Merkel & Tsipras latest: good for gold and bad for the euro. Or the other way round. Or something.


This morning, gold is leaping up and down like a seismograph on the San Andreas fault, as everyone waits to see what sort of smoke appears at 5 pm CET from Berlin. And don’t forget we must allow an extra hour for Tsipras to be beaten up before the press conference. The general tenor of feedback so far is that it’s not going terribly well between Geli and the Greek, but she who walks on water is hinting that there may be a way through. “Greece is not obliged to carry out all Troika reforms if they have better ones,” she said last night. Not sure that’s how the IMF sees it, but there you go.

What you believe on this one really depends on what media you normally consume. If you’re American, then Merkel will stand no nonsense and Greece will be Grexited by Thursday. If you’re Irish, then compromise is in the air. If you’re Spanish and have your editorials written by Rajoy, then Greece is letting the side down and should be punished. If you’re a Bild Zeitung fan, German troops are massed on on the Greek border. And if you’re British, Girl, 12, tries to kill mother with bleach for taking away her iPhone.

The problem is, we don’t know what colour of smoke we’re looking for. But if it’s pink and emerging from Merkel’s ears, I think we should fear the worst. Or hope for the best, depending on one’s viewpoint.

Anyway, 5 pm is the scheduled press conference: that’s 11 am EST at the moment. So one thing to keep a very close eye on will be the euro’s value during the US afternoon. If the news from the Reich is anything from woffle to bad, I think I might bring some euros over tomorrow morning. But what I suspect we’re seeing in gold’s mini-recovery is (for once) genuine market sentiment. It’s not just Greece, or the eurozone or even the EU: it’s how the dominoes will start to wobble once people grasp that everything is connected – just not in a positive Buddhist way. The best laid plans of Goldman & Sachs gang aft awry.

Although I continue to feel that Yanis Varoufakis has not acquitted himself very well of late, it is worth going back to his 2010-2012 utterances: they are many and varied, but if nothing else they prove a mind-concentrating point: if by some quirk of fate he’d been the all-powerful EU Finance Minister five years ago, the eurozone would be out of the woods by now. As it is, with every day the euro looks more and more like dead wood.

I’d feel happier if I thought that either Berlin or the ECB’s Prince of Darkness gave a monkey’s about the fate of the euro any more. But I see no sign of it: unless of course they’re both stupid and insane, which I think highly unlikely.

More clarity later. Allegedly.

Yesterday at The Slog: An ageing Tory Party and growing splinter groups spell change