Friday, August 19, 2011

Sterling Stuff

"We appear to be entering most dangerous time for Europe since World War II." Marshall Auerback

If the end game for the euro really is upon us (as argued by Marshall Auerback, quoted above), what are the (short run) options for Ireland? Going back to the punt would be a big punt. Pun intended. If that's Plan A then maybe we need a Plan B. Like switching to sterling instead?

I'm not the first to consider the idea - James Green thinks there are many more reasons for switching to sterling. But it does have the advantage of an established conversion rate of exchange that would instantly reprice all contracts, debts etc in sterling rather than euro.

There would be many problems with such a scenario (even if the British consented to the arrangement - a mighty big 'if'). Not the least being that sterling has strengthened against the euro (or rather the latter has weakened against sterling), so Irish exporters could find themselves disadvantaged as a result of any further strengthening by the pound.

In reality, it's an arrangement that neither the British nor Irish authorities would welcome. But then neither will be very happy to seen the disappearance of the euro either.

Lots (and lots) of turbulence ahead...

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