Post Tagged with: "Greece"

When do we decide that Europe must restructure much of its debt?

When do we decide that Europe must restructure much of its debt?

By Michael Pettis It is hard to watch the Greek drama unfold without a sense of foreboding. If it is possible for the Greek economy partially to revive in spite of its tremendous debt burden, with a lot of hard work and even more good luck we can posit scenarios that don’t involve a painful social and political breakdown, but […]

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How to look at the Greece bailout deal

Yesterday, Greece received an agreement in principal to extend its existing bailout program for another four months from the institutions administering that program. I believe this deal is a good basis for further work down the line. But Greece has a lot of work ahead of it, if it is to move to a new program. Moreover, Syriza will have to sell this deal as a bridge to the sustainable economic outcome it sold to its electorate in the January elections. At the same time, the Germans and the Finns at a minimum will have to sell this deal to their parliaments for it to work. Some thoughts below

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Negotiating strategies and political constraints regarding Greece

I am going to leave my market-based analysis and enter the murky waters of the political economy. I don’t like the uncertainty of the political economy, given how it is based on the quixotic and unpredictable actions of individuals. But the political economy is important in crisis situations and one cannot analyze an outcome properly without taking the politics into consideration. I was a diplomat at one point in time and hope that experience will aid me here. I have been good at understanding some of the political constraints in Europe so far and intend to discuss them here.

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A decision-tree framework for thinking about the Greek – Troika negotiations

This is a short post to update you on Greece. I continue to believe a deal can get done. Recent events demonstrate this is so. Nevertheless, the potential for policy error remains high. Brief thoughts below using a decision tree model framework

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Tax Anticipation Notes: A Timely Alternative Financing Instrument for Greece

Tax Anticipation Notes: A Timely Alternative Financing Instrument for Greece

The recent election of an explicitly anti-austerity party in Greece has upset the prevailing policy consensus in the eurozone, and raised a number of issues that have remained ignored or suppressed in policy circles. Expansionary fiscal consolidations have proven largely elusive. The difficulty of achieving GDP growth while reaching primary fiscal surplus targets is very evident in Greece. Avoiding rapidly escalating government debt to GDP ratios has consequently proven very challenging. Even if the arithmetic of avoiding a debt trap can be made to work, the rise of opposition parties in the eurozone suggests there are indeed political limits to fiscal consolidation. The Ponzi like nature of requesting new loans in order to service prior debt obligations, especially while nominal incomes are falling, is a third issue that Syriza has raised, and it is one that informed their opening position of rejecting any extension of the current bailout program.

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Syriza and the French indemnity of 1871-73

Syriza and the French indemnity of 1871-73

The euro crisis is a crisis of Europe, not of European countries. It is not a conflict between Germany and Spain (and I use these two countries to represent every European country on one side or the other of the boom) about who should be deemed irresponsible, and so should absorb the enormous costs of nearly a decade of mismanagement. There was plenty of irresponsible behavior in every country, and it is absurd to think that if German and Spanish banks were pouring nearly unlimited amounts of money into countries at extremely low or even negative real interest rates, especially once these initial inflows had set off stock market and real estate booms, that there was any chance that these countries would not respond in the way every country in history, including Germany in the 1870s and in the 1920s, had responded under similar conditions.

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Yanis Varoufakis on fiscal waterboarding and Ponzi austerity

Yanis Varoufakis had a long interview on RT’s Boom Bust yesterday going into detail behind his political candidacy and what he expects SYRIZA to do regarding the unsustainable debt burden that the Greek government now has. Overall, despite his problems with the eurozone’s institutional structure, Yanis believes Greece leaving the eurozone would be a catastrophe for the simple fact that it does not have a currency and any attempt to leave would be seen as a prelude to a massive devaluation, inviting capital flight on a grand scale. This would be a catastrophe for the Greek banking system and wider economy.

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The rise in periphery bond yields is sovereign debt crisis, round 2

I have long warned that the euro crisis was going to return. But recently the concern I voiced in posts here was more concrete i.e. that the renewed recession fears in Europe would force a decoupling between the periphery and the core in the Eurozone. This seems to be occurring.

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Country by country macro update, part 2, September 2014

Country by country macro update, part 2, September 2014

This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. Yesterday, I did a broad overview of four markets of interest to global investors. And I wanted to continue my thoughts on this here with a few more markets and with a deeper dive into some of my thinking about the UK. Britain, Part 2 In the […]

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Edward Harrison’s Ten Surprises for 2014, Update 2

Edward Harrison’s Ten Surprises for 2014, Update 2

This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. Today is the time to update you on how my 2014 surprises are faring and why. Just to remind you, the surprise list is based on Byron Wien’s list of ten surprises which he has been conducting for the last thirty years. Surprises are events to which […]

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Why the European sovereign debt crisis is not over

Why the European sovereign debt crisis is not over

This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. The present period of optimism is built upon two factors. First, when push came to shove and Italy and Spain were faced with default, the ECB stepped into the breach. Periphery bonds outside of Greece are perceived to have a backstop from the ECB that will limit […]

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Edward Harrison’s Ten Surprises for 2014, Part 2

Edward Harrison’s Ten Surprises for 2014, Part 2

Yesterday, I began my Ten Surprises List. As a reminder, the surprise list is loosely based off Byron Wien’s list of ten surprises which he has conducting doing at Blackstone and Morgan Stanley for the last thirty years. Wien defines his surprises as events to which investors assign 1-in-3 odds of happening but which he believes have a more than 50 percent likelihood of occurring in 2012. If the list is mediocre, I should get 3 or 4 out of ten. If I guess right at 50% odds, I should get 5 of ten. Anything above 5 means I had a good year.

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