Fears of growing debt problems in the EU have caused global stock markets to plummet. On 25th May, the FTSE was down by 2.6%, Germany’s Dax index fell by 2.34% and in France the Cac 40 was also down 2.74%. Shares across Asia fell, including those in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand. On top of this, there are concerns of rising military tensions between North and South Korea. This has only added to the pessimism of investors.
Then came the rescue of the Spanish bank Cajasur by the Bank of Spain, which did little to restore confidence in the world economy. The Spanish deficit has reached 11% of GDP, which is nearly 4 times higher than eurozone rules allow. Spain is also suffering from unemployment of more than 20%, which has led the IMF to call for massive structural reform in the country. The euro has also weakened, as investors sell the currency, because of growing fears of debt default amongst the eurozone countries.
Amid concerns of possible default by Greece, Spain and other countries, the IMF and the members of the European Union have agreed an emergency package of €750 billion (£650 billion). €250 billion comes from the IMF, with €440 billion available as loan guarantees for struggling nations and €60 billion from emergency European Commission funding. We can only wait to see how effective this rescue package will be in restoring confidence in the Eurozone economies.
Global stock markets see sharp falls BBC News (25/5/10)
Spain must make wide ranging reforms, weak recovery – IMF Reuters (24/5/10)
FTSE falls another 2.5% after Europe’s debt crisis sparks fears in Asian markets Mail Online (25/5/10)
IMF raises fresh concerns about the Spanish economy BBC News (24/5/10)
IMF Chief Economists – doubts over Greek aid remain Reuters, John Irish (24/5/10)
Markets still tense over eurozone debt Independent, Ian Chu (21/5/10)
FTSE falls below 5,000 due to eurozone crisis Telegraph (21/5/10)
FTSE plunges nearly 3% in opening seconds (including video) Sky News (25/5/10)
The contagion of austerity BBC News blogs: Gavin Hewitt’s Europe (25/5/10)
Europe debt crisis threatens recovery, OECD warns BBC News (26/5/10)
In graphics: Eurozone in crisis BBC News (24/5/10)
For macroeconomic data for EU countries and other OECD countries, such as the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and Korea, see:
AMECO online European Commission (especially sections 1, 6, 16 and 18)
- Using a diagram, illustrate why the euro has weakened.
- Explain why stock markets have fallen across the world.
- What type of reforms are needed in Spain?
- What factors are likely to determine the effectiveness of the IMF emergency package?
- Are the austerity measures in the Spanish economy likely to lead to the similar outcomes that we saw in Greece, such as widespread strikes?
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the rescue package. Does rescue involve a moral hazard?