A couple of years back, when Carmen Reinhart and Belen Sbrancia updated the concept whereby governments might deal with a problematic mountain of debt by confiscating the savings of their subjects, the discussion was all about the subtle, sleight of hand solutions that might be employed.
Artificially cheap rates of interest might be forced on the embattled sovereign’s debt, local banks might be obliged to buy mis-priced government paper, exchange controls may be erected, and so on. Ordinary people, it seemed, could be financially repressed without realising they were in fact the victims.
There was no discussion back then of outright expropriation or a “tax”, as insured (and uninsured) depositors at Cypriot banks are now being forced to bear. Read more
A “one-off” often isn’t. Calling something after “stability” isn’t very stable. Saying that something is not a precedent usually makes it one.
Presenting the Cyprus bailout’s “upfront one-off stability levy” for depositors in Cypriot banks: Read more
It’s Andreas Georgiou, the head of Greece’s independent statistics agency, Elstat.
We saw this coming from the IMF all the way back in March 2012 — when Greece’s PSI was just over, and vague notions of OSI were already in the air. Read more
Greece may have an ongoing issue or two, but that didn’t stop its government debt rallying 274 per cent in the second half of last year. Clearly, the driver was the reduced likelihood of it leaving/being kicked out of the eurozone, rather than the (dismal) economics.
Gabriel Sterne at Exotix says the run was one of the “most astounding sovereign bond rallies of all time”, but that the bonds are now over-bought. The declining possibility of a Grexit, he says, is more than fully priced in (his emphasis): Read more
Greece has had a break from the headlines recently, but how long can it last? With a banking system that’s soon going to need shoring up again, probably not long. Read more
Greece paid up to 40 cents in the euro for one of the bond in its buyback. Average price: 33.8 cents in the euro.
Or rather wants to pay. It has “advised… official creditors” that it wants another €1.29bn in EFSF notes to purchase all of the bonds tendered, up from the original €10bn.
The results, in table form via this release (click to enlarge): Read more
Yep, this is a Greece post in a series on Argentina and the pari passu saga.
We’ll explain. Read more
Click for details. The Greek PSI bond buyback now closes at 12pm London time on December 11.
Now, is this supposed to be a veiled threat if investors choose not to tend their bonds? From the Greek debt office chief, Stelios Papadopoulos: Read more
You’re just not cool these days if you aren’t operating some sort of circular mechanism to reduce your debt levels in the eyes of the outside world. And it appears that Greece, sick of being bullied by the circular crew, is looking to get in on the act.
We’re talking about the Greek debt buyback, which should be completed on Friday if deadline talk is to be believed. Read more
Much has been made of the buyback announced as part of the latest Greek debt reduction deal. Mainly because more than half of total debt savings agreed are expected to come from the buyback, according to this leaked doc.
The details of how the scheme is might actually work are pretty thin on the ground, but we know from the leak that the plan is to spend €10.2bn (from the EFSF most likely) buying back and retiring bonds. It is expected that this will lead to a reduction of 11 per cent of GDP by 2020. Read more
Gary Jenkins of Swordfish Research aspired to have more thoughts on the latest Greek debt deal by Wednesday morning. Alas, it was not to be:
I was hoping that having had a further twenty four hours to digest the Greek debt sustainability plan that I would have a lot to add to yesterday’s comments, but I don’t. There have been press reports (FT) that the measures to be implemented will only bring the debt/GDP figure down to 126.6% rather than the 124% announced but I think by now we are all used to the initial figures released being subject to revision pretty quickly.
We agree — the figures around Greece always come with implied aspiration. Read more
The IMF’s desired target of a 120 per cent debt-to-GDP ratio by 2020 has been replaced by 124 per cent by the same date — thanks in large part to official creditors taking a lower interest rate on repayments from the original bailout. A lot also seems to hinge on the Greek debt ‘buyback boondoggle’, which is now well and truly on the table. Read more
A deal, a late-night press conference, an inevitable fudging of the numbers. You know the rules.
Eurogroup officials will hold a press conference on Monday night at 11pm CET – or at least, that’s the time given in this link… Read more
One of the following is an autumnal haiku composed on Twitter by Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council. But which is it?
The night has fallen
The bare branches can be seen
Even more lonely Read more
Hat-tip to the FT’s Brussels blog…
Click t0 enlarge — a Eurogroup chart guide on how to cut Greece’s official debt levels (a buyback boondoggle included): Read more
The Eurogroup meets on Monday for the third time in as many weeks to discuss Greece’s finances. Maybe third time’s the charm?
The focus remains on getting an agreement on the country’s medium-term debt sustainability. The reason for that is two-fold. First, it’s necessary to appease the IMF given its insistence on a haircut (which is politically very difficult for many of the member countries). Second, with the German elections taking place next September, it’s seen as best for all concerned to agree some sort of solution that will allow the question of Greece’s longer-term sustainability to be ignored until late 2013. Read more
About that meeting of eurozone finance ministers, ECB and IMF officials that collapsed in the early hours of this morning (at least, until Monday) for ‘further technical work’…
First: looks like our bold call was correct. Um, yay?
Second, Reuters says it has the document prepared for the meeting and circulated among the ministers. Read more
There are so many aspects surrounding Greece’s ongoing refinancing needs still up in the air, it should come as no surprise that the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting of European finance ministers has reportedly been shrunk to addressing how an immediate €15bn gap can be bridged through to 2014. A further €17.6bn seemingly required to take the country through to 2016 can be discussed later. Read more
While Lagarde and Juncker go at it in the policymaker equivalent of hammer and tongs over timetables, there’s a risk here of people forgetting the numbers involved. Because they don’t add up.
Consider these two tables from David Mackie at JP Morgan. Click to enlarge. Read more
Not the kind of youth sacrifice once practiced by the Aztecs, the Inca, and the Carthaginians in order please distant, fickle gods if course. We’ve moved on a bit since then.
Then again, it’s still the younger generation that generally draws the short straw in a crisis… Read more
So, we’re going to the wire once again in the now traditional dance between Greece and the troika. As the FT reported on Thursday:
Eurozone leaders face a new round of brinkmanship over Greece’s €174bn bailout after international lenders failed to bridge differences on how to reduce Athens’ burgeoning debt levels, pushing the country perilously close to defaulting on a €5bn debt payment due next week.
Pushing a fresh austerity package (the price of financing the next stage of the country’s bailout) through parliament on Wednesday night cost the Greek government and Antonis Samaras, the centre-right prime minister, dearly. And while there is no guarantee a repeat performance can be staged, there is every probability the boulder will slip and one will be demanded. Read more
From Gary Jenkins at Swordfish Research:
Strange to think that over 100 million votes cast in the US may have less impact upon the markets over the next month or so than some 300 votes due to be cast in the Greek parliament this evening.
The Greek parliament will vote late Wednesday on the structural reforms and budget cuts demanded by the Troika. Reports suggest that the government will be able to get a majority. But in a last minute attempt to derail the vote, the country’s two main labour unions called a 48 hour general strike that started today.
These are the some of the scenes: Read more
There are some worrying signs about the strength of the Greek government coalition building this week. Between voting abstentions, public disagreements and new strikes, it’s looking ever bleaker. Read more
Greece’s new budget was announced on Wednesday. With it came projections for the country’s economic health. The patient is not well. Even before the government’s own-self assessment of conditions, revisions by the IMF alone revealed the deterioration, as Exotix’s Gabriel Sterne points out in a note on Thursday. More of his analysis further down, but first this from the FT on the Greek government’s figures: Read more