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Anorak | Isn’t this a surprise! Greece will need another bailout!

Isn’t this a surprise! Greece will need another bailout!

by | 29th, August 2013

Supporters of the far-right party Golden Dawn hold up Greek flags and a sign that reads in German ''Merkel get out'' during a protest outside the Germany embassy in Athens on Friday, March 22, 2013. The party protested Germany's lead role in Cyprus' bailout crisis, as the island remains on the brink of bankruptcy. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

LOOKS like the Germans are finally waking up to reality here, admitting that Greece will need another bailout.

Ms Merkel’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, admitted last month that Greece will need another bailout, raising fears among Germans that they will have to foot the bill.

On Sunday, the Chancellor refused to rule out another aid package but dismissed debt haircuts, which would hurt Germany as the country with the largest exposure to Greece.

“I am expressly warning against a haircut,” she said. “It could create a domino effect of uncertainty … in the eurozone.”

On Monday, Greek finance minister Yannis Stournaras said his country may have to renegotiate its bailout terms in a bid to ease its debt burden.

He told a German newspaper this could involve lower interest payments and more time to repay €240bn in loans.

Greece also faces a finance black hole of up to €10bn (£8.6bn).

There are actually two entirely different things going on here. The first is that black hole of €10 billion: they’re already talking about how they’re going to paper that one over. The idea is that all of us EU people will kick in some extra structural funds to build stuff in one of the poorest EU countries. The Greek Government can then not spend €10 billion on doing that and can, instead, fill up that black hole. The advantage of doing it this way is that structural funds come from all EU members: funds to fill the euro black hole would only come from eurozone members. So, in this manner they get to make us Brits pay for problems with the euro.

The other problem is that €240 billion. There’s absolutely no way at all that Greece can ever pay this off. No chance. Only two things can happen and a haircut is one of them. All the people who currently hold Greek debt are told that €100 of it is now €50 of debt and that’s that. The problem here is that it’s almost all governments and the European Central Bank that hold this debt and they aren’t going to say yes. So that won’t happen.

The only other way of doing it is to cut the interest rate on that debt down. And also extend it. So that it doesn’t need to be paid back in 10 or 20 years, but in 50 or 100. If the interest rate is low enough then Greece can afford to pay that: and in 50 or 100 years’ time then inflation will make sure that the repayment isn’t a problem.

And so we come back to the only two things you can ever do about excessive government debt: default or inflate. And there’s been a number of us saying this all along: it took the European politicians years to manage to make both necessary.



Posted: 29th, August 2013 | In: Money Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink