Tsipras Fiddles While Greece Burns!

Unfortunately in this age of the 30 second soundbite we have a tendency to get bored with stories and events, often long before there has been resolution. This seems to be the case with Greece and it’s inclusion in the the Euro / Eurozone.

Most news reports these days are reporting that there is a “DEAL” already signed and sealed as it pertains to a third bail out for Greece when in fact, negotiations on a potential resolution only began last week.  Furthermore, key players, most notably the IMF, aren’t at the negotiating table, and they likely will stay away unless considerable debt relief is negotiated – not a very likely outcome.

While the negotiations begin, Greece’s economy is plunging further into depression. As reported earlier today, the seasonally adjusted purchasing managers’ index (PMI), fell to 30.2 in July from 46.9 in June. Any reading below 50 suggests contraction in the sector. Furthermore, new business decreased sharply in July, surpassing the previous record set in February 2012, while employment dropped for the fourth straight month in July, and at the steepest pace ever recorded during the 16-plus years of data collection. In addition, production dropped for the seventh straight month in July due to diminished output requirements as new orders plummeted and firms had difficulty in sourcing materials and semi-finished goods for use in the output process.

As if that isn’t bad enough, a quick recalculation of necessary funding for Greece raises the number from $92 billion to around $120 billion, which includes re-capitalizing the Greek banks. According to Mark Grant, the number for the banks is now about $43 billion, and it could be far worse as it appears that loans in default are growing at an alarming rate. Clearly, this will not sit well in Brussels and Berlin, and could bring about even more stringent demands than had been previously thought.

Given the plethora of depressing economic news, it isn’t surprising that the Greek stock market got destroyed today after reopening for the first time in five weeks since the beginning of the country’s capital controls and the announcement of the bailout referendum. The overall Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) index plunged by 22.87% as it opened. That leaves the market at a low not recorded since the middle of 2012.

According to an article in the LA Times, several key participants in the negotiations don’t hold out much hope for Greece’s economy even if a deal is finally completed.  Greece’s own prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, says he doesn’t really “believe in” the new bailout deal he’s hoping to secure for his country. Germany’s top finance official thinks a Greek exit from the euro currency would be better than another costly rescue package. As mentioned previously, even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) doubts a bailout will work without major debt relief from Athens’ creditors, few of which appear willing to offer any.

To hear these key players tell it, the rescue plan they’re currently concocting to save Greece from bankruptcy is either a bad idea or doomed to fail. Yet they’re pressing ahead anyway, despite the questions that their own public statements raise about their commitment to keeping Greece solvent, helping its economy grow and preserving its membership in the Eurozone.

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