While the eurozone crisis is not front-page news like it used to be about a year ago, I see economic conditions in the eurozone actually getting worse. The economic slowdown in the region is becoming more severe as the days pass—even with the European Central Bank announcing it will do “whatever it takes” to save the eurozone.
In a recent review; the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it expects Greece to require more help from its eurozone peers. It believes that all the measures taken by the eurozone nations since the troubles in Greece began aren’t enough to bring its debt to a sustainable level. The IMF predicts Greece will require another 5.5 billion euros to 9.5 billion euros from 2015 to 2016 to bring down its debt to a sustainable level. (Source: Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2013.)
I don’t really have to go into much detail about how bad the economic slowdown in Greece really is. Greece is in a depression.
To add to the misery, Spain, the fourth biggest economy in the eurozone, isn’t taking a break from its credit crisis, as its economic slowdown is deepening. The default rate on loans made to Spanish companies increased to 17% in the third quarter of 2012. Spain’s economy is expected to contract another 1.5% this year after shrinking 1.4% in 2012. (Source: Bloomberg, January 21, 2013.)
Meanwhile, Portugal and Ireland are pleading with their eurozone peers to extend their debt repayment schedule to the longest terms available. My take on the request? These two countries are probably running out of money again. The Bank of Portugal expects its economic slowdown to get deeper, with this economy expected to contract 1.9% in 2013 compared to a previously estimated 1.6% contraction. (Source: Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2013.)
This isn’t rocket science. The economic slowdown in the eurozone will continue and become deeper. As I wrote just this Monday, 2013 growth prospects for Germany are nose-diving (see: “Surprise: German Economic Growth Turns Bleak for 2013”).
The eurozone slowdown has already taken a big toll on the global economy, threatening to send the global economy into another recession.
Don’t forget: a significant percentage of U.S. companies (about 40% of the S&P 500 firms) do business in the eurozone, and they will continue to be affected by all of this.
Where the Market Stands; Where it’s Headed:
The investor love affair with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ/AAPL) came to an end last night when the company reported that it isn’t growing like it used to. Investors are bailing out of Apple and that’s putting pressure on the tech-heavy NASDAQ this morning.
But it’s not just Apple. The days of double-digit earnings and revenue growth are gone for most of corporate America—a reality the stock market will soon adjust to.
What He Said:
“A low savings rate was eventually blamed for the length of the Great Depression. Consumers just didn’t have enough money to spend their way of the Depression. With today’s savings rate being so low, a recession could have a profoundly negative effect on over-extended consumers.” Michael Lombardi in Profit Confidential, March 26, 2006. Michael started talking about and predicting the financial catastrophe we began experiencing in 2008 long before anyone else.