September 2012: Tensions in the air

Central bankers and market participants return from their holidays with a sense that something is about to happen. The tensions in the air – whether over the euro debt crisis, the US presidential elections or the slowdown in the Chinese economy – are palpable. September is often the time, on foreign exchange and capital markets as well as in the wider political arena, when the ‘balloon goes up.’ In this edition, coinciding with the annual DZ Bank-OMFIF central banking seminar, this time in Berlin, Frank Scheidig calls on his native Germany to take greater responsibility for the euro area as a whole. Official financing is a necessity for peripheral countries under great strain from economic rebalancing. Michael Burda says Angela Merkel’s tactics remind him of a Grimm fairy-tale. Roel Janssen looks at prospects for a change of government and shift to the left in the Netherlands, the No. 2 creditor in the euro area after Germany, and asks what this means for consensus on euro area economic reform. Michael Kaimakliotis outlines the pressure on the Swiss authorities to hold the peg against the euro in the face of massive upward foreign exchange pressure on the Swiss franc. Gabriel Stein analyses whether the European Central Bank is serious about money, pointing to the disappointingly slugging growth in broad money since the worst of the financial crisis. Brendan Brown ponders on the implications of what he sees as a rise in ‘monetary lawlessness’ in Europe and the US. Allan Lane explains how Exchange Traded Funds can offer a way out of uncertainty.

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