NEW YORK (ETF Expert) -- Many member countries of the eurozone have had to agree to cut spending and increase taxes. Since there is no government stimulus to go around, unpopular austerity measures have placed a noticeable burden on businesses and consumers to grow respective economies.Unfortunately, consumers do not appear to be capable of ending the region's recession. In the 17 countries using the euro, wages are growing at the slowest pace since the final quarter of 2010. Spain, Italy and Portugal are battling a deflationary spiral where lower prices are hampering wages and demand. Worse yet, the entire area's unemployment rate is trending higher; the eurozone's rate currently sits at a record high of 11.9%.
In truth, even as U.S. stocks have catapulted higher through the month of March, Vanguard Europe ( VGK) has waffled since the start of February; the exchange-traded tracker remains below its 2013 February highs. Meanwhile, CurrencyShares Euro Trust ( FXE) has declined steadily since February first began.
What can one expect going forward? The debtor member countries will beg to borrow more, but their cries will be ignored by the wealthy and spendthrift Germany. Just as the citizens of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and others take to the street to protest austerity, German citizens will protest endless bailouts for its overspending neighbors. In other words, in the springtime and a part of the summertime, one should expect eurozone disharmony to cause the euro-dollar and European equities to take a hit. By September, however, the investing environment might improve markedly. Not only will there be efforts by the ECB and IMF to shore up confidence in the region's future (lower rates might be a possibility), but the German elections will have concluded. At that time, we could see a more stimulative and more accommodative German government. For now, conservative investors should simply stay clear of the region's stock ETFs until the German election draws closer. More aggressive investors could consider shorting the euro via ProShares UltraShort Euro ( EUO). Follow @etfexpert This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.