The euro will be dead in five years. At least that's the headline at Britain's Daily Telegraph, which this weekend published the results of its survey of 25 economists.
Twelve of the economists said the euro wouldn't last past the current Parliamentary term, eight thought it would, and five were undecided. While few would have predicted the euro's demise a year ago, the Telegraph says "the travails of Greece, Spain, and Portugal in recent weeks, plus German Chancellor Angela Merkel's acknowledgement that the currency is facing an 'existential crisis,' have radically shifted opinion."
The crisis has hammered world markets. Banks have taken the worst hit, of course: National Bank of Greece
Motley Fool Global Gains analyst Tim Hanson was once skeptical of the euro's chances, but after his research trip to Greece at the height of the crisis in March, he's softening his stance. He told me today that "there's more will in Europe to preserve the euro -- at least among this generation of politicians -- than I had anticipated."
If officials had an out, Tim says, it was the crisis in Greece as well as troubles in Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and Spain. Instead, they've opted to fix things. "That will have significant long-term ramifications, and one of them is that it pulls the monetary union closer together despite the perilous financial position they're putting themselves in."
There is opportunity in all the turmoil. For investors looking to play it conservatively, Tim suggests keeping an eye on large multinationals with significant euro exposure, like Philip Morris International
Fool analyst Rex Moore has lots of southern exposure. He owns no companies mentioned in this article. Philip Morris International is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. Diageo is a Motley Fool Income Investor choice. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.