November's Big Three
11/09/2012 8:00 am EST
There are two key events other than US elections that investors need to keep an eye on in November, says MoneyShow's Jim Jubak, and the Eurozone meeting may be the most important.
November really brings us the Big Three. We’ve got a transition in China; we’ve got a presidential election in the United States...but we shouldn’t forget Europe, which has really been the macro scenario driving markets for most of the last two and a half or three years.
We’ve got a big meeting of Eurozone finance ministers that are supposed to maybe approve a Greek deal, which would get Greece the next tranche of its bailout money—about €31 billion or €32 billion, enough to fund Greek banks and keep the Greek banking system operating, pay off some bills that the Greek government has built up over the last year they haven’t been paying, the people have been providing services to them.
All those things are supposed to happen on November 12. If it does, we’re still looking at really no solution to the Greek crisis. All we’ve done is postpone the immediate crisis. The Greek economy is still sinking like a stone, which means that any budget deal that the Grecians just struck with the troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund won’t hold, because tax revenues go down as the economy gets smaller. None of this really solves Greece, and at some point there has to be a solution.
And the bigger thing that’s lurking in the background of the meeting on November 12 is what are we going to do about Greek debt? Are we, as in the Europeans, going to write it down, give them another haircut?
The Germans and the German voice on the European Central Bank has been pretty adamant about saying no, and that’s important because the haircut this time is going to fall on the European Central Bank more than it is going to fall on individual bondholders because they took a haircut. The ECB didn’t.
So there’s that big issue. No agreement on that, as well as the issue of extending Greece’s obligations, its austerity plan for another couple years that would cost somewhere between €15 billion and €30 billion, it looks like at this point. Nobody really wants to pay that. Certainly nobody wants to go before voters in Germany with that on the table.
I think it's a vote of confidence for the markets to get a deal on this particular tranche for Greece on November 12, and then it becomes a question of how quickly we turn from feeling relief at that, which would probably produce a rally, to feeling worry about there really being no agreed solution for Greece just a little bit further down the road.