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On Belgium's 140% Debt/GDP

Tyler Durden's picture


From Mark Grant, Author of "Out of the Box and onto Wall Street" 

Belgium - A Great Mistake Of Accuracy

“Only by interrogating the other passengers could I hope to see the light, but when I began to question them, the light, as Macbeth would have said, thickened.”

-Hercule Poirot, Murder on the Orient Express

I have now concluded a much more accurate debt to GDP ratio for Spain and Italy that may be found in my prior commentaries. It is a slog, I can assure you, to find accurate information on each country past the size of their Gross Domestic Product. Eurostat does not count sovereign guarantees as part of any ratio and hence the accurate debt ratio, as I have demonstrated, is miles apart from the headline number we are given. It seems that in Europe a contingent liability is just a footnote to any financial statement and not anything of real meaning. Nowhere is the fantasy any larger than in Belgium and nowhere is there a larger detour from the truth.


Belgian GDP    (U.S. Dept. of State)                  $467 billion
Admitted Public Debt                                        $466 billion
Sovereign Guaranteed Debt (Eurostat)            $113 billion
Bank Guaranteed Debt (Dexia, Fortis et al)      $181 billion   
Bank Loans                                                      $  11 billion

Debt to GDP Ratio                                           140%       

So we find, in the case of Belgium, a 40% miss from what is bandied about by the Europeans. Then it should be noted that in the case of Dexia, Fortis et al that the guarantee of contingent liabilities may not be the amount of money that is required and so the situation could still worsen from here. Belgium, in fact, is not much better off than Greece and, as their economy sinks into recession, the numbers and ratios are bound to get worse. Not only do I expect further downgrades for this country by the ratings agencies but I also expect a further rise in yields as the more sophisticated investors grasp the reality of Belgium’s issues and respond accordingly.

“There those who have to exercise their little grey cells, and some who lock people ‘in’ them.”   

                                                                              -Hercule Poirot, Dead Man’s Folly

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Mon, 03/19/2012 - 10:58 | 2269632 Jayda1850
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no need to worry Blegium has been made EU HQ, they'll never let them go under.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:01 | 2269641 SilverTree
SilverTree's picture

So what does a Belgium woman tase like?

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:03 | 2269653 fuu
fuu's picture

Don't tase me ho?

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:04 | 2269663 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


Uhhum, Don't cock tase me ho.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:26 | 2269730 The Big Ching-aso
The Big Ching-aso's picture



Well I hope the Belgians don't waffle on their GDP efforts.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:00 | 2269870 tonyw
tonyw's picture

No waffles in my three hour eurpoean lunch and I must be sleepy coz, I can't see where 140% comes from??

Belgian GDP    $467 billion  x  140% = 654b

$466b + $113b + $181b + $11b = $771b which is more like 165% but then again who is counting.



Mon, 03/19/2012 - 15:35 | 2270676 Rahm
Rahm's picture

No need to worry, Belgium's President has this all under control....   oh, wait...

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 05:39 | 2272504 dubbleoj
dubbleoj's picture

take out the eurostat number

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:26 | 2269729 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Chicken... but they smell like fish.


Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:50 | 2269834 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

I hope to find out....and I really like their warm accent (I speak Dutch but life somewhere else).

I'm actually considering moving there. Once reason is there's no capital gains tax.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:05 | 2269886 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

 Once reason is there's no capital gains tax

yeah... HAD no...

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:11 | 2269904 alexwest
alexwest's picture

like French, w/ scent of chocolate waffles.
yummy :()


Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:00 | 2269634 Cognitive Dissonance
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140% Debt/GDP is the new 70% Debt/GDP when you adjust for inflation. <snicker>

Get with it Tyler. It's the new normal....along with ZIRP forever.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:07 | 2269672 Al Huxley
Al Huxley's picture

And also check out that ascending triangle the S & P's tracking.  So the only way it will be able to continue the trend without breaking the lower line will be to open up every day at a preset price on the upper trend line and just stay there all day.  Really looking forward to seeing that - new normal indeed.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:08 | 2269678 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

New normal is HR347 signed over the weekend, they can take all your assets for any reason they like, and its now a felony to protest. The REAL new normal.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:19 | 2269705 Terminus C
Terminus C's picture

Rep. Ron Paul ABSTAINED on the final vote.

Why would he do that?

Tin soldiers and Nixon comin'...

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:26 | 2269736 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Ron Paul ABSTAIN vote....that is some BS right there.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:23 | 2269719 Cognitive Dissonance
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Yes sir. All nice and legal like. You, SheepDog-One, are a domestic terrorist because I say you're one.

But......if you just 'consent' to being sheared....well, we can overlook your little transgression.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:37 | 2269774 WoodMizer
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If Obama visits the new Utah NSA center, can they press charges on all Internet dissenters?

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:03 | 2269881 Terminus C
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don't give them ideas.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:02 | 2269645 fuu
fuu's picture

I keep grabbing upgrades to FL Studio 10. Probably not going to help very much though.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:02 | 2269649 aleph0
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"Belgium, in fact, is not much better off than Greece "

.... & just imagine where they'd be ....  without the Brussels' Money Pot !

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:04 | 2269660 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture


...don't you mean "Brussels' Honey Pot"?

umm......never mind. :)

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:26 | 2269733 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

Belgium does not look all glam, with our old houses and oldest-in-Continental Europe industrial and railway infrastructure ...

But is quietly a very wealthy place, and life here is still quite wonderful, with essentially zero poverty among legal residents here.

1 out of every 140 Belgians is a millionaire.

1 out of every 140 US residents is in prison.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:37 | 2269778 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

And everybody who wants to work has a job. 

Indeed, it's not that bad over here.


Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:55 | 2269850 _ConanTheLibert...
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Indeed. I'd say starting from the south of the Netherlands the quality of the food is good. North of that it's pathetic.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:07 | 2269894 Sudden Debt
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you'll never see a Belge go on a gastronomical weekend to holland.


Mon, 03/19/2012 - 13:29 | 2270196 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

haha agreed.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 17:30 | 2271021 ArgentoFisico
ArgentoFisico's picture


Well... ehm ....

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:03 | 2269654 NaiLib
NaiLib's picture

One way of bettering the fiscal situation would be having all the EU employees there to actually pay tax. EU headquarters is an exact

copy of the old Kreml. EU employees/PArliament members/comissioners do NOT pay a single cent in tax.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:41 | 2269946 SlowLoris
SlowLoris's picture

Wrong, that's a myth. EU employees DO pay tax on their salary. Not to their country, but to the European Union. You can find the rates in Regulation (EEC, Euratom, ECSC) No 260/68 of the Council of 29 February 1968 (warning: they're in Belgian francs, you have to convert them to Euro). On top of that they pay a special levy, pension contribution, health insurance, etc.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:04 | 2269656 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Greece, Birthplace of 'Democracy' ..steaming broke

Brussels, HQ of European Politicians ...steamingly bankrupt 

every Parliament in the Western World... steamingly insolvent

Anyone got pattern recognition software, i think i'm onto something?!!

Stop Paying Your Taxes (don't feed the suckers)

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:06 | 2269669 skistroni
skistroni's picture

What is "taxes" ?

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:41 | 2270004 Zero Govt
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if only the rest of us were as clever as the Greeks on that score :)

hear they've 1 or 2 Eurocrats now stationed in Athens to check up on tax collections (robbers) now.. still 2 bwankers representatives versus a few million i don't think they'll make much headway ...keep up the good work over there

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:08 | 2269675 Gully Foyle
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Zero Govt

"Anyone got pattern recognition software, i think i'm onto something?!!"

Here is the rub, they were fine until someone pointed out they were broke or bankrupt.

Maybe, it isn't about being broke so much as getting broke allowing for once thriving states to become equal as to enter in a new global finance system.

One bank to rule them all.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:51 | 2270054 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

I don't think Greece has ever been solvent.. Reggie did some research and they've gone broke every 14 years (approx) for the past Century

..these are habitual suicide 'victims' ..you've got to be a nutter, or a bwanker with easy-money pissing out of your computer like a tsunami, to loan these guys a dime

Regards us all going bankrupt in a daisy chain yes i think that's the NWO plan. They always come up with '1' as a solution: 1 central bank, 1 Govt, 1 money system

technically it's called a monopoly which is a suprising 'solution' coming from global monopolists

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:09 | 2269679 LookingWithAmazement
LookingWithAmazement's picture

Aha, ZeroHedge has found a new Black Swan: Belgium. Greece was not that serious after all and why not try again? Well then. Enter Armageddon. Finally.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:54 | 2270077 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Greece was that serious, and still is and will be more so

did you not notice 'can' and 'kick' and the dull 'thud' of total bloody stupidity that accompanied it


Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:09 | 2269680 monopoly
monopoly's picture

Belgium, ahh, too small to worry about. Gotta buy BAC. Up 100% off its low. What a great investment! Pathetic market.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:13 | 2269911 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture


You're from Easter Island right?


Mon, 03/19/2012 - 15:07 | 2270559 Motorhead
Motorhead's picture

Not to worry.  That dude is just jealous that Belgium has great beer.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:11 | 2269683 azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

As Nigel Farage told Vonrumpboy- it's not a real country

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:44 | 2269806 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

And for people who are totally clueless about geography, remarks like that stick and become truth.



Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:06 | 2269893 dvsteenk
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the French even think Belgium is Nordic, in Viking territory

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:14 | 2269905 Sudden Debt
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I seems every Frenchman has a bathroom, and yet it seems like none of them knows where it is either.


But we like the French. By that I mean the woman.... because they're easy...



Mon, 03/19/2012 - 17:42 | 2271038 ArgentoFisico
ArgentoFisico's picture

Man! You're sayin french but you should be meaning english!

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 17:37 | 2271035 ArgentoFisico
ArgentoFisico's picture

YEAH !!! Let's suppress Belgium! Vlams to Netherland, Wallonia to France and Bruxelles .. make it a Federal District! What? What federation?

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:17 | 2269700 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

What about the US 140% debt/real GDP?

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:31 | 2269750 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Now you know that our debts don't count. we are he world's reserve currency man. Debt schmedt.....no worries. It will all end well.

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