The continued Greek tragedy - Outside View by Asad Dossani

Helping You Build Wealth With Honest Research
Since 1996. Try Now

  • MyStocks

MEMBER'S LOGINX

     
Login Failure
   
     
   
     
 
 
 
(Please do not use this option on a public machine)
 
     
 
 
 
  Sign Up | Forgot Password?  

The continued Greek tragedy
Jun 6, 2011

The Greek tragedy has taken another turn. It appears as though a new bailout package will be put in place so that Greece can continue to fund itself for the next two years. The new bailout will impose further restrictions on Greece; require deeper austerity measures, and greater privatization by the government.

When Greece got its first bailout, it was expected to more the sufficient to fund its deficits up to a point where Greece would be able to return to the markets to borrow. Unfortunately, Greece was not able to bring down its deficit as quickly as planned, and is still unable to borrow from the markets; current 2 year bond yields stand at 25%.

So why does Greece need a second bailout so soon after the first one? Why is the yield on Greek debt so high that the market practically expects a default to take place? In fact, the most recent S&P ratings downgrade puts Greece at one of the worse levels available. It is quite clear that the first bailout was a failure, and there is nothing to suggest the second one will succeed.

The reason the first bailout failed, and the second one will too, is that Greece is insolvent. For a bailout to work, they would have to be illiquid, rather than insolvent. An entity that is illiquid is one that is unable to raise funds in order to service its debt. But crucially, their debt level is not unsustainably high.

Greece, on the other hand, is insolvent. This means that its debt level is at an unsustainably high level. So it will not matter if they can borrow more in the form of a bailout, because it does not affect their overall debt level. A bailout is a case of using one credit card to pay off another.

The only way to solve this problem is to allow Greece to restructure their debts. If the debt is brought to a sustainable level, they will have an easier time servicing it, will not need further bailouts, and can get their economy out of recession. The Greek bondholders (i.e. European banks) have been extremely reluctant to allow this to occur.

The bondholders do not want to take a loss on their debt holdings; for fear that it will affect their own solvency. The European authorities also do not want this to occur because of fears that it could cause undue stress on their banks.

While these are legitimate concerns, there is unfortunately no other solution than for bondholders to incur some losses on their holdings. What the EU and IMF should be focused on is developing a debt restructuring solution for Greece that will cause minimal damage to European banks, while at the same time bring their debt down to a sustainable level. Restructuring will happen eventually, so the sooner this is done, the better.

Asad is an Economics Graduate from The London School of Economics who has also been a part of the currency derivatives team of Deutsche Bank in London. Currently pursuing his PhD at the University of California San Diego where he's researching on Algorithmic Trading Strategies, Asad will be your direct line for answers to all the questions you might have on short-term investing. A part of the Equitymaster Team since 2010, Asad has been sharing his knowledge on short term trading strategies with our valued readers, like you, through our various services. In fact, at the last count, his weekly newsletter, Profit Hunter, was being delivered to more than 100,000 smart traders across the world!

Disclaimer:

The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.

Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "The continued Greek tragedy". Click here!

  

More Views on News

Sorry! There are no related views on news for this company/sector.

Most Popular

Tata Steel vs SAIL: Which Stock is Better? (Views On News)

Jan 13, 2022

With government initiatives set to boost the steel sector, find out who has a better chance of coming out on top.

These 5 Penny Stocks are Held by Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Worth a Look? (Views On News)

Jan 18, 2022

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is holding these penny stocks in his portfolio for several years now.

Tech Mahindra's CTC Acquisition: Too Expensive? (Views On News)

Jan 18, 2022

Tech Mahindra's acquisition of European IT-company fails to excite investors.

Time to Buy Energy Stocks (Fast Profits Daily)

Jan 14, 2022

Energy is a sector that looks set to take off. It's time to get in.

5 Hidden Tata Group Companies to Add to Your Watchlist (Views On News)

Jan 18, 2022

Here's all you need to know about these five Tata group stocks that aren't as popular as the others.

More

Become A Smarter Investor
In Just 5 Minutes

Multibagger Stock Guide 2022
Get our special report Multibagger Stocks Guide (2022 Edition) Now!
We will never sell or rent your email id.
Please read our Terms

MARKET STATS