Monday, July 13, 2015

Greece -- an deal has been stuck, but will it stick?

One clause of the Greek/EU/ECB/IMF agreement felt wrong; Sunday trading -- this was considered an essential change that Greece has to enact.  Greece had to allow, even promote Sunday trading, this was an essential demand from Germany.  And yet if you ever travel to Germany (or France) you will notice that everything is shut! If this was so essential to the economic health of Greece, well then you would expect other European nations to enact/have similar laws, but this is not the case.  

The Greeks have just bought themselves a lot of money (necessary) to repay their lenders (German/British and American financial institutions -- and the providers of credit protection (CDS) must be breathing in relief).  Greece just got $90 billion that should keep them going until early 2016 -- their repayment/refinancing obligations run at around Euro 10 billion a month.  I've not seen/heard about any debt forgiveness or loan extension. 

There is no doubt that massive changes are about to occur in Greece, the Greeks themselves are in for a shock and a difficult time, but they got a taste of economic armageddon when the ECB effectively shut down the banking system.  One item missing from the agreement:  Debt forgiveness.  Greece will never be able to repay its outstanding debts, debt forgiveness should/must be part of the solution, but the asymmetry of power -- Greece has no cards left, allow Germany to dictate terms that itself would never agree to abide by in terms of economic changes.   

It is more than likely that I have lost my bet that Greece will leave Europe and the Euro.  Although my bet still has nearly 21 months until it expires.  The demands on Greece were onerous, the concessions appear to be few, and in fact if Greece could not afford $ 340 billion in debt, I am not clear how an additional $90 billion will help -- it just seems to me that the can was, once again, kicked down the road (BTW I am fully aware that most of the $ 90 billion will be used to refinance existing debt... so the overall debt burden may not rise as much as $ 90 billion).

Time will tell 


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