Interview: Schepers talks up eurozone
EBRD executive highlights overall strengths; Multilateral returns to profit
"It’s madness, considering that in aggregate the eurozone is probably the healthiest economic region in the world"
Manfred Schepers, EBRD
"A very stable area" is a phrase that has not been used much recently to describe the eurozone but it’s one to which Manfred Schepers, vice-president and chief financial officer at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, subscribes.
Schepers, who spent 17 years at SBC Warburg and UBS in a variety of senior fixed-income roles throughout the 1990s and early part of this decade, stresses that his view is based on taking the eurozone in aggregate. He is not oblivious to the problems facing individual nations such as Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
Yet he believes that certain facts about the eurozone are overlooked. For example, according to IMF forecasts, for 2010 the eurozone had a current account surplus of 0.2% of GDP, a trade surplus of 2.1%, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 83.7%. This compares with the US, which had a current account deficit of 3.2% of GDP, a trade deficit of 3.5% and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 92.7%.
The eurozone wins too in a comparison of structural deficit and private savings rate.