Photo: Bloomberg TV
Harvard professor Niall Ferguson told Bloomberg TV this morning that a Lehman moment could be nearing for the euro crisis as elections in Greece threaten to undermine European stability.”If there’s going to be a Lehman moment in the crisis it’s going to be next week,” he explained, saying that the back-and-forth between Athens and Berlin is “a game of chicken” that will not be resolved until the power structure in Greece has been decided.
He explained what will happen with another frightening analogy:
“It’s not clear who’s going to blink at this point. My guess is that, in the end, there will be a bit of blinking on both sides. This is the financial equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis. And the missile is really a bank run, which ultimately even the Germans can’t be completely immune to. Not that there will ever be a run on German banks, but the effects of a bank run right across Southern Europe are going to be felt by the economy. German policymakers know that; they’re just having to say one thing to their own voters and another thing privately to other European leaders.”
While Ferguson waxed optimistic about the likelihood that Greece will stay in the euro and that EU leaders will find common ground after the Greek elections, he warned against putting too much faith in central banks.
Referring to the huge rally yesterday following rumours of coordinated central bank action, he said:
“In the end, the central banks can’t do this on their own. And I think for the markets to assume that this can be fixed by yet another round of quantitative easing or whatever you want to call it—LTRO—I think that’s not realistic, because this is no longer just about liquidity. It’s about the solvency of governments, the solvency of banks.”