Column: The countdown begins …
At 10 is the euro crisis, which is now into its third year. The beauty of the crisis is that while questions are raised every year on the disintegration of the euro and the eurozone, it has not quite happened. The ECB has plans to revive the economies and actually thinks that they will follow austerity as it buys back securities. Germany opposed saving Greece and Spain, but finally relented. After all, if any country falls, it will bring down the others. They are all in it together.
At 9 is the US economy. Last year, it was a possible default that made rating agencies trigger-happy. It was actually seriously debated that the US would default on its debt. This year, it is the fiscal cliff that became an issue during the elections when Obama batted for tax increases and Romney for expenditure cuts. But, with Obama coming back, it is the devil or the deep sea. It has to be resolved with either or of the two options. 2013 will witness which way the die is cast.
At 8 are the Fed and the ECB, which sort of competed to induce liquidity into their systems. QE4 looked like a cynical joke at the beginning of the year, but is now a reality.
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