Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sounding the Alarm About Japan

05/26/10 - 11:35 AM EDT

Europe has captivated the headlines the past six weeks with concerns about whether Greece will be able to pay back its debts given the required austerity measures it has been forced to take and its already slow-growing economy. Investors also have worried about the ramifications this thorny situation could have on richer countries in the European Union like Germany and France if they decide they no longer want to be on the hook to bail out Greece or another weak sister country such as Portugal, Spain, or Italy.

We know this situation has been brewing in Europe for some time. We've known about the fiscal situations in these southern European countries, yet the problems have always been off in the future so that we could ignore them. It wasn't really until there were riots in the streets of Athens that the markets really got awakened to the gravity of the situation.

The drop in the euro has been so severe that the other members of the EU have been forced to look into the abyss which those of us in America did in September 2008. Nothing focuses a man's mind like knowing he's going to be hung in the morning, said Samuel Johnson. That's exactly right. The situation in 2008 forced America to act and Europe is now forced to do the same.

I suspect the rescue package, which still has to be formally ratified by all the countries, will take hold. Frayed nerves will calm over Europe with time, just as they did following the Troubled Assets Relief Program in the U.S. and the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing campaign. The can of Europe's problems has been effectively kicked down the road so that we'll be able to go back to collectively forgetting about Greece for a while.

However, there is potentially a bigger and more dangerous sleeping giant out there for world markets: Japan. Despite a few hedge fund managers sounding the alarm about Japan last year, little attention has been paid to it of late because -- just as with Greece -- nothing bad or newsworthy (like violent street riots) have occurred there yet.


[This post is an excerpt of the full article, which is available on by clicking here. Free Site.]

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