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Bailout in Spain buys time and clips contagion

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Jeremy Hobson: Julia Coronado is chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas.

She’s with us live as she is every Monday to talk about all of this. Good morning, Julia.

Julia Coronado: Good morning.

Hobson: Well it looks kind of like another band aid for Europe, I have to say– another big bailout to kind of buy time to deal with the debt crisis.

Coronado: Absolutely, so this is an effort to buy a little insurance, and limit contagion ahead of the Greek elections that are coming up next weekend. And you’re right, the plan lacks details, and it raises nearly as many questions as it answers. So it really is just buying a little time, sending the signal that the eurozone does stand behind its biggest countries, and therefore, hopefully there won’t be a panic after the Greek elections.

Hobson: When you look at the European crisis right now, it does start to look a little bit more like what we had in 2008 unfortunately. There are just all these different things happening at the same time, and you are just watching these bailouts go from one place to the other to the other.

Coronado: Yeah, and in fact one could argue that European policy makers have been overly complacent and maybe part of that reflects the fact that they really haven’t experienced what we did in 2008, where we really were in a freefall — in financial markets, in the economy — it really was, you know, the end of life as we knew it, it seemed. And so, policy makers took aggressive action, whereas they’ve been kind of able to kick the can down the road, muddle along in this piece-meal kind of fashion for a while now.

Hobson: What are you going to be watching for in these Greek elections this weekend, which could lead to a Greek exit from the euro?

Coronado: Well, what we’re looking for is: is there a clear enough outcome for the centrist parties that looks like they could form a coalition that will in turn renegotiate the terms of the Greek bailout and maintain them as a eurozone participant. If on the other hand, the extremist parties gain traction, then we are going to be facing some pretty bad fallout on Monday morning.

Hobson: Well, we’ll be talking to you about it I’m sure, next Monday. Julia Coronado, chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas, thanks as always.

Coronado: My pleasure.


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