Saturday, June 30, 2012

Merkel blinks at EU summit; markets rally

Europe backed away from the abyss yet again as Friday's EU summit produced another bailout to solve its ongoing debt crisis.  Germany's Angela Merkel is widely seen as the loser in this struggle between southern debtors and northern creditors as Germany accepted the demands of Italy, Spain and France to share their debt burden.  Now the European Central Bank will be able to buy Spanish and Italian bonds as a mean to keep a lid of interest rates.  The ECB will also oversee an EU-wide banking regulatory agency in order to stem the banking crisis.  Spain's teetering banks will receive an injection of €120 Billion directly from the European Stabilization Mechanism (ESM), which is the latest incarnation of the EU's bailout fund.

Global markets cheered the news as the US stocks rose sharply and posted a 2% gain on the week.  After a mostly negative week, the Dow closed at 12,880 while the S&P 500 finished at 1362.  Indian stocks also shook off the doldrums as the Sensex climbed more than 2% closing at 17,429.  The Nifty broke above resistance and ended the week at 5278.  From an astrological perspective, the summit deal was a very appropriate reflection of the Uranus-Pluto aspect.  While I thought we might have seen a little more disruption and uncertainty in the run up to the deal, I did expect some kind of resolution to the crisis last week.  The twin stations of Venus and Saturn are often associated with market reversals so we did see an interim bottom in US and European markets.  And as I noted in last week's post, the Uranus-Pluto square aspect was indicative of some kind of fundamental disruption with the status quo and pointed to some major changes ahead.  As it happened, we did see the beginnings of a new EU emerge as a result of this summit, as the member states have forged an agreement towards closer integration.  The EU did not just throw more money at their problems but rather created a new banking regulator to ensure sounder lending practices in the future.  Also, Germany finally agreed to allow the buying of Eurozone debt by the ECB.  This had been a major sticking point since the Germans did not want to let their indebted members off the hook without strict austerity.  The EU may now be slowing evolving beyond a simple currency union into a more tightly knit economic and political federation.

Despite Germany's dominant position in the EU, it is widely seen to have caved into the demands of the other members in the interest of long term viability of the Eurozone.  Perhaps it was no coincidence that Germany also lost to Italy in the semi-finals of the European football tournament on the same day that the EU summit deal was struck. These patterns of fortune and luck tend to operate on many levels, perhaps as a reflection of planetary movements.  For her part, Angela Merkel is in a difficult spot these days as Saturn is stationing in close aspect to her Sun.  This can be an oppressive influence which lasts for many weeks due to the slower than normal motion of Saturn around its retrograde cycle.   Saturn transits to the Sun can erode self-confidence and drain the vitality of a person to take the initiative.  Merkel may well have simply lacked the fortitude to assert herself in the face of a more organized opposition from France, Italy and Spain.  From an outcomes perspective, Sun-Saturn transits tend to simply deny the wishes of a person and force them to accept less than they wanted.  It is a tough transit for everyone, even powerful leaders of large countries.  The fact that Merkel's Sun is tightly conjunct Uranus and square Neptune probably makes Saturn's influence that much more oppressive since more planets are involved with the transit affliction.

We can also see her probable frustration during this summit through the exact Mars square transit to her natal Mars.  This is usually a tough influence to handle and often correlates with unworkable situations, anger, and victimization by others.  It has been reported that Hollande (France), Monti (Italy) and Rajoy (Spain) essentially ganged up on Merkel and held the Germans hostage to their demands for debt sharing. With that strong Mars and Saturn influence in Merkel's chart, it was quite likely that their efforts would be successful.  Saturn's continuing slow velocity for the next month or two suggests that Saturn will continue to exercise a negative influence on Merkel over the summer. I would be particularly concerned of the effects on her when Mars and Saturn conjunct on or around 15 August.  This conjunction will form a very close square aspect to her Sun so she is more likely to confront intense and challenging situations around that time.

This week looks like we could see some follow through to Friday's rally.  Saturn's negative influence is receding here a bit as it moves forward while Venus will form aspects to Uranus and Pluto by midweek.  Mercury will join that favourable alignment on Tuesday and Wednesday so that is another potential source of optimism.  The early week conjunction of Jupiter with Ketu (South Lunar Node) may be somewhat unsettling, however, so that could correlate with some profit taking, perhaps on Monday.  Wednesday's US holiday closing suggests that gains may be more likely to occur on Tuesday or Thursday.