As Greek officials begin bailout negotiations with the country’s creditors this week, the economic impact of the debt crisis may not have been as bad as initially thought — at least in the short term.
Longer term, though, the Greek economy, as well as China’s stock market collapse, is troublesome and may reflect deeper economic issues across the globe.
When Greece defaulted on its International Monetary Fund loan in late June, global stocks got pummeled. The Chinese stock market collapse also weighed down stocks on exchanges in New York, London, Frankfurt, Milan and Tokyo with key indices experiencing steep declines as investors feared both crises would have a disastrous impact on the global economy.
But an analysis from IHS Global Insight chief European and U.K. economist Howard Archer said the results of the Eurozone Purchasing Managers Survey indicates that the Greek crisis wasn’t as bad for business as many analysts and investors had thought.
However, David Levy, economist at the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, and publisher of the Levy Forecast, said in today’s research note that economic woes in China and Greece are part of a larger, more complex economic problem plaguing markets across the globe.
For now, though, the near-term impact of the Greek default has been moderate.
“The modest relapse in overall manufacturing and services output in July reported by the purchasing managers suggests that the heightened Greek crisis has only taken a limited — and hopefully temporary — toll on the Eurozone’s recovery,” Archer said in his research note.
Archer said reaching a deal for Greece “will help the Eurozone’s recovery to kick in, although Greece is by no means out of the woods and a lot could yet go wrong.” He added that current conditions could position the Eurozone for a “cyclical upturn.”
“For now, we see no reason to change our forecast that Eurozone [gross domestic product] growth will improve to around 1.5 percent in 2015 and then strengthen modestly further to 1.7 percent in 2016,” he explained. “However, it should be noted that overall Eurozone consumer confidence dipped to a six-month low in July, according to a ‘flash’ estimate from the European Commission.”
In the U.S., the Conference Board reported today that consumer confidence declined for the month, and cited economic issues in Greece and China for contributing to the decline.
In a separate report, Levy had a more pessimistic outlook and said neither “Greece’s capitulation to its creditors’ demands nor China’s actions to prop up its stock market changed the likelihood of increased global economic problems in the months ahead.”
“Looking around the world, the private sector of one economy after another is burdened with oversize balance sheets — excessive debt, lofty asset values, stingy operating returns and excess capacity,” Levy said, adding that the “Greek problem is a threat to the Eurozone only because the Eurozone as a whole has excessive debt, overcapacity, overvalued assets and an oversize financial sector.”
Regarding China’s stock bubble, Levy said it is “one of many excesses that make up a Chinese bubble economy, along with severely overextended export capacity, real estate markets, bank debt and shadow banking debt.”
Levy went on to say that these excesses are a “threat to financial stability and together, they are virtually a guarantee that sooner or later, China will undergo a crisis, profound retrenchment and enduring adjustment problems. [The excesses] are interconnected by a complex web of causality. No single part may seem to be a large threat to national or global stability, but as part of a broad global balance sheet correction, each part looks much more ominous.”