So that’s where Heidi Moore went then

At one point (could still be for all I know…ah, checking, no, she’s moved) The Guardian’s US economics editor. Now apparently at Mashable:

Greece said it will close its banks on Monday after a wild weekend in which worried Greeks lined up at ATMs to withdraw their savings, and European banks said they would not extend the country’s economic bailout past Tuesday.

Umm, there are no European banks saying anything at all about extending a bailout. There’s the European Central Bank, saying that it won’t increase the Emergency Lending Assistance. But calling that a “European bank” is exactly the same as calling the Federal Reserve an “American bank”. European banks as banks, just aren’t involved in this. Greek banks, yes, the central bank, yes……

Could it be that we’ve actually found an economic reporter not even good enough for The Guardian?

The European Commission requires Greece to make major cuts to its budget before it can get the final payment. Greece, in turn, doesn’t want to make the spending cuts, which it believes will hurt Greek retirees and weaken its social services.

Umm, what spending cuts? There’s tax rises galore but in the actual document she links to no spending cuts. Tax rises, yes….

Greece has to pay about $1.8 billion on Tuesday to the IMF, which lent it money for the last bailout. There’s a lot of pressure here, since no country has ever defaulted on a loan to the IMF.

Snigger….Sudan, Peru, Liberia, DR Congo, Somalia, Panama, Zambia, Guyana, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Iraq……

No advanced nation has defaulted on the IMF since WWII, true, which means since the IMF was set up. But that “advanced” is a pretty important qualifier.


As with consumer foreclosures or bankruptcies, a default shows a country to be untrustworthy in its intention to pay back its debt, which, in turn, makes it hard to borrow more money. At the least, countries that default have to pay very high interest rates to borrow again — and since they default in the first place because they’re broke, they can’t afford high interest rates, either.

Interest rates are usually lower after a default. For the debt burden is reduced, see?

Greece may not get away so easily, however, because it is not a standalone economy, but is instead integrated into the 19-member European Union.

That’s the 19 member eurozone, not the 28 member European Union. and it’s the EU which is the Single Market into which Greece is integrated.

If Greece leaves the EU — a “Grexit” — then it will undermine the entire purpose of the economic union, which is to see its members through all troubles.

Grexit refers to Greece leaving the eurozone, not the EU.

Importantly, the ECB also said it will not increase its aid to Greek banks to make up for the money lost as citizens keep pulling out their money.

Greece’s banks are already surviving on a financial lifeline from the country’s central bank — an unusual move that the European Union allowed to keep the country from an economic crash while the fate of its bailout is being decided.

The ECB is the country’s central bank. The Bank of Greece is just the local office of the ECB.

To understand how extreme that is, consider the equivalent in the U.S., which would mean that Bank of America and Wells Fargo would survive not by doing business, but only on loans from the Federal Reserve. (That, by the way, has never happened).

What? The Fed has never provided liquidity assistance? What the hell was TARP then? Exchanging cash for qualifying assets…..

Greece fully expects the ECB’s ELA — remember, that is the emergency liquidity — to keep the country’s bank’s afloat.

Hey, we’re all guilty of the grocers’ apostrophe occasionally…..

Alternate Greek Finance Minister Nadia Valavani

Deputy Finance Minister

Not all of these are important corrections of course. But I do think it’s interesting that we’ve managed to find this rara avis. Someone whose economic reporting isn’t up to the standards of The Guardian.

At one point, when she was there, I managed to get Larry Elliott to insist that her stuff was nothing to do with him…..

15 thoughts on “So that’s where Heidi Moore went then”

  1. I listened to Justin Smugboy on R4 this morning make exactly the point about no country ever having defaulted on the IMF and thought to myself what ill-informed paternalists these people are. It’s the bigotry of low expectations exhibited so often by Ironman and his friends in the Scooter of Justice-riding community. Sudan, Liberia, Panama, Zambia, Guyana, Vietnam etc… they’re pretty much all populated by black, brown or yellow people so we can’t expect them to live up to our high standards.

  2. The ECB is the country’s central bank. The Bank of Greece is just the local office of the ECB.

    No, the Bank of Greece is the Greek central bank; it’s much more than a branch of the ECB. For example, from the ELA procedures document “ELA means the provision by a Eurosystem national central bank (NCB)…Responsibility for the provision of ELA lies with the NCB(s) concerned. This means that any costs of, and the risks arising from, the provision of ELA are incurred by the relevant NCB.”

  3. “No advanced nation has defaulted on the IMF since WWII, true, which means since the IMF was set up. But that “advanced” is a pretty important qualifier.”

    Question is, when Greece defaults will they count it as an “advanced” nation, or next time this happens will they insist the no advanced default record is still unbroken?

    OK, Greece is advanced compared to DR Congo and Somalia, but is it in a radically different category to Peru, Panama and Yugoslavia (when that existed)?

  4. SJW,

    This means that any costs of, and the risks arising from, the provision of ELA are incurred by the relevant NCB.

    All EU members pay membership fees based on their wealth, then receive money from the EU based on their wealth. Greece are a net recipient, aren’t they? Greece aside, that system means that, in general, any EU claim about a national government having to bear the costs of anything is a bit dodgy. “You have to pay for this. As long as you can afford it. If you can’t afford it, we’ll give you money. But you still have to pay for it.” Hmm.

    As for risk, that’s what this whole bun-fight is about, isn’t it? Anyone think that Greece is taking on all the risk of its own default? The Germans don’t.

  5. “when Greece defaults will they count it as an “advanced” nation”: well, many of them are quite swarthy. On the other hand, for a couple of thousand years they were undoubtedly “advanced”.

  6. “If Grexit means only leaving the Eurozone, what the hell is Brexit?”

    The Lord’s house hath many exits.

  7. Brexit is when Britain leaves the EU. That means that a new era of libertarian freedom and prosperity will be ushered in. Cigarettes may be smoked freely in pubs again, asylum seekers and chavs shot on sight, and no one need worry about food hygiene rules or vacuum cleaner power standards ever again. Truly, the post-Brexit government will dismantle the state and all its pesky prodnosing.

  8. > The ECB’s ELA

    That is correct use of the apostrophe, no grocers involved. The ELA belongs to the ECB so it is possessive, and there is only one ECB so the apostrophe goes before the s.

  9. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Wow, that’s a Vox-level pooch-screwing there. Has ideological conformity always trumped competence in journalists or is this solely a New Media phenomenon? Perhaps it’s that they always were this prone to writing error-riddled shite but before the disintermediation brought about by the Internet, any rebuttal or factual correction was confined to the Letters to the Editor section, whereas now we have, inter alia, this blog.

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