Europe’s rescue euphoria threatened as Portugal enters ‘Grecian vortex’
Monetary contraction in Portugal has intensified at an alarming pace and is mimicking the pattern seen in Greece before its economy spiralled out of control, raising concerns that the EU summit deal may soon washed over by fast-moving events.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
27 Oct 2011
Data released by the European Central Bank show that real M1 deposits in Portugal have fallen at an annualised rate of 21pc over the past six months, buckling violently in September.
“Portugal appears to have entered a Grecian vortex and monetary trends have deteriorated sharply in Spain, with a decline of 8.4pc,” said Simon Ward, from Henderson Global Investors. Mr Ward said the ECB must cut interest rates “immediately” and launch a full-scale blitz of quantitative easing of up to 10pc of eurozone GDP.
The M1 data – cash and current accounts – is watched by experts as a leading indicator for the economy six months to a year ahead. It has been an accurate warning signal for each stage of the crisis since 2007.
A mix of fiscal austerity and monetary tightening by the ECB earlier this year appear to have tipped the Iberian region into a downward slide. “The trends are less awful in Ireland and Italy, suggesting that both are rescuable if the ECB acts aggressively,” said Mr Ward.
A shrinking money supply is dangerous for countries with a high debt stock. Portugal’s public and private debt will reach 360pc of GDP by next year, far higher than in Greece.