Reuters: Greece Defaults!!! Financial Armeggedon To Follow??

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Greece has entered into default under a new bailout and is now able to borrow at a 3.5% interest rate instead of the 40% bankers were forcing them to pay to prevent a default. The question that remains is will financial Armageddon follow as a consequence of the default?

While the masses have been forced into believing that a default by Greece would lead to a global financial Armageddon the event of a Greece default has finally come.

In the surface the default appears to be a positive step forward. It comes as part of a new bailout package under which Greece will now be able to finance their debt over a much longer period of time lowering the payments that need to be made.

As I previously reported Greece was being forced to pay bankers a nearly 40% interest rate on a 2 year bond to prevent them from going into default.

Greece Bonds Collapse, Interest Rates Surge To Near 40% As ECB Announces They Will Allow “Temporary Default”

Greece Bonds Collapse Causing Interest Rates To Surge Near 40 Percent
European bankers have announced they will allow a temporary default on Greece sovereign debt which in turn caused Greek bonds to crash.

The crash, due to the statement of internationals bankers sent interest rates for greece skyrocketing to a nearly 40% yield on their 2 year bond.

Read more…

Now that Greece is actually defaulting under the terms of the new bailout they will no longer be forced to borrow funds that the international bankers have been charging a near 40% interest rate on. Instead the will now be able to borrow funds at a reasonable 3.5% interest rate from other European governments.

Of course, this means that the fears of Euro debt contagion will not most likely be put to rest as the Greece and other nations will now have loan terms that they can actually afford to pay back.

The bailout does however have it’s cons and sets a dangerous precedent of allowing nations to default on their debt.

Reuters reports on the implications of the default and the new bailout package:

Greece defaults

The latest Greek bailout is done — the official statement is here — and it involves Greece going into “selective default,” which is, yes, a kind of default.

[…]

This is a bail-in as well as a bail-out: while Greece is getting the €109 billion it needs to cover its fiscal deficit, both the official sector and the private sector are going to take losses on their loans to the country.

As such, it sets at least two hugely important precedents. Firstly, eurozone countries will be allowed to default on their debt. Secondly, a whole new financing architecture is being built for Greece; French president Nicolas Sarkozy called it“the beginnings of a European Monetary Fund.”

[…]

This is a bail-in as well as a bail-out: while Greece is getting the €109 billion it needs to cover its fiscal deficit, both the official sector and the private sector are going to take losses on their loans to the country.

As such, it sets at least two hugely important precedents. Firstly, eurozone countries will be allowed to default on their debt. Secondly, a whole new financing architecture is being built for Greece; French president Nicolas Sarkozy called it“the beginnings of a European Monetary Fund.”

The nature of massive precedent-setting international financing deals is that theynever happen only once. There’s lots of talk today that this deal is for Greece and for Greece only, but some of the more explicit language to that effect was excised from the final statement. On thing is for sure: these tools will be used again, in future. They will be used again in Greece, since this deal is not enough on its own to bring Greece into solvency; and they will be used in other countries on Europe’s periphery too, with Portugal and/or Ireland probably coming next.

As far as the public sector is concerned, the European Union will do four main things. First, it will extend the maturities on Greece’s debt from the current 7.5 years to somewhere between 15 years and 30 years: the loans that the EU is currently giving Greece aren’t designed to be repaid, in some instances, until 2041.

Second, the interest rate on those loans will be extremely low — essentially, Greece is getting those EU funds at cost, currently about 3.5%. The EU is also extending these ultra-low financing rates to Portugal and Ireland, so as not to implicitly punish countries which don’t default.

Third, the EU will put together its own stimulus plan for Greece. The phrase “Marshall Plan” was taken out of the final statement, but there’s still talk of “mobilizing EU funds” and building “a comprehensive strategy for growth and investment.” This is vague, of course, but it does at least constitute an attempt to help Greece through a period of very painful austerity.

Fourth, the Maastricht treaty will get resuscitated, with all eurozone countries except Greece, Ireland and Portugal committing to bring their deficit down to less than 3% of GDP by 2013. Paul Krugman is screaming about this, but this was a central part of the eurozone project from the get-go, and clearly the eurozone needs some kind of fiscal straitjacket for its constituent members to prevent the rest of them from running up enormous deficits and then getting bailed out by Germany.

Finally, the EU will provide “credit enhancement” for Greece’s private-sector bonds. This is a central part of the default plan, and it looks a lot like the Brady plan of the late 1980s. The official statement from the IIF, which is representing private-sector creditors in this matter, is a little vague, but essentially if you’re a holder of Greek bonds right now, you have three choices.

  1. You can do nothing, and hope that Greece pays you in full and on time.
  2. You can extend your maturities out to 30 years, and accept a modest coupon of 4.5%; in return, your principal will be guaranteed with an embedded zero-coupon bond from an impeccable triple-A-rated EU institution, probably the EFSF.
  3. You can extend your maturities out to 30 years, take a 20% haircut, and get a higher coupon of 6.42%; again, the principal is guaranteed with zero-coupon collateral.
  4. You can extend your maturities out to 15 years, take a 20% haircut, get a coupon of 5.9%, and have only a partial principal guarantee through funds held in an escrow account.

The first option is by far the most interesting. No one has come out and said that Greece is going to default on bondholders who don’t exchange their bonds; instead, there’s just a lot of arm-twisting of big banks to do all this “voluntarily.” But that won’t stop the credit rating agencies giving Greece’s bonds a default rating — this is a coercive deal, which clearly reduces the value of banks’ Greek debt. (After all, just look at those haircuts.)

[…]

Source: Reuters

The statement from the European council on the new bailout package reads as follows:

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Brussels, 21 July 2011

STATEMENT BY THE HEADS OF STATE OR GOVERNMENT OF THE EURO AREAAND EU INSTITUTIONS

We reaffirm our commitment to the euro and to do whatever is needed to ensure the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and its Member States. We also reaffirm our determination to reinforce convergence, competitiveness and governance in the euro area. Since the beginning of the sovereign debt crisis, important measures have been taken to stabilize the euro area, reform the rules and develop new stabilization tools. The recovery in the euro area is well on track and the euro is based on sound economic fundamentals. But the challenges at hand have shown the need for more far reaching measures.

Today, we agreed on the following measures:

Greece:

1.We welcome the measures undertaken by the Greek government to stabilize public finances and reform the economy as well as the new package of measures including privatisation recently adopted by the Greek Parliament. These are unprecedented, but necessary, efforts to bring the Greek economy back on a sustainable growth path. We are conscious of the efforts that the adjustment measures entail for the Greek citizens, and are convinced that these sacrifices are indispensable for economic recovery and will contribute to the future stability and welfare of the country

2.We agree to support a new programme for Greece and, together with the IMF and the voluntary contribution of the private sector, to fully cover the financing gap. The total official financing will amount to an estimated 109 billion euro. This programme will be designed, notably through lower interest rates and extended maturities, to decisively improve the debt sustainability and refinancing profile of Greece. We call on the IMF to continue to contribute to the financing of the new Greek programme. We intend to use the EFSF as the financing vehicle for the next disbursement. We will monitor very closely the strict implementation of the programme based on the regular assessment by the Commission in liaison with the ECB and the IMF.

3.We have decided to lengthen the maturity of future EFSF loans to Greece to the maximum extent possible from the current 7.5 years to a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years with a grace period of 10 years. In this context, we will ensure adequate post programme monitoring. We will provide EFSF loans at lending rates equivalent to those of the Balance of Payments facility (currently approx. 3.5%), close to, without going below, the EFSF funding cost. We also decided to extend substantially the maturities of the existing Greek facility. This will be accompanied by a mechanism which ensures appropriate incentives to implement the programme.

4.We call for a comprehensive strategy for growth and investment in Greece. We welcome the Commission’s decision to create a Task Force which will work with the Greek authorities to target the structural funds on competitiveness and growth, job creation and training. We will mobilise EU funds and institutions such as the EIB towards this goal and relaunch the Greek economy. Member States and the Commission will immediately mobilize all resources necessary in order to provide exceptional technical assistance to help Greece implement its reforms. The Commission will report on progress in this respect in October.

5.The financial sector has indicated its willingness to support Greece on a voluntary basis through a menu of options further strengthening overall sustainability. The net contribution of the private sector is estimated at 37 billion euro.1 Credit enhancement will be provided to underpin the quality of collateral so as to allow its continued use for access to Eurosystem liquidity operations by Greek banks. We will provide adequate resources to recapitalise Greek banks if needed.

Private sector involvement:

6.As far as our general approach to private sector involvement in the euro area is concerned, we would like to make it clear that Greece requires an exceptional and unique solution.

7.All other euro countries solemnly reaffirm their inflexible determination to honour fully their own individual sovereign signature and all their commitments to sustainable fiscal conditions and structural reforms. The euro area Heads of State or Government fully support this determination as the credibility of all their sovereign signatures is a decisive element for ensuring financial stability in the euro area as a whole.

Stabilization tools:

8.To improve the effectiveness of the EFSF and of the ESM and address contagion, we agree to increase their flexibility linked to appropriate conditionality, allowing them to:

-act on the basis of a precautionary programme;
-finance recapitalisation of financial institutions through loans to governments including in non programme countries;
-intervene in the secondary markets on the basis of an ECB analysis recognizing the existence of exceptional financial market circumstances and risks to financial stability and on the basis of a decision by mutual agreement of the EFSF/ESM Member States, to avoid contagion.

We will initiate the necessary procedures for the implementation of these decisions as soon as possible.

9. Where appropriate, a collateral arrangement will be put in place so as to cover the risk arising to euro area Member States from their guarantees to the EFSF.

Fiscal consolidation and growth in the euro area:

10. We are determined to continue to provide support to countries under programmes until they have regained market access, provided they successfully implement those programmes. We welcome Ireland and Portugal’s resolve to strictly implement their programmes and reiterate our strong commitment to the success of these programmes. The EFSF lending rates and maturities we agreed upon for Greece will be applied also for Portugal and Ireland. In this context, we note Ireland’s willingness to participate constructively in the discussions on the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base draft directive (CCCTB) and in the structured discussions on tax policy issues in the framework of the Euro+ Pact framework.

11. All euro area Member States will adhere strictly to the agreed fiscal targets, improve competitiveness and address macro-economic imbalances. Public deficits in all countries except those under a programme will be brought below 3% by 2013 at the latest. In this context, we welcome the budgetary package recently presented by the Italian government which will enable it to bring the deficit below 3% in 2012 and to achieve balance budget in 2014. We also welcome the ambitious reforms undertaken by Spain in the fiscal, financial and structural area. As a follow up to the results of bank stress tests, Member States will provide backstops to banks as appropriate.

12. We will implement the recommendations adopted in June for reforms that will enhance our growth. We invite the Commission and the EIB to enhance the synergies between loan programmes and EU funds in all countries under EU/IMF assistance. We support all efforts to improve their capacity to absorb EU funds in order to stimulate growth and employment, including through a temporary increase in co-financing rates.

Economic governance:

13. We call for the rapid finalization of the legislative package on the strengthening of the Stability and Growth Pact and the new macro economic surveillance. Euro area members will fully support the Polish Presidency in order to reach agreement with the European Parliament on voting rules in the preventive arm of the Pact.

14. We commit to introduce by the end of 2012 national fiscal frameworks as foreseen in the fiscal frameworks directive.

15. We agree that reliance on external credit ratings in the EU regulatory framework should be reduced, taking into account the Commission’s recent proposals in that direction, and we look forward to the Commission proposals on credit ratings agencies.

16. We invite the President of the European Council, in close consultation with the President of the Commission and the President of the Eurogroup, to make concrete proposals by October on how to improve working methods and enhance crisis management in the euro area

Now the question that remain are will a financial Armageddon follow as the media has threaten over and over again? If not will the people of Greece get some relief from the horrendous austerity measures their politicians have forced them to undertake?

 

 

Categories: ECONOMY

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