Thursday, April 15, 2010

Markets Call Greece's Bluff

Unsurprisingly the markets are highly skeptical of Greece's commitment to restoring its shattered economy, and the efficacy of the EU/IMF bailout pledge.

As such the interest rates on Greek debts is soaring.

The key issue wrt the much hyped bailout, is that it is only a pledge. The paperwork has not been signed, and there is every reason to suppose that at least one Eurozone country will veto it.

In fact a quartet of German academics is putting its money where its mouth is, and is mounting a legal challenge to the bailout.

The group will ask for an injunction to block the transfer of German funds, until the court has ruled. It contends that the European Central Bank has broken EU law by bending collateral rules to help Greece.

Germany's Handelsbatt newspaper has cited sources warning that the bill for the bailout may be three times as high as thought, making the EU share €90BN.

The legal challenge will hold up the bailout package for months, thus undermining any confidence that the markets may have had in the package.

Dr Karl Albrecht Schachtschneider, law professor at Nuremberg and author of the complaint, has told The Daily Telegraph that he will be ready to file within days and will ask the court for an expedited procedure.

There is a sting in the tail, according to Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas, speaking to the Telegraph:

"It could lead to Germany itself being catapulted out of the currency union. Once investors begin to fear this, there will not be single euro in further financing for the EMU periphery."

The quartet recognises the fundamental truth (the "elephant in the room" if you will) of the situation. Taking on more debt will not solve the problem, it merely puts off the day of reckoning. The inevitable solution that Greece needs to enact is to leave the Euro, and to allow its currency to fall.

At some stage or another this will occur. The longer it takes Greece to bite the bullet, the harder the pain will be when they do leave the Eurozone.

Ironically, to make matters worse, Greece intends to enact legislation that will bite the hand the feeds it. It will implement a 20% tax on villa extension.

Who, aside from the British, have the most villa extensions in Greece?

Oh, that would be the Germans!

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