LA SFIDA ITALIANA

(dal Lexit’s Digest No. 24, 24 October 2018)

Il World Economic Outlook del Fondo Monetario Internazionale (FMI) dell’ottobre 2018 prevede che nubi scure si raccoglieranno sopra l’area euro. Le proiezioni di crescita economica per il 2019 sono state nuovamente riviste al ribasso all’1,9 per cento per la zona euro e ad un magro 1 per cento per l’Italia. L’economista Ashoka Mody sottolinea che il FMI è sempre stato eccessivamente ottimista con le sue previsioni di crescita in passato e per quanto riguarda l’Unione europea, sottolinea: “Insieme alla decelerazione del commercio mondiale dall’inizio dell’anno, la crescita della produzione industriale ha subito un brusco rallentamento nei grandi paesi europei: Germania, Francia e Italia. Con la continua decelerazione del commercio globale, la proiezione dell’FMI dell’1,9% di crescita dell’area dell’euro nel 2019 appare altamente irrealistica”. Mody sostiene, inoltre, che il programma di acquisti obbligazionari della Banca centrale europea è stato un fallimento e che con il rallentamento della zona euro già in corso la BCE ha raggiunto i suoi limiti politici. In particolare, Spagna, Portogallo, Grecia e Italia potrebbero nuovamente trovarsi di fronte a gravi crisi.

Da qui la “sfida italiana”: il governo del Movimento delle Cinque Stelle (M5S) e della Lega hanno proposto un bilancio per il 2019 con un deficit del 2,4 per cento, sostenendo che stimolare la crescita economica contro queste pessime prospettive sia il compito più importante. Il ministro per gli affari europei Paolo Savona ha inviato alla Commissione europea un lungo documento che illustra la posizione del governo italiano. Il documento sostiene politiche “keynesiane” e critica educatamente la politica economica e monetaria dell’UE degli ultimi decenni.

La Commissione ha però respinto il progetto di bilancio del governo italiano e chiesto una sua revisione. Si va verso una sfida all’OK Corral tra i due? Tom Gill prevede “una tempesta in Europa”, con l’Italia al centro, un’analisi vivace e interessante.

Nell’articolo diversi link ai contributi ed ai documenti citati.

 

Lexit’s Digest No. 24, 24 October 2018

The Italian challenge

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) October 2018 World Economic Outlook predicts dark clouds gathering over the euro-area. Economic growth projections for 2019 have again been revised downwards to 1.9 per cent for the euro-zone, and to a meagre 1 per cent for Italy. Economist Ashoka Mody points out that the IMF has always been overly optimistic with its growth projections in the past and why. Concerning the European Union, he points out: “Along with world trade deceleration since the start of the year, industrial production growth has sharply slowed in the large European countries — Germany, France, and Italy. With continued global trade deceleration, the IMF’s projection of 1.9% euro-area growth in 2019 appears highly unrealistic.” Mody also claims that the European Central Bank’s bond purchasing programme was a flop and that with euro-zone slowdown already under way the ECB has hit its political limits. In particular Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy might again be confronted with severe crises.

Hence the ‘Italian challenge‘: Italy’s coalition government of the Five Stars Movement (M5S) and the Lega proposed a budget for 2019 with a deficit of 2.4 per cent, arguing that stimulating economic growth against those bad prospects is the most important task. Minister for European Affairs Paolo Savona sent the European Commission a lengthy paper explaining the Italian government’s position (the English translation starts from page 19, with equally interesting appendixes). The paper argues quite along ‘Keynesian’ lines and politely criticizes the EU’s economic and monetary policy of past decades. The Commission hit back and insisted that the Italian government revises its draft budget. So is this all heading towards  some ‘shootout at the O.K. corral‘ between Italy and the Commission? And will Wyatt Earp and his helpers win (‘EU-Marshals’ Moscovici and Dombrovskis)  – or the rogue ‘cowboys’ Di Maio and Salvini?

Tom Gill envisages ‘a storm brewing in Europe’, with Italy at its centre – a crisp and interesting analysis. New Europe interviewed economist Sergio Cesaratto on the Italian economy and asked: “Will Italy destroy the euro-zone?” To which Cesaratto coolly replied: “My spontaneous answer would be “I hope so.” (…) Italy will destroy the euro-zone if Brussels pushes the country towards its destruction by market speculation and austerity policies.” Politico thinks that Italy can’t lose the battle with Brussels: “The Commission taking on Rome but not Paris would allow the Italian populists to push their line that the EU is biased against “the people” and widen the gap between Salvini and Emmanuel Macron (…).” So far the Italian government did not bow to the Commission, which issued a harsh ‘negative opinion’ and  insisted on a revision of the draft budget.

In between there are two major problems for Italy: firstly, the ECB will not be supportive in buying Italian bonds to dampen the rise of the spreads. Taking on new debt might therefore become more costly for that country. The rating agency Moody’s already judged Italian bonds just one step above ‘junk’ status. Secondly, the ECB, the Commission and the governments of the EU’s core will promote everything via corporate media etc. to support a ‘plebiscite of the financial markets’ against Italy. Whether the M5S-Lega coalition can cope with that (and how), remains to be seen …

 

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