The EU is getting very concerned about the financial crisis in Greece. The embattled country must raise some 11.5 Billion Euros (~$20B USD) by May, and the clock is ticking. A bailout plan conceived of 2 weeks ago is beginning to fall apart over reluctance to submit to IMF authority. Even Germany’s Bundesbank is skeptical, issuing a report calling the IMF the “Inflation Maximizing Fund”. Greece is planning a new bond sale targeting U.S. investors, pitching themselves as an “emerging market”, a status usually reserved for speculators. Asia has already turned their backs to Greece. The yield on 2-year Greek bonds soared from 5.2% to 8.3% in just ONE WEEK!
As a result of this chaos, the markets in the Euro Zone have reacted negatively. The Euro itself has lost ground to the U.S. dollar. Things got a touch quieter when Greece announced they plan to cut their budget deficit by 40%. Imagine if we had to do that! That would be the equivalent of Obama cutting some $600-700 Billion in spending! Obama did call for another of those $100 Million dollar cuts in some departments. What a joke!
Germany still appears to be a major stumbling block for the Greeks. Athens would like to be able to borrow money at rates similar to Portugal and Ireland, also in financial trouble. They are paying about 4.5% interest, where as Greece is being forced to borrow at 6%. But German Chancellor, Andrea Merkel remains steadfast in insisting that Greece borrows at a ‘market rate’ that justified the potential moral hazards.
In between strikes and riots in the streets, Greek citizens are taking action themselves. In the past 2 months, Greek citizens have begun moving their money across the borders to safer havens. Some 10 Billion Euros worth of cash and assets have made the exodus to escape a potential collapse. Fears still persist that Greece may default on it’s loans. This is why the Euro Zone markets are getting hammered. After the news of the bailout deal last month, everyone had hoped that the financial contagion would be contained. But, it is now looking like all bets are off and all parties involved are heading back to Square One, with the clock ticking louder and louder.
Maybe it is time for David Bowie to do a remix of his classic, “Panic in Detroit”? “He said he was Goldman Sachs. Had a deal for lots of cash. Sold me mortgage-back securities. They turned out to just be trash. Now I’m a victim…, of the Casino Gulag Banks! Panic in Athens! Oh-oh-oh-oh. Putting on some clothes I went to the Bundesbank. Andrea Merkel told me to get lost. I screamed and ran to tap the IMF for a loan. But their interest rates were too high for the cost.” Though given what’s going on in Motown these days, there is little difference between there and Athens.