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Italy's economy was in trouble before the Covid-19 hammer-blow. The new government's ill-fated threat in 2018 to leave the Eurozone, unless Brussels allowed a looser budget, threw the economy into a technical recession, from which it never made a convinicing recovery.
This week's uproar over the ECB's purchases of Italian debt in May--or lack thereof--shows that monetary policy in the euro is never far removed from the political sphere.
The ECB kept its cool yesterday, at the headline level, amid crashing stock markets, volatile BTPs and souring economic data.
Eurozone bond traders of a bearish persuasion are finding it difficult to make their mark ahead of Italy's parliamentary elections next weekend.
German 10-year yields have been trading according to a simple rule of thumb since 2017, namely, anything around 0.6% has been a buy, and 0.2%, or below, has been a sell.
The EU Commission and Italy's government remain at loggerheads over the country's fiscal plans next year.
Last week's detailed Q3 GDP data in Germany verified that GDP fell 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, down from a 0.5% rise in Q2, a number which all but confirms the key story for the economy over the year as a whole.
The Eurozone's external surplus rebounded over the summer, reversing its sharp decline at the start of Q3.
Yesterday's money supply data in the Eurozone were solid across the board.
Judging by interactions with readers in the past few weeks, fiscal policy is one of the most important topics for EZ investors as we move into the final stretch of the year.
We sympathise if readers are sceptical of our opening gambit in this Monitor.
In our Monitor May 15 we described the initial government program in Italy, drafted by the leadership of the Five-Star Movement and the League parties, as a "macroeconomic fairytale."
Today is a busy day in the Eurozone economic calendar, but we suspect that markets mainly will focus on the details of Italy's 2019 budget.
A lot of ink has been spilled over the relative significance of the supply and demand effects of Covid-19, but the short-term story is clear.
The broad strokes of yesterday's ECB meeting were in line with markets' expectations. The central bank left its main refinancing and deposit rates unchanged, at 0.00% and -0.4% respectively, and maintained the same forward guidance.
Yesterday's ECB meeting was a tragedy in two acts. Markets were initially underwhelmed by the concrete measures unveiled, and they were then shell-shocked by Ms. Lagarde's performance in the press conference.
We suspect that today's ECB meeting will be a sideshow to the political chaos in the U.K., but that doesn't change the fact that the central bank's to-do list is long.
In yesterday's Monitor, we lamented the lack of growth in the French economy. The outlook is not much brighter in Italy. We think Italian GDP was unchanged quarter-on-quarter in Q4, slightly better than the -0.1% consensus but still very soft.
Yesterday's economic reports provided further evidence on the state of the world before Covid-19.
The ECB will leave its main refinancing and deposit rates unchanged at 0.00% and -0.4%, respectively,
The Covid-19 crisis has turned the tables on the Spanish economy.
Our colleagues have been telling some unpleasant stories recently.
The split between the reality reflected in the economic data and market pricing has never been wider in the euro area
Poor Q3 GDP Data and Volatile BTPS Ahead...But Markets Already Have Priced-In A Lot Of Pain
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