Financial ‘Armageddon’ Will Happen Despite EU Deal: Rogers

According to well-known investor Jim Rogers, the European agreement to fund struggling banks will do nothing to help solve their problems. According to Rogers, not only does this not help the crisis, it makes the problem worse because they are building even more debt.

By: Ansuya Harjani
Published: Friday, 29 Jun 2012
CNBC

Even as markets cheered the agreement by European leaders to allow the direct use of the bloc’s bailout funds to recapitalize struggling banks, well-known investor Jim Rogers told CNBC the move does nothing to help solve the region’s biggest problem, which is its high debt levels.

“Just because now you have a way to get them (the banks) to borrow even more money, this is not solving the problem, this is making the problem worse,” Rogers said on Friday.

“People need to stop spending money they don’t have. The solution to too much debt is not more debt. All this little agreement does is give them (banks) a chance to have even more debt for a while longer,” he added.

After negotiating late into the night, European policymakers agreed on Friday morning that the bloc's bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), would be able to lend directly to recapitalize banks without increasing a country's budget deficit, and without preferential seniority status.

Summit leaders also agreed that euro area rescue funds could also be used to stabilize bond markets without forcing countries that comply with EU budget rules to adopt extra austerity measures or economic reforms.

Countries such as Spain and Italy have been burdened with sky-high borrowing costs – levels seen as unsustainable for governments in the long term.

Rogers argues that the deal does not improve the solvency of indebted nations such as Spain. Spain's central government budget deficit has soared to 3.41 percent of GDP in the first five months of 2012, above the EU limit of 3 percent.

He adds that the governments need to stop coming to the rescue of failing banks, even if it results in “financial Armageddon.”

“What would make me very excited is if a few people went bankrupt or a few people started paying off their debt. We are going to have financial Armageddon anyways, when the rest of the world is not going to give these people any more money.”

“What are you going to do in two, three, four years when the market suddenly says ‘no more money’ and the Germans don’t have more money and the American debt has gone through the roof.”

Rogers says the market euphoria brought on by the news, which saw a surge in Asian stocks, the euro and risk assets like oil, will not last.

“How many times has this happened in the last three years – they (EU leaders) have had a meeting, the markets have rallied, two days later the market says wait a minute this doesn’t solve the problem,” he said.

Rogers, who is an advocate of commodities-based investing, says he is not adding any positions at the moment.

“I own commodities, I’m delighted they are going up today – they are going up a lot. I’m not jumping into anything.”

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