Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Euro ranking

A post from Simon Hedlin Larsson (relayed by Buttonwood's notebook) invites readers to use the graph I reproduce below. That's a great opportunity to start this blog cheaply, as the big work is already done, and all what's left to do is throw a few comments.

The graphs shows how government debt evolved in the EU over a five-year period from 2006 to 2011.
  • For most countries, debt increase is surprisingly moderate (below 15%) given the recession that occured over the period.
  • Debt of Italy increased (as % of GDP) only slightly more than that of Germany, and less than that of Netherlands. Debt increase of Spain ranks just after that of France. This is not exactly what you would believe if you read economic headlines recently.
  • But by far the most interesting observation is United Kingdom, just behind Portugal, and only ahead of Greece of Ireland. Yet, UK does not face punishing rates, and its economy, although in no good shape at all, is not sinking into the death spiral that hit the South.
Do you believe it's got something to do with the fact that UK still has its own currency and its own central bank?
And would that in turn suggest that the root of the problems in the other countries is the Euro, rather than deficits?