Michael Hintze, the billionaire boss of CQS, one of London’s biggest hedge funds wrote to investors warning them that France could trigger another more dangerous phase of the debt crisis and break the Eurozone recovery which is expected to happen in H2.
In a note to investors, Mr Hintze said:
While Cyprus has stolen the news headlines of late, I am concerned that the eurozone’s problems could soon turn to the ‘core’, and in particular the focus could be on France.
He also noted:
“A loss of confidence in France would shift the eurozone’s troubles to a higher plane. France lies not only at the core of the eurozone, but is also one of the original architects of the European Union. Clearly, a loss in confidence in France would likely have far-reaching consequences; its impact on the EU, the broader global economy and markets.”
Finally, he added:
“Rising social unrest, especially among young people, could hamper the French government’s ability to push through “deeper economic reforms that are required. President Hollande’s ability to drive structural reform may be limited by his ability and willingness (and the Socialist Party’s support of him) to pursue the deeper economic reforms that are required – the tax and benefits system, deep reductions in government spending and public administration, and extensive reforms to pensions and the labour market.”
France could be a real problem to the extent that the country, which represents almost 20% of Eurozone GDP, came back into reccession in Q1 2013 for the third time since 2008 and the prospects regarding French industry remain pessimistic. As a reminder, French industry executives foresee manufacturing investment spending declining 4% this year, revising down their forecast from January for stable outlays, according to the quarterly survey of the national statistics institute Insee.