Manufacturing PMI numbers have come from Italy, Spain, and the broad E.U. this morning and all outcomes were recessionary. In the meantime Greece has announced its intention of pursuing a buyback program for some of its debt, which investors would have to agree to, and Germany has publically stated via Angela Merkel that a debt write-off is in the cards.
None of this should be a surprise to those who were cynical from the beginning and guessed that Germany would eventually agree to a debt write-off. But what few are saying is that in order to even get to that point, it remains wishful thinking. This because for Germany to agree to a voluntary reduction of debt owed, it would need to see Greece has stopped bleeding and is capable of managing its own ship in a few years time and that further debt write-offs will not be asked for. But is that actually possible? It remains a huge question that even with all of the aid already given to Greece and the promised money to come, that the nation can actually get its entire hands around the problems that plague it and create strong enough growth to muster a semblance of stability. Germany has admittedly said in a subtle way that it understands the dangers if Greece were to leave the Euro, but is Greece strong enough long-term to heal its real problems? And as a cautionary note, it must be said that Rajoy of Spain this weekend implied that all of the austerity measures taken by his nation may not be enough to get out of its own mess.
So December has not exactly started off with holiday cheer. While Wall Street didn’t lose major ground last week, nor did it gain significantly. The EUR remains strong as it appears all the major currencies, as Pimco pointed out this weekend, are in fight to make themselves weaker. Gold has traded slightly higher this morning, but remains at the lower boundaries of its short-term range. Crude Oil has consolidated near short-term highs.
There is a parade of data and news events coming this week. The PMI data from Europe did nothing to warm investors hearts this morning, but it was not expected to. The U.S. and U.K. will also be releasing Manufacturing PMI numbers today. Central Banks including the BoE and ECB will meet later this week, and jobless numbers will come from the States.
It could be a week that traders find wider ranges as caution starts to becoming entangled with the volatility of rumors that swirl because of news flow. Many investors may choose to sit on the fence and see what the days ahead bring from E.U. meetings, discussions about the ‘fiscal cliff’ from the U.S., and cold hard data.