“Dramatically Poor”

German exports fell in September at the fastest pace since late last year, official figures show, adding to evidence that the eurozone crisis has infected the continent’s economic powerhouse.

September imports fell 1.6% and exports declined 2.5% month-on-month, seasonally adjusted data from the Federal Statistics Office showed. Overall exports were down 3.4% from a year earlier but orders from eurozone countries plunged 9.1%.

“The trade figures are a normal consequence of the dramatically poor industrial orders, which have fallen at their sharpest rate in a year.”

So Much For That Shootout

I still don’t know who Gary Cooper was here, but Mario Draghi just went from “I will do whatever it takes to preserve the euro” (and buy up Spanish and Italian bonds) to “the ECB may consider” doing so at a later date.

Needless to say, the markets were not amused. Cherchez la femme, I’d say (and it ain’t Grace Kelly).

What’s the hold up? Germany, perhaps. During a press conference afterwards, ECB vice-president Vítor Constâncio noted that only one member of the ECB was adamantly opposed to bond purchases. This seems to be a reference to Germany’s Bundesbank, which had vigorously opposed a central-bank bailout of Spain and Italy. And even though the Bundesbank doesn’t have a direct veto over ECB actions, it seems Germany, as the richest country in the euro zone, still has plenty of sway.

“For all the criticism of Merkel, she distinguishes herself from politicians on both sides of the Atlantic in that she has a plan.”

It’s High Noon

But which one is Gary Cooper?

Big spending Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank boss who is shooting for the outright central-bank purchase of European sovereign debt, or lonely Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann (and pretty much the rest of conservative Germany) who is gunning to resist such a move as it would “dilute debt-laden governments’ incentive to reform, and lumber the central bank with too many risks and responsibilities, endangering its independence and credibility.”

And more importantly, who is Grace Kelly here and where is she when we need her?

“I will do whatever it takes to preserve the euro.”

The Lesser Of Two Evils

“Finally, a rating agency showed a sense for good timing. The announcement could hardly have come at a better time: Moody’s casts doubts on Germany’s top rating. The rating agency provided its top grade “AAA” rating with a negative outlook. This is perfect timing for the debate which has taken place these past few days concerning additional help payments to Greece.”

“The agency gives two main arguments behind taking this step, and they should be clear to everyone.

First there is the danger that Greece would leave the euro: Then the danger of further contamination for other countries like Italy and Spain would be a threat.

But secondly there is another, far greater danger: If none of these countries leave the euro, then financially weak states would have to be supported indefinitely by the stronger ones.”

“Germany continues to find itself in a very solid economic and financial situation.”

I Know, I’ll Blame The Banks!

In a brilliant and risky move never yet attempted by a left-wing politician ever before, SPD boss Sigmar Gabriel has boldly proposed to improve his parties chances at next year’s federal election by “blaming the banks” for everything that has gone wrong in the financial sector and elsewhere.

“Mind-blowing,” one German political commentator said. “No one has been able to put these complex puzzle pieces together like this up until now. But by calling the banks extortionists, accomplices to tax evasion, hustlers and manipulators, Gabriel develops a subtle analysis of a highly complicated theme, thus making it easily accessible to the man on the street.”

“Die versammelte Linke in Deutschland betrügt sich selbst und betrügt die Bürger, wenn sie einerseits die Krise mit immer neuen Schulden bekämpfen will – und dadurch die Abhängigkeit von den Banken und Finanzinstituten erhöht, die man andererseits blindwütig an den Pranger stellt.”

“The entire left tricks itself and the citizens when, on the one hand, it calls to fight the crisis with ever more debt – thus making us even more dependent upon the banks and financial institutions – and then, on the other, mindlessly blaming them for everything.”

172 Economists Can’t Be Wrong

Right? Right.

We have to approach this differently, folks. Pick an economist. Pick five. Find one that has ever been right. When it comes to dire warnings about the future, I mean.

Sure, I don’t like the idea of Angela Merkel deciding “to agree to allow eurozone bail-out funds to support sinner states” either, but if 172 economists are all hot and bothered about it, then maybe it wasn’t such a bad decision after all.

“First of all, this is about better banking supervision, and one can only say that that is urgently necessary.”

Inferiority Superiority Complex

North, south. Inferiority, superiority. It’s all the same to me.

Germans export more to their European partners than they consume, benefiting from this asymmetrical situation even as they expect everyone else to be exporters and savers like them.

Are We Having A European Lifestyle Yet?

Is this the end of “the European way of life” as we know it?

European leaders have been muddling through instead of properly tackling the debt crisis. Now it threatens the very foundations of the European Union and could destroy a lifestyle that millions of Europeans take for granted.

Funny. I thought taking things for granted was what the European lifestyle was all about.

“We need fiscal discipline because we have a debt problem… No euro bonds as long as I live.”

Bonds, German Bonds

That’s the thing about a crisis: There’s always a winner, too. Take the euro crises, for instance. And the demand for German bonds these days.

Demand for German bonds, seen as the safest haven in the euro zone, has pushed Berlin’s borrowing costs so low that some investors are effectively paying Germany for the privilege of lending it money.

Damn. This gives German bondage a whole new meaning.

Low interest rates on German bonds are translating into billions in savings. Now economists have calculated that the country should be able to balance its budget by next year — something that is likely to increase criticism of Germany’s crisis management.

…The perception that Germany is benefiting financially from the crisis while imposing strict austerity measures on countries in southern Europe is unlikely to win many friends for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is already highly unpopular in countries such as Greece.

Where Have All The Exports Gone?

The ones that used to go to the euro zone, I mean. Wo sind sie geblieben?

German imports tumbled at their fastest rate in two years in April and exports fell, adding to evidence that Europe’s largest economy is beginning to feel the chill from the euro zone debt crisis.

Hey, I’m all for austerity, too, Germany. But when your European partners are too austere to buy your German products, what happens then?

That’s when Plan B kicks in (the German master plan is well thought out, you know, the diabolical #!?§#!s): Exports to non-EU markets are now on the rise.

“German companies feel that foreign demand isn’t as dynamic as it used to be as the global economy is entering a weaker phase. The weakness originates in the euro area, where the debt crisis can no longer be felt only through budget cuts and austerity but increasingly creates uncertainty about economic prospects, which is reflected in weaker investment.”