to maximize the benefits of the low interest rates by placing more longer-term bonds at favorable rates. Between 2009 and 2012, the proportion of short-term debt issues with maturities of less than three years fell to 51 percent from 71 percent.

According to the Finance Ministry, the costs of the euro crisis for Germany have so far added up to €599 million.

Pity that during the German election campaign the Euro problems and Germany's role in solving them are not on the agenda as Germans are being led to believe that they can continue to enjoy the crisis in perpetuity as others countries, at the other end of the spectrum, are stuck in an eternal crisis from which they cannot get unstuck unless the burden of adjustment is equitably shared between surplus and deficit countries alike.

Soon after the elections, whether it would be Merkel on her own or with a grand coalition with the SPD, Germans must wake up to reality that unless they do whatever it takes to save the Euro, they have most to lose.

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