Friday, April 23, 2010

Greece Formally Asks for Bailout; Euro Markets Rally on Moral Hazard Party

In what appears to be the final iteration in a long and winding journey - after months of denying it would actually need a bailout (circa Bear, Lehman, Fannie, Freddie), Greece has formally requested funds overnight.  Just as the "bazooka" Hank Paulson promised would never be needed for Freddie & Fannie the "loaded gun" that was on the table which would dissuade speculators, apparently didn't have any bullets.

Of course markets are giddy ....

While we're at it the EU and IMF should begin planning ahead and create plans for Portugal and Spain - might as well get ahead of the curve.

Via AP:
  • Greece will ask for a joint eurozone-International Monetary Fund financial rescue on Friday, a Greek official said, as market pressure pushed the debt-ridden country's borrowing costs to unsustainable levels.  Prime Minister George Papandreou was to make an announcement asking for the activation of the plan during a visit to the remote Aegean island of Kastelorizo on Friday, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the official announcement.
  • The rescue package will provide Greece with loans from other eurozone countries to the tune of euro30 billion at interest rates of about 5 percent, and about euro10 billion from the IMF.
  • Until now, Greece's Socialist government had insisted it prefered to tap bond markets for its borrowing requirements and avoid calling for a rescue.
  • But on Thursday, borrowing costs spiralled to alarming and unsustainable levels, pushing interest rates for Greek 10-year bonds to nearly 9 percent.  The spike came after after Moody's credit agency downgraded the country's sovereign rating and the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat revised Greece's budget deficit in 2009 to 13.6 percent of gross domestic product from 12.9 percent, and said it could be further revised by up to 0.5 percentage points. 
  • The interest rate gap, or spread, between Greek 10-year bonds and German ones -- considered a benchmark of stability -- began to narrow on news that the government would trigger the mechanism, falling to 5.52 percentage points from Thursday's alarmnig highs of 5.86 percentage points.

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