Will what happens in Greece, finally stay in Greece?
A host of doubts still surround the second bailout for the country. The economy is in tatters, there is doubt over the bond swap at the heart of the deal, and a spat over collateral for Finnish loans is continuing. But while Greek bond yields have surged to fresh highs, with the yield to maturity on two-year notes at 46%, the rest of the euro-zone government-bond market hasn't taken fright. That marks a step forward in the crisis.
The euro-zone crisis is solved. It took some doing, but the final pieces are in place.
First, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has promised to reform his nation's no-growth economy. Second, the European Central Bank has agreed to buy bonds of troubled countries, including Spain and Italy. Third, euro-zone leaders have agreed to authorize their bailout fund—a.k.a. the European Financial Stability Facility—to buy euro-zone government bonds in the secondary market. I would add a fourth but it takes irony too far: Euro-zone leaders have benefited from advisory phone calls from President Barack Obama, and Treasury SecretaryTimothy Geithner's warning that they are moving too slowly to confront their debt crisis.
Markets around the world continued to tumble on Friday, responding to concerns of a double-dip recession in the United States and fears that the European debt crisis could worsen. The European Central Bank has begun purchasing government bonds again, and the European Commission is calling for an expansion of the euro rescue fund.
Global financial markets on Friday continued to be rattled over concerns of a double-dip recession in the United States and the continuing European debt crisis. Following heavy losses on Wall Street and Asia on Thursday and Friday, Germany's market opened with stock sales that bordered on panic. Shortly after the opening of trading, the blue chip German DAX index fell by more than 4 percent to 6,152 points, recovering slightly later to a level of 6,220.
Our interactive graphic shows how deeply in hock we all are THE headlines are all about sovereign debt at the moment. But that is only part of the problem. Debt rose across the rich world during the boom, from consumers maxing out credit cards to financial firms taking on more leverage, and the process of reducing it is still at a very early stage.
Moody’s Investors Service cut Portugal’s credit rating to below investment grade on concern the southern European country will need to follow Greece in seeking a second international bailout.
The long-term government bond ratings were lowered to Ba2, or junk, from Baa1, and the outlook is negative. Discussions to involve private investors in a new rescue plan for Greece make it more likely that the European Union will require the same pre-conditions in the case of Portugal, Moody’s said in a statement.
“That’s very significant because not only does it affect current investors, but it is likely to discourage new private- sector lending going forward, and therefore reduce the likelihood that a country like Portugal will be able to regain access to the capital markets at a sustainable cost,” Anthony Thomas, a senior analyst at Moody’s in London, said in a telephone interview yesterday.