Those two dreaded worlds - "European contagion" - are starting to slip back into headlines after Portugal's biggest publicly traded bank, Espirito Santo, missed a major debt payment. Whether or not this proves to be the beginning of the next big crisis remains to be seen, though it seems unlikely that this one thing alone will be the catalyst.
Still, John Mauldin, chairman of Mauldin Economics says that various factors around the world are coming together to form what could be a major economic crisis that would impact the United States, Japan and most of developed Europe, or about half the economic output of the planet.
Mauldin recently returned from Europe, specifically Italy, where he says there is at least a little hope that the country, plagued with its own financial and economic woes, is headed down a brighter path.
"You have this fresh, bright-eyed group of reformers in Italy that really think this time...they can reform not just a few laws, they're gonna restructure their entire constitution," he says, adding that the changes include a single body parliament and major reforms to the justice system.
"They're going to do things with labor reforms," Mauldin says, "that alllow foreign direct investment to come in because that's the only way they're going to be able to get out of this."
While that might sound promising he admits it's still a "very, very dire situation," noting that sovereign debt is at 135% and that 145% isn't out of the question.
Still, Italians are confident because they believe fellow countryman and head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, has their back. That remains to be seen.
This of course is just one country. Add in Japan, the U.S. and the rest of developed Europe is at the very least concerned, though he admits we've all been through this many times before and it "won't be the end of the world."
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- Espirito Santo