The German Squeeze Play (by Vandalay)

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One of the phenomena that behavioral economists and psychologists have identified as being part of our decision making process is happening now. The perils of complexity refers to the phenomena where the more complex a decision the more we fall back on simplistic solutions.

In the case of Greece, the number of variables, parties involved and lack of precedents has resulted in the market saying in effect " This is too hard to figure out so I'm just going to wait until it is easier to quantify, then I'll re-price the risk"

Meanwhile Germany is exhibiting the classic signs of an employer who really wants an employee to quit, but doesn't want to pay severance.  Over the last few weeks Germany has progressively increased the cost to Greece of staying in the EU by introducing tougher conditionality for any release of funds. Germany wants Greece to leave so that it can redeploy the funds where it is less likely to be a money sinkhole. But they want the process to be sufficiently drawn out that the market has time to adjust. In this regard they are mostly succeeding. We now have Dutch EU Commissioners openly talking about Greece leaving the EU and the market doesn't even blink.

However the market has not priced in the risk because it is too complex. If Greece leaves, as I now think they will, there will be a re-pricing of risk. It will not be a Lehman event, but it should be the catalyst for at least a modest (2-5 %) correction.

Just don't ask me when…..