By Simon Miller
Usually this is the time of year to wish people a very Happy New Year.
Unfortunately, 2012 promises to be as turbulent as 2011, if not worse, as the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone continues to exercise minds. As ever the issues are ones of confidence and clarity.
Markets need to be confident that the eurozone is able and willing to sort out the mess which it made. As many, including myself, have pointed out the eurozone can only exist as a full fiscal union. The half-measures that are in place at the moment do not aid the troubled peripheral countries and do not give confidence to the market.
Without the necessary debt transfer that true unions have, what we are seeing - and what the debt crisis has exasberated - is a two-tier economy where even in the current climate, Germany can still see growth while its unemployment goes down whilst further austerity measures could lead to further economic and social disruption for the likes of Greece and Italy.
In addition, there is a lack of clarity over what exactly is the rescue plan for the eurozone? With yet another summit in December, what did we get? A rescue plan? Nope. What we saw instead was a further bolstering of the discredited stability pact with no clear plan as to how countries were meant to reach the agreed targets; let alone how they were meant to pay any fines that were levied at them. Although any move to bring stability would be
welcome, these measures were a touch of horse, bolted, and stable door.
The measures were not a plan to rescue the eurozone, they are merely a clue as to the undercurrent of confusion that exists due to the differences in opinion and national interests as to what should be done.
To cheers of joy among Tory backbenchers and commentators, David Cameron walked out of that very same summit after failing to get guarantees over the City. Despite his strong words, the City is still
under threat from European regulation whether it is the demand that only euro-zone clearing houses could clear euro-denominated trades - a breach of single market regulations by the way - to hedge funds, the mission creep of Europe is continuing. Whether the public like the City or not at the
moment, it is a strategic part of our economy and the government must resist all attempts to stifle it in this coming year.
On a lighter note, Financial Risks Today enters its second year with our first anniversary coming up in March. This issue sees the launch of our quarterly survey of trading platforms which we hope all
providers will contribute to over the coming months. As with all launches we are constantly in a state of evolution, looking at what works and what doesn't and I welcome any suggestions from readers over what issues or topics you would like to see over the coming year.
Despite the doom and gloom on the horizon, I would like to close by sincerely wishing all of you a very Happy New Year.