Daily Archives: May 18, 2012

In my most recent post, The journey towards becoming Japan, I noted the similarities between what has been happening to the US and UK and what happened earlier to Japan. But the question obviously arises: why has eurozone experience been different?

Let us start by looking at what has happened. For this purpose, I compare countries of roughly similar economic size: Germany, France, Italy and Spain, which are, of course, members of the eurozone, and the UK.

The time since the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 can be divided into three periods: 1992-98, which was when interest rate convergence was achieved among the eurozone members; 1998-2008, when all eurozone bonds were treated as being essentially identical, while UK yields diverged a little, from time to time; and, finally, 2008 to today, which has been a period of growing divergence in the eurozone, with Germany acting as safe haven and revulsion from Italian, Spanish and, more recently, even French debt.

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