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3 Key Elements to Watch for European Solution

Behind the scenes, these regulatory changes are already occurring. In an obscure article posted on July 5 by Reuters, we discovered that the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) recently brought in a new Chairman two weeks ago named Hans Hoogervost who is anti-mark to market and has already proposed a solution to the European debt crisis known as IFRS 9.

If Greek and other troubled European bonds can be marked at cost, as IFRS 9 allows, rather than marked to market, then those banks holding the bonds would not be required to raise capital to meet regulatory requirements. "There are many people in the Commission who think we should adopt it quickly because it gives us a little more leeway in terms of Greek government bonds," Chairman Hoogervost said.

This new IASB Chairman is all of a sudden the most important man in the world. If he can get this new accounting regulation passed, it will signal an end, once and for all, to the European debt crisis that we have had to deal with on and off for the last 12 months.

2. Austerity. 50% of the root cause of European economic weakness is traced to its socialist system that provides jobs to unproductive labor. For Europe to succeed, it needs to reform the excess out of its economic system. This process is happening.

3. A higher dollar. The other 50% of Europe's economic weakness can be traced to the low dollar. Because the United States is suffering from a prolonged housing crisis and 25% of U.S. jobs are in limbo because of it, the Fed/Treasury has had to manipulate a low dollar in order to boost exports and make up the macroeconomic difference. The United States will always be the most important country in the economic pecking order and if America needs a low currency, it will get a low currency while Europe is left to suffer the consequences.

Over time, the dollar will rise and Europe will once again thrive as the euro weakens. But this will take time. In the meantime, Europe needs to pass austerity measures and restructure debt without causing bear raids on the banks. If it can do those two things, we will avert a disaster.

All eyes should be on the IASB and the passage of the new accounting regulation IFRS 9. Once that is passed, we can all move on from the threat of a Europe recession trigger. Until it is passed, we will continue to deal with intermittent market disruptions caused by contagion fears.

Jason Schwarz is an option strategist for Lone Peak Asset Management in Westlake Village, Calif. He is also the founder of the popular investment newsletter available at Over the past few years, Schwarz has gained acclaim for his market calls on the price of oil, Bank of America, Apple, E*Trade, and his precision investing in S&P 500 option LEAPS. His book, The Alpha Hunter, is set to be released by McGraw Hill in December 2009.
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