Now it is obvious that the battle for the euro is entering an altogether more dangerous phase. Italian and Spanish government bond yields rose again on Monday to their highest levels since the euro’s launch in 1999. So did the premiums that investors demand to buy Italian and Spanish debt rather than top-quality German bonds. “Decoupling”, or the notion that Italy and Spain have inoculated themselves against contagion from Europe’s outermost nations, is being ruthlessly exposed in debt markets as an illusion.The Telegraph has a similar theme (hidden away in its business section):
Continued deadlock over how to contain the crisis raises the risk of Athens being forced into a disorderly default, which could wreak havoc on the global financial system, or of other, bigger economies becoming swept up also.
The yields, or returns, on Spanish and Italian 10-year government debt hit euro-era highs over 6pc as investors demanded greater reward to shoulder the risk. The borrowing costs implied by such yields close to the levels where governments can not afford to fund themselves and must be bailed out, said analysts.
"If we reach 7pc on Spain and Italy, we are probably approaching very quickly the point of no return," said Nicola Marinelli, a fund manager at Glendevon King Asset Management. "Once the market is shut, it is shut for good. The examples of Greece, Portugal and Ireland are clear."
Don't blame last Friday's stress tests on European banks for the rising sense of panic in bond and stock markets on Monday. Yes, the stress tests, by ignoring the question of what happens if Greece defaults, failed to inspire greater confidence in the European banking system. The real problem, however, remains the same: the apparent refusal of eurozone leaders to act as if they believe that the survival of the single currency is at stake.I'm not keen on baked beans but if I were I would be stocking up on them tomorrow.
Without firm action, investors will conclude that eurozone politicians – specifically the German chancellor Angela Merkel – simply lack the will or electoral authority to fight to save the single currency. It will be Rescue Thursday – or Black Friday.