Eurozone Debt Crisis: The Greek Elections Are A Make Or Break Moment (VGK, EUO, FXE, VWO, EWG)

Martin Hutchinson: What happens this Sunday, June 17 , may be the trigger for a final resolution of the Eurozone debt crisis.  Now I understand that you probably don’t follow Greek elections. But this is one you’ll want to keep an eye on. At the moment, it dwarfs the contest between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

In fact, come Monday it will be what every banker, politician and trader is talking about.

In the balance is the very fate of the Eurozone.
ripple effects could be enough to actually bring the EU down.

That’s the first part of the story. Admittedly, it’s not a very pleasant one.

The second part concerns your portfolio, since the solutions will involve more money-printing and, in the long run, more inflation.

But you needn’t worry. We’ve already read the central banker’s playbook for you.

In this case, the message is clear. Don’t buy Europe. But do buy hard assets — whether gold, oil, or other commodities.

These safe-havens are one of the best ways to hedge yourself against these characters and their money printing schemes.

Now that you know why Sunday is so important, here is how it will likely play out-in both the short term and in the long run.

The Make or Break Moment for the Eurozone

It all comes down to power of the ballot.

If the far-left SYRIZA party under its sinister leader Alexis Tsipras wins, even the EU leaders will have no alternative but to throw Greece out of the Euro. It would be the only way to end that monstrous drain on the region’s productive citizens.

However, even if the moderate Antonis Samaras manages to scrape his way to victory, he will be pressured to go back to the table to try to renegotiate the rescue deal just passed in March.

And let’s face the facts here. It is highly unlikely the German electorate is going to put up with this affront.

You can’t really blame them. If you were in their shoes, you’d feel quite fleeced already.

After all, the Germans have been the major funders of bailouts for Greece, Ireland and Portugal, all of them passed mostly at taxpayer expense. All told, hundreds of billions have been issued in new debt, not much of which looks likely to be repaid.

And now, just last weekend, another 100 billion euro at ultra-cheap interest rate loans was offered to Spain to sort out its banking system.

If you’re a German voter, that must absolutely stick in your craw – especially since southern Europeans still have social welfare levels far above yours and aren’t really interested in trimming them back.

Austerity?… “You can’t be serious,” they say.

In fact, France’s new president Francois Hollande last week reversed an increase from 60 to 62 in the retirement age, and promised to make it much harder for companies to fire people.

Meanwhile in Germany, it’s much easier to fire people than it used to be, and the retirement age is an actuarially sensible 67.

How Much Can the Taxpayers Take?

There is also an additional factor that I apprised you of back in April. Called the “Target 2” payments system, it’s a secret flaw that promises to blow yet another hole in the euro.

How big?…

Let’s just say the Bundesbank is owed close to $1 trillion by the central banks of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal-every nickel of which is above and beyond the bailouts.

Of course, if those countries default, the German taxpayer will have to bail out the Bundesbank, on top of any other obligations.

It makes you wonder how much the German electorate can take before they decide to throw in the towel.

Either way, in the short-term you can expect more bailouts – regardless of which way the Greek election goes. At the moment, France, Spain, Greece, Ireland and the rest of the tottering dominos are simply “too big to fail.”

For investors, that means you need to stick to things of real value – especially as the central banks go into overdrive.

But it won’t last. When the Germans decide to leave the bar, the party’s over.

Further Reading:

Martin’s take on the Eurozone elections and their aftermath has been spot on. In this article on May 4th he predicted that Nicholas Sarkozy’s days were numbered. Two days later, Francois Hollande began to grab the reins of power…

But what should concern you is what he said in this article. In April he warned that while everybody is watching Spain, it’s France that could topple.

Consider it something to put on your radar screen.

Related: Vanguard European ETF (NYSEARCA:VGK), ProShares UltraShort Euro ETF (NYSEARCA:EUO), CurrencyShares Euro Trust (NYSEARCA:FXE), Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEARCA:VWO), iShares MSCI Germany Index (NYSEARCA:EWG).

Written By Martin Hutchinson From Money Morning

Martin is a Contributing Editor to both the Money Map Report and Money Morning. An investment banker with more than 25 years’ experience, Hutchinson has worked on both Wall Street and Fleet Street and is a leading expert on the international financial markets. At Creditanstalt-Bankverein, Hutchinson was a Senior Vice President in charge of the institution’s derivative operations, one of the most challenging units to run. He also served as a director of Gestion Integral de Negocios, a Spanish private-equity firm, and as an advisor  to the Korean conglomerate, Sunkyong Corp. In February 2000, as part of  the Financial Services Volunteer Corps, Hutchinson became an advisor to  the Republic of Macedonia, working directly with Minister of Finance Nikola Gruevski (now that country’s Prime Minister). The nation had been staggered by the breakup of Yugoslavia – in which 800,000 Macedonians lost their life savings – and then the Kosovo War. Under Hutchinson’s guidance, the country issued 12-year bonds, and created a market for the bonds to trade. The bottom line: Macedonians were able to sell their bonds for cash, and many recouped more than three-quarters of what  they’d lost – to the tune of about $1 billion. Hutchinson earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Cambridge University, and an MBA from Harvard University. He lives near Washington, D.C.

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