Do we need a new acronym? It is now more expensive to insure against a Belgian default than it is against an Italian one. The comfortably distant notion adopted by richer European countries of a “eurozone periphery” should be deeply challenged by troubles in Brussels. According to MarkIt data, it now costs $240,000 to insure $10m Belgian debt – nearly five times the cost this time last year.

The “periphery” used to mean the PIIGS – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. Increasingly it has been used to mean PIGS – as above but without Italy. But more importantly, perhaps, it meant “somewhere else” to those using the term in the more prosperous north of Europe. The “periphery”, we thought, may be recklessly run or deeply unlucky, but at least it’s somewhere else.

As if that weren’t enough CDS-gloom, the cost of insuring Spanish debt has gone up today, despite China’s pledge Read more