source: reuters, h/t @cigolo
“I think there are four [solutions for the eurozone] . One is to continue with mass unemployment in the south, in order to depress wages and prices until they’ve become competitive again. The second is to say, ‘Well, we have to get rid of this imbalance in competitiveness, so we need inflation in Germany.’ That seems unattractive, certainly to the Germans. The third is to give up on this question of restoring competitiveness quickly and accept that this is an indefinite transfer union. That requires two things: one is for people in the north to give money to people in the south; the other is for people in the south to accept the conditions imposed on them, which will limit the size of the transfer. The fourth is to change the membership. Now, I don’t know what the right answer is, and it will depend on their political objectives, but economics tells you that you have to have one or some combination of these.”
Sir Mervyn King, Bank of England Governor
from: BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
Even though much of the market focus on exit risk has been on Greece, Italy and Ireland have the highest relative incentive to voluntarily exit the euro, by our analysis. In the case of Italy, it faces a relatively higher chance of achieving an orderly exit and it stands to benefit significantly from competitive gains, growth gains and even balance sheet gains. No wonder former Prime Minister Berlusconi has been recently quoted as saying that leaving the euro is not a “blasphemy.” Among the peripheral countries, Spain appears to have the lowest relative incentive to leave.
While Germany is the country most likely to achieve an orderly exit from the Euro, it also has the lowest incentive of any country to leave, in our view. It would suffer from lower growth, possibly higher borrowing costs, and negative balance sheet effect. Austria, Finland and Belgium don’t have strong incentive to leave, either.