Eurozone is doomed, warns Bank of England ex-governor – business live

All the day’s economic and financial news, as Mervyn King says that eurozone countries must leave the euro to escape “crushing austerity and mass unemployment”

King: Eurozone is “extraordinarily dangerous”
Greece needs cheaper currency, less debtWhy Germany could quit the euro

8.46am GMT

European stock markets have opened lower, amid disappointment that the world’s top finance ministers didn’t announce any concrete measures at their meeting last week.

In London, the FTSE 100 has shed 38 points, or 0.6%, to 6057 points.

Markets are kicking off the last trading day of February on a rather downbeat note with the weekend’s G20 meeting of finance ministers in Shanghai almost appearing to have muddied the waters, rather than provided any clarity.

Policymakers appear to be in agreement that they need to act in a coordinated manner, but given the reactions we’ve seen so far, that certainly doesn’t appear to be the case.

Related: UK officials ‘instigated G20 Brexit warning’

8.21am GMT

Merkin King also warns that Greece needs debt relief and a cheaper currency:

As he puts it:

It is evident, as it has been for a very long while, that the only way forward for Greece is to default on (or be forgiven) a substantial proportion of its debt burden and to devalue its currency so that exports and the substitution of domestic products for imports can compensate for the depressing effects of the fiscal contraction imposed to date.

“It is evident that the only way forward for Greece is to default […] and to devalue its currency.” M’kayy Mervyn King.

I liked it better when Mervyn King was boring.

8.19am GMT

The Chinese stock market has closed at its lowest level in a month, as fears over the global economy dogged trading floors again.

At one stage, the Shanghai Composite was heading for a 15-month low, before finishing down 2.8%.

[Finance ministers delivered an]….admission of downside growth risks but no tangible commitments to fiscal policy action in particular to bolster growth in the short term”

China’s stocks hit 15-month low after only vague G20 commitments on growth

8.18am GMT

As a devoted Aston Villa fan, Lord Mervyn King must have relegation on the brain right now.

EG: I simply don’t understand the case for “temporary” Euro exit. Huge invite to speculative attack. Either it’s irreversible or it isn’t.

8.10am GMT

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the Telegraph’s international business editor, reckons King’s intervention is very significant.

This is huge. Nobody has more credibility than Mervyn King. If Otmar Issing joins him, walls will come crashing down

7.56am GMT

Lord King also suggests that Germany, rather than Greece, might pull the trigger on the eurozone.

He writes:

Germany faces a terrible choice. Should it support the weaker brethren in the euro area at great and unending cost to its taxpayers, or should it call a halt to the project of monetary union across the whole of Europe?

The attempt to find a middle course is not working. One day, German voters may rebel against the losses imposed on them by the need to support their weaker brethren, and undoubtedly the easiest way to divide the euro area would be for Germany itself to exit.

7.47am GMT

Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England, has fired a fierce broadside at the eurozone – claiming the single currency block may be doomed.

“Monetary union has created a conflict between a centralised elite on the one hand, and the forces of democracy at the national level on the other. This is extraordinarily dangerous.”

The more likely cause of a break- up of the euro area is that voters in the south will tire of the grinding and relentless burden of mass unemployment and the emigration of talented young people. The counter-argument – that exit from the euro area would lead to chaos, falls in living standards and continuing uncertainty about the survival of the currency union – has real weight.

If the members of the euro decide to hang together, the burden of servicing external debts may become too great to remain consistent with political stability.

7.24am GMT

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

It may be February 29th, but investors aren’t exactly leaping for joy this morning. Asian markets are falling, and European bourses are likely to follow suit.

Down day ahead…disappointment on no coordinated action from #G20

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