Tag Archives: European governments

Europe’s Energy Crisis Presents A Real Danger, by Daniel Lacalle

Europe’s governments have created an energy crisis for Europe. A severe winter could be disastrous. From Daniel Lacalle at app.hedgeye.com:

Europe’s Energy Crisis Presents A Real Danger - AdobeStock 9699481

This week the wholesale price of electricity has exceeded the psychological barrier of 200 euros per megawatt hour in most countries of the European Union.

Although the daily price currently only affects 15% of the energy sold, since the rest is locked for almost twelve months since last winter at much lower prices, it is a sign of future risk. Thousands of contracts are going to have to be revised with huge price increases in the next three months when the locked contracts expire.

The price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has soared to $34/mmbtu delivered in December and January. In comparable energy terms it would be about $197 per barrel of oil equivalent, according to Morgan Stanley. Meanwhile, the price of natural gas (NBP) has risen more than 200% in 2021.

The price of CO2 emission rights has increased more than 1,000% since 2017, and more than 200% in 2021. This concept, which is a hidden tax for which the governments of the European Union are going to collect more than 21 billion euros in 2021, adds to the inflationary spike.

These extraordinary tax revenues should be used to mitigate the price increases in consumer bills and avoid an energy crisis in Europe that will sink the recovery.

Two key factors explain the rise in energy prices and in both there is a responsibility of governments: The forced closure of the economy is a key factor to understand the damage generated in the supply chains, and the prohibition of investment in gas resources and abandoning nuclear in Germany has led to a more volatile and expensive energy mix in peak demand periods.

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ECB Spawned Mass Culture of Financial Dependency that’s Now Very Hard to Undo, by Don Quijones

The ECB has become many European governments’ biggest creditor. That presents a problem, because sane private lenders will not lend to these government at the ECB’s ultra-low and negative interest rates. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

Right at the front of the monetary welfare queue is the government of Italy.

As the Eurozone economy continues to grow, pressure is rising on Europe’s biggest bond buyer, the ECB, to withdraw from the market, a process it has already begun. No one believes that more than the head of Germany’s Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, who recently told Spanish newspaper El Mundo that the ECB should soon set a date to end its multi-trillion euro asset-buying program.

”The prospects for the evolution of prices correspond to a return of inflation to a level sufficient to maintain the stability of prices,” he said. “For this reason, in my opinion, it would be justifiable to put a clear end to the buying of bonds by establishing a concrete date (for ending the program).”

Weidmann, who is hotly tipped to replace Draghi in 2019, has been one of the most vocal critics of the ECB’s QE program.

“Central banks have become the largest creditors of nation states,” Weidmann noted. “With our program of bond purchases, the financing conditions of Member States depend much more directly on monetary policy than in normal times. This could lead to political pressure on the ECB board to maintain lax monetary policy for longer than would in fact be justified from the perspective of price stability.”

Though it has lowered its asset purchases to €30 billion a month, the ECB has pledged to keep buying until at least September. But with the Eurozone economy growing faster than it has since the crisis and inflation comfortably above 1%, the ECB is widely expected to wind down the program thereafter. “If the economy continues to do so well, we could let the program run out in 2018,” ECB rate-setter Ewald Nowotny told Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

But what would that mean for the countries, companies, and banks that have grown to depend so much on the ECB’s extraordinary largesse?

To continue reading; ECB Spawned Mass Culture of Financial Dependency that’s Now Very Hard to Undo