Portugal next as EMU's Máquina Infernal keeps ticking
The Portuguese seemed baffled - and pained - that investors should link their country in any way with Greece or Ireland. I am afraid they must come to terms very soon with some unpleasant facts.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard 6:00AM GMT 22 Nov 2010
So must Europe’s leaders, who comfort themselves that Greece is a special case because it cheated, and that Ireland is a special case because it allowed its "Anglo-Saxon" banks to go berserk. They have yet to acknowledge the deeper truth that monetary union has insidiously destabilised much of Europe and trapped a ring of largely innocent countries in depression.
So with some trepidation, let me point out that Portugal will have a current account deficit of 10.3pc of GDP this year, 8.8pc in 2011, and 8.0pc in 2012, according to the OECD. That is to say, Portugal will be unable to pay its way in the world by a huge margin even after draconian austerity.
This is the worst profile in Europe.(...)
The origins of this crisis go back to Portugal’s fateful decision to push for euro membership at least 20 years before it was ready.(...)
Portugal saw its competitiveness destroyed by the boom, and has never been able to get it back. (...) It has lost swathes of low-tech industry to Chinese and East European rivals faster than it can create high-tech alternatives.
Portugal has in a sense been the victim of EMU, a casualty of ideology, wishful thinking, and untested academic theories by Nobel laureates about optimal currency unions.
É bom perceber-se que a retórica dos nossos políticos não engana quem eles julgam. Há quem saiba fazer contas. E há analistas sem papas na língua.
Evans-Pritchard termina com uma proposta que, embora já me tivesse passado pela cabeça, ainda não tinha visto escrita preto-no-branco: que em vez de serem Portugal e os restantes PIIGs a sair do euro, saia antes a Alemanha, que tem capacidade para se aguentar sozinha e até valorizar a sua moeda, enquanto talvez os países do Sul conseguissem fazer adequar o euro às suas economias mais frágeis.