End Times and Current Events

General Category => Europe => Topic started by: Psalm 51:17 on November 02, 2011, 09:29:19 am

Title: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 02, 2011, 09:29:19 am
G20 summit and Greece

Greek referendum

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 02, 2011, 09:35:21 am
Obama to pitch economic program at Group of 20 summit
By David Nakamura, Published: October 30

President Obama, who has struggled to advance his vision for economic renewal at home, will take his pitch overseas this week to an audience of world leaders who could prove equally skeptical of his message at a time of global anxiety.

“It’s very hard for us to preach the economic gospel to Europe when they watched our debt-ceiling debate here and our [credit-rating] downgrade,” said Heather Conley, director of European programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Obama is scheduled to depart Washington late Wednesday for a two-day trip to Cannes, France, where the heads of the world’s 20 largest economies will gather for the Group of 20 summit. Organizers said the meetings will focus on how to contain Europe’s debt crisis while also trying to forge consensus on a path to stimulating worldwide economic growth, even as many countries, including the United States, wrestle with painful budget cuts.

The trip, the first for Obama outside the United States since he attended a smaller summit in France in the spring, could provide a crucial test of whether his political problems at home have compromised his influence abroad.

In the five months since the last global summit, Obama has focused on the domestic economy, fighting with Congress over ways to reduce the deficit and crisscrossing the nation to promote his $447 billion American Jobs Act, which remains stalled on Capitol Hill.

At a series of bilateral meetings in France, the president is expected to lay out his growth proposals: a mix of immediate spending to create jobs and longer-term fiscal discipline to reduce U.S. deficits.

But Obama faces a tough challenge after pointedly criticizing Europe’s handling of its debt crisis. During a town-hall-style event in Mountain View, Calif., last month, Obama said the Europeans were “scaring the world.”

European leaders struck back, telling administration officials to butt out and focus on their own fiscal problems. The Austrian and German finance ministers chided U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner in September for intervening in Europe’s affairs, with Germany’s Wolfgang Schauble dismissing as “stupid” a bailout idea advanced by Geithner. White House officials counter that the bailout plan adopted last week by European nations to help cash-strapped countries such as Italy and Spain borrow at least a trillion dollars is similar to an idea that Geithner proposed.

“The president said Europe was scaring the world; Europe thinks the U.S. is scaring the world,” said CSIS’s Conley, who was deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs from 2001 to 2005. “We’re both finger-pointing at one another. I do not think the president has lost legitimacy, but it’s just very hard for us to tell other countries what to do.”

On his national jobs tour, Obama has consistently cited Europe’s economic malaise, along with the Japanese earthquake and the uprisings in the Middle East, as factors that have slowed the U.S. economic recovery. The president has called on Europe to take bold action to resolve its debt crisis.

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Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 02, 2011, 09:54:01 am



Leave the Euro zone Although not a given if Greece rejects the rescue package, the country may very likely decide to exit the Euro zone and return to the drachma. Landon Thomas, Jr. at The New York Times explains the downsides to that. "Default on the nation’s $500 billion in public debt would become a certainty, depositors would take their money out of local banks and, with a sharp devaluation of as much as 50 percent, inflation would loom. A return to the international credit markets would take years," he writes. Additionally, John Cassidy notes that "the country’s banking system would probably collapse—it’s pretty much a basket case already—inflation would rise, and there would be a period of chaos."


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 02, 2011, 08:18:36 pm

France, Germany give Greece ultimatum on euro

..CANNES, France (Reuters) - The leaders of Germany and France told Greece on Wednesday it would not receive another cent in European aid until it decides whether it wants to stay in the euro zone.

They also made clear that saving the euro was ultimately more important to them than rescuing Greece.

After emergency talks with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "We would rather achieve a stabilization of the euro with Greece than without Greece, but this goal of stabilizing the euro is more important."

Sarkozy hammered home the same message, telling a joint news conference with Merkel: "Our Greek friends must decide whether they want to continue the journey with us."

Papandreou outraged European partners and caused panic on financial markets by announcing on Monday that Greece would hold a referendum on a second bailout plan negotiated with euro zone leaders last week.

The Greek leader, looking chastened after a torrid dinner with European Union decision-makers that Merkel called "tough and hard" on the eve of a summit of G20 major world economies, said the plebiscite would take place around December 4.

"It's not the moment to give you the exact wording, but the essence is that this is not a question only of a program, this is a question of whether we want to remain in the eurozone," Papandreou said.

Despite opinion polls showing a majority of Greeks, weary of two years of deepening austerity, think the bailout package was a bad deal for Greece, he said he expected more support from the wider population than he could muster in parliament.

"I believe the Greek people are wise and capable of making the right decision for the benefit of our country," he said.

Sarkozy and Merkel said euro zone finance ministers would meet next Monday to speed up decisions on leveraging the euro zone's rescue fund to build a firewall to protect other weaker members of the 17-nation currency area.

The EU and IMF said Greece would not receive an urgently needed 8 billion euro ($11 billion) aid installment, due this month, until after the vote because official creditors wanted to be sure Athens would stick to its austerity program.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso delivered this message to Papandreou before his arrival in Cannes, EU sources said.

This was after the Greek leader sent a letter to EU leaders saying he wanted to negotiate the details of the second package before the referendum, they said. The letter angered European officials, raising the level of mistrust toward Greece.

Papandreou said Greece had enough money to keep running until mid-December, when it has to redeem more than 6 billion euros in debt.


Sarkozy's office said several euro zone leaders attending the G20, including the Spanish and Italian prime ministers, would meet on Thursday morning in Cannes to review the crisis.

In fresh signs of the market turmoil unleashed by the Greek move, the euro zone's EFSF rescue fund, which lends money to troubled member states, was forced to put on hold plans to raise 3 billion euros in the bond market.

And Italy's financial stability panel said some Italian banks were having difficulty raising money on international markets.

Asian G20 members piled pressure on Europe to tackle the crisis before it wreaks serious harm on the world economy.

China's deputy finance minister, Zhu Guangyao, said he hoped the uncertainty over the Greek referendum could be contained, adding that Beijing could not consider investing more in the euro zone's bailout fund given the lack of detail on proposals to leverage it.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said the G20 must act swiftly and boldly to contain the crisis, which was spilling over to the rest of the world.

If Papandreou loses the referendum, Greece faces a disorderly default which would hammer Europe's banks and threaten the much larger economies of Italy and Spain, which the bloc may not have the means to bail out.

The chairman of euro zone finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, said Greece could go bankrupt if voters rejected the bailout package and Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi said: "Everyone is bewildered."

Juncker, Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, IMF chief Christine Lagarde and a senior European Central Bank official attended Wednesday's talks in the southern French resort town.


Doubt about Europe's ability to contain the debt crisis has once more sent markets into a spin and put Italy firmly in the firing line.

The risk premium on Italian bonds over safe-haven German Bunds hit a euro-lifetime high on Tuesday, despite European Central Bank buying of its bonds.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi scrambled to come up with measures to placate markets, holding an emergency cabinet meeting to accelerate budget reforms amid mounting calls for his resignation.

Ireland's finance minister said the ECB would be forced to pledge "a wall of money" to buy bonds, something many of its policymakers are deeply uncomfortable about.

Until the Greek situation is clearer, last week's package of measures is likely to be in limbo, leaving the ECB as the only bulwark against market attacks.

The head of Germany's banking association, Michael Kemmer, said agreement on a 50 percent writedown of Greek debt by its private creditors would have to wait. "I can't imagine a debt exchange taking place before the referendum," he said.

The Greek press, including dailies traditionally friendly to the government, almost unanimously condemned Papandreou.

Center-left newspaper Eleftherotypia described the prime minister on its front page as "The Lord of Chaos". Ethnos, another pro-government paper, called the referendum "suicidal".

(additional reporting by Dina Kyriakidou in Athens, Gernot Heller, Lesley Wroughton, Luke Baker and Gui Qing Koh in Cannes, and James Mackenzie in Rome; writing by Paul Taylor; editing by Noah Barkin)


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 03, 2011, 09:06:22 am


Greek Exit From Euro Zone Just a 'Matter of Time'

Last week, it looked as though the euro had been saved. Now, in the wake of Greek Prime Minister Papandreou's announcement of a national referendum on the bailout package for his country, the common currency is even closer to the abyss. Still, say German commentators, it may have been the right move.

Despite its location on France's glamorous Cote d'Azur, Wednesday evening's meeting likely won't be a pleasant one for Giorgios Papandreou. The Greek prime minister is set to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. None of them, one presumes, will be in the mood to enjoy their enchanting surroundings.

Leaders of the world's most powerful economies begin arriving on France's south coast on Wednesday night for the Thursday kick-off of this year's G-20 summit. Host Sarkozy had been hoping the gathering would focus on raising funds to boost the effectiveness of the euro backstop fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), but the success of the meeting is now in doubt. Papandreou's announcement on Monday evening that he was planning to hold a referendum on the EU bailout package for his country has shocked and infuriated his would-be benefactors -- and sent global markets into yet another tailspin.

The news came less than a week after an all-night bargaining session in Brussels that resulted in an agreement to slash Greek debt by 50 percent, make a further €130 billion in loans available to the country and leverage the EFSF to €1 trillion. Markets immediately calmed and the euro began climbing against the dollar.

A Danger to the Euro

The Greek prime minister's announcement, however, quickly transformed the budding optimism into deep pessimism about the future of the common currency. Should Greek voters, frustrated by round after round of deep austerity measures, reject the bailout deal, it could result in an uncontrolled national bankruptcy. Markets will likely remain nervous until the results of the ballot are in -- meanwhile the euro will move even closer to the abyss.

As if to highlight the dangers, German banks on Wednesday announced they were postponing their acceptance of the Greek debt haircut until after the referendum. Without voluntary bank approval, Greece faces a disorderly bankruptcy which could accelerate contagion throughout the euro zone.

Papandreou's decision, said European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger, "puts the euro in even greater danger."

Still, not everyone was completely repulsed by Papandreou's decision. After all, the Greeks are being asked to put up with severe belt-tightening measures and providing those austerity packages with even more democratic legitimacy could take the wind out of the sails of those who would protest them. The cabinet in Athens on Wednesday unanimously approved the referendum plan. It remains unclear exactly when the referendum might take place, but some officials hinted on Thursday that it could happen before the end of the year.

German commentators on Wednesday take a look at the impending referendum.

The Financial Times Deutschland writes:

"There are many who have, since Monday, been posing the impolite question: Has the Greek prime minister gone crazy? The answer is 'no.' Papandreou merely recognized that his back is to the wall as never before -- and that he will have just as much trouble selling last week's bailout package to the Greek public as he has the radical austerity path his government has followed. Greece's debt crisis has long since become a crisis of democracy. Given this situation, Papandreou decided to take the option of last resort."

"There is much to criticize: the lack of coordination with his European partners; the apparent lack of a real plan to present to his countrymen and women. Most of all, however, his apparent indifference to the collateral damage a negative vote would have for Europe and its common currency."

"It is a risky bet. If, however, Papandreou ... is able to convince his people of the correctness of his path, then the euro bailout efforts would be on much more stable ground than has been the case thus far."

The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

"As tough as it sounds, Greek politics is no longer just the business of the Greeks alone. ... Greece's fate also determines that of the other 16 euro-zone members. And if it's true that the future of the European Union hangs on the euro, then the entire project is in jeopardy. The summits in Brussels last week were an expression of the responsibility that Europe is willing to take on for Greece. But where then is Greece's responsibility for Europe?"

"With his unilateral decision to hold a referendum, Papandreou has tossed Europe back into the uncertainty of the days before the EU summit. Worse still, while it was at least possible to take steps forward in the last few weeks, now a complete standstill looms. What further steps could possibly be taken when no one will know for weeks, or perhaps months, how much longer Greece will remain part of the euro?"

"Giorgios Papandreou has some hard months behind him. The courage and political resolution that he has shown so far deserve the highest respect. One can even understand that the prime minister finally wants some clarity, and not least to discipline the destructive opposition in his country. Therefore it wouldn't be just bitter irony if he were to lose in the parliamentary vote of confidence or later in the referendum. It could also be very expensive for Europe."

Conservative daily Die Welt writes:

"The Greek exit from the euro zone seems like only a matter of time. This doesn't mean an end to European solidarity. Greece will certainly need further support from its partners. But an exit would only be the very late acknowledgment of economic realities. Only with a national currency do the Greeks have any real chance of strengthening their competitiveness through currency devaluation."

"But even this radical step won't quiet the situation in Europe. The fear that Italy will also begin to tumble has long worried the financial markets.... Should debt-plagued Italy need to take shelter under the rescue fund, none of the EU resolutions made thus far would be adequate. Then the conflict between Germany and France over whether we're willing to give all we have to guarantee the indebted countries will start anew. And that would mean that measures successfully rejected so far by Chancellor Angela Merkel -- such as euro bonds or a bank license for the European rescue fund -- would be back on the table."

"The Greek prime minister is comparable to a Roulette player who bets everything on a single number. And unfortunately it seems like he's not the only gambler among Europe's politicians."

The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

"Papandreou, who could fall any day, is playing a game of 'all or nothing.' ... That could lead some Germans -- who may no longer feel represented by the unanimity of German political parties on European issues -- to question why Greeks are allowed to vote on the bailout package even as Germans aren't allowed to vote on whether they and their children want to shoulder billions for this purpose. That could clarify why the outrage over this news from Athens is so great in Berlin."

The left-leaning daily Die Tageszeitung writes:

"Predictions that the Greek voters will reject the debt haircut are too premature. Most know that their country would have been bankrupt in November without bailout measures. But they also know that the 'haircut' from Oct. 26 also won't protect them from being scalped in the end. It's clear to everyone that the rigorous austerity measures that are strangling their future prospects will continue."

"To mobilize the voters, Papandreou must emphasize what the EU debt haircut agreement has brought them -- the promise that their country won't be shut out of the euro zone. A return to the drachma is a nightmare scenario for two-thirds of the population. But even an affirmation in a referendum won't end the protests against the austerity measures. The prime minister's high-wire act will continue even if he's victorious."

Financial daily Handelsblatt writes:

"It would probably be best for the euro zone if Greek Prime Minister Papandreou lost the parliamentary vote of confidence at the end of this week. Then it would be clear that Greece would denounce its partners and the euro zone could concentrate on countries, like Ireland and Portugal, which are determined to contribute for their part of the rescue fund."

"Internally Greece is so divided that one can no longer be sure if the will for self-help survives. And a drowning person who throws the life preserver back can't be saved."

"The question is, however, whether there is still enough time to wait out the referendum, and whether, after the last two years of the Greek drama, another quarter of a year of uncertainty is imaginable. ... Euro-zone politicians have hardly any other choice but to avoid another months-long cliffhanger. That could be successful if the irresponsible conservative opposition is finally put under some serious pressure. Europe could turn the tables and begin a game of blackmail by threatening to take back the rescue aid if Greece doesn't quickly clear things up. But that would be risky too -- and it also means more waiting."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 03, 2011, 09:10:56 am


Greek govt teeters, lawmakers urge PM to resign

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou came under intense pressure Thursday from his own party and opposition lawmakers alike to resign and let a coalition government approve a European bailout plan instead of holding a risky referendum on it.

Papandreou's unexpected announcement Monday that he intended to put the hard-fought bailout package to a referendum horrified Greece's international partners and creditors, triggering turmoil in financial markets as investors fretted over the prospect of a disorderly default and the country's exit from the 17-nation eurozone.

The instability in Greece has sent immediate ripples throughout Europe. Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government in Italy was teetering as well after it failed to come up with a credible plan to deal with its dangerously high debts, and Portugal demanded more flexible terms for its own bailout. European Central Bank made a surprise decision Thursday to cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point to 1.25 percent, responding to the financial turmoil.

The drama also dominated the G-20 meeting in the French resort of Cannes, where the leaders of the world's economic powerhouses had gathered to solve Europe's debt crisis, which threatens to push the world back into recession.

Papandreou was holding an emergency meeting Thursday with his ministers. Several of them called for a coalition national unity government that would approve the bailout package without a referendum and make sure the country receives vital funds to prevent imminent bankruptcy.

The latest turmoil began after Papandreou's own finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, broke ranks with him Thursday and declared his opposition to a referendum.

"Greece's position within the euro area is a historic conquest of the country that cannot be put in doubt," Venizelos said, adding that it "cannot depend on a referendum."

Venizelos said the country's attention should be focused on quickly getting a crucial €8 billion ($11 billion) installment of bailout funds, without which it faces bankruptcy with weeks.

Rumors abounded about a possible Papandreou resignation — but two officials in his office denied reports that he would visit the country's president and tender his resignation in the afternoon. The president's office also said it had no knowledge of such a meeting.

State TV said lawmakers were sounding out former European Central Bank vice president Lucas Papademos as a possible unity government leader.

Several of Papandreou's close associates said they did not know what his intentions were, but he was delivering a speech to his ministers.

"He wrote the speech himself. Nobody knows what's in it," said one close associate who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the prime minister's actions.

Papandreou has also called a confidence vote his is government for Friday night — although with mounting pressure, it was unclear if the government would survive that long. Socialist lawmaker Eva Kaili said she would not back the government in the vote. Without her support, the Socialists' majority for the vote would be down to a bare minimum of 151 in the 300-member parliament.

One Socialist party official said Papandreou was determined to remain in his position at least until the vote.

"The prime minister will deliver his speech as planned tonight (during the confidence vote debate) and the confidence vote will be held normally on Friday," the official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the press.

He said Thursday's cabinet meeting was expected to last "for several hours."

Antonis Samaras, the leader of the conservative opposition, called for a transitional government to ratify the European debt deal and prepare for early elections.

"Under the weight of these dramatic events, we have witnessed a crisis of the ability to govern. The country must immediately return to a state of normality," Samaras said. "Under the current conditions, the new debt deal is unavoidable and must be safeguarded."

A party official said the conservatives' call was for a transitional government that would not include members of any political party members, and especially not their own. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose the party's thoughts.

If the Greek government falls, it would mean that every EU nation that had already received a bailout — Greece, Portugal and Ireland — saw their governments fall during the economic turmoil.

The strong Greek rejection of Papandreou's referendum proposal helped calm frayed nerves in the markets. Athens' main stock market outperformed its peers, rising 4 percent in midday trading following three days of big falls.

In Cannes, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Papandreou on Wednesday night that any referendum should be on whether Greece wants to stay in the eurozone or not, suggesting that it be held no later than Dec. 4. They said the country would not get the next €8 billion ($11 billion) batch of its existing bailout until after the vote.

Greece's new debt deal would give the country an extra €100 billion ($138 billion) in rescue loans from the rest of the eurozone and the IMF — on top of the €110 billion ($152 billion) it was granted a year ago — and would see banks forgive Athens 50 percent of the money it still owes them.

Speaking in Cannes, Papandreou said he was forced to call the referendum after it became clear there was no "broad support" from opposition parties for the bailout deal reached with the rest of the eurozone and big banks just a week ago.

Turning the referendum into a popular vote on whether Greece wants to remain in the eurozone is a risky bet that could lead to turmoil throughout the bloc.

"We cannot permanently ride a rollercoaster on Greece; we have to know where things are going, and the Greeks have to tell us where they would like things to go," Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs eurozone finance ministers' meetings, told Germany's ZDF television Thursday.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 03, 2011, 09:29:25 am
Greek government on brink of collapse



..ATHENS (Reuters) - The Greek government teetered on the brink of collapse on Thursday over plans for a referendum on a euro zone bailout with turmoil in the ruling party casting grave doubt on whether Prime Minister George Papandreou can survive a confidence vote.

Conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras demanded that a transitional government be formed immediately to run the country until snap elections, with the current parliament ratifying the financial rescue for debt-choked Greece.

State television and the state ANA news agency said that Papandreou would meet the Greek president after an emergency cabinet session on Thursday, without giving further details.

Papandreou would have to submit his resignation or a request for a unity government to President Karolos Papoulias.

Papandreou's chief of staff denied the prime minister intended to resign although sources within his PASOK socialist party said some senior lawmakers wanted a Greek former top official at the European Central Bank to head a new government.

"I don't think the government will last until tonight," said Costas Panagopoulos, managing director of pollsters ALCO.

Papandreou's surprise decision to call a referendum on the 130 billion euro bailout to save Greece from bankruptcy and prevent a global financial crisis provoked an uproar at home and across the euro zone.

Rejection of the package, which includes yet more austerity measures for the long suffering Greek electorate, would unravel the euro zone's plan for tackling its wider debt crisis, and cut off Greece's international financial lifeline.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos broke ranks with Papandreou, coming out against holding the referendum after a bruising meeting with the German and French leaders, who made clear that Greece would not receive a cent more in aid until it votes to meet its commitments to the euro zone.


Chaos over Greece's role in the euro zone swept financial markets with early losses in stocks and the euro turning to gains on hopes Athens might ditch its referendum plans.

The Greek stock exchange rose 4 percent on speculation the referendum would be abandoned. World stocks as measured by MSCI were flat after earlier being sharply lower.

In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 lost 1 percent initially but later stood close to 1 percent higher. Earlier, Japan's Nikkei closed down 2.2 percent.

"The referendum is dead," Greek ruling party lawmaker Nikos Salayannis said on state radio.

The cabinet was due to hold an emergency session followed by a likely meeting of PASOK lawmakers amid speculation that they will call on him to resign.

However, his chief of staff Regina Vartzeli rejected the idea. "The prime minister has not resigned and does not intend to resign," she told the website of Proto Thema newspaper.

Nevertheless, plotting was in full swing. A small group of senior PASOK lawmakers are preparing a proposal for a coalition government headed by former European Central Bank Vice President Lucas Papademos, party sources told Reuters.

The group was trying to convince Papandreou to quit and open the way for Papademos, a respected figure in Greece, to head a so-called "unity" government to pull the nation from the brink.

One PASOK lawmaker said she would not support the government in a parliamentary vote of confidence on Friday, cutting its majority for that vote to just one.

PASOK has 152 deputies in the 300-member parliament. Lawmaker Eva Kaili announced she would stay in the party but refused to support the government in the confidence vote expected late on Friday, meaning Papandreou could count at most on the support of 151 deputies.

If the government fell and snap elections were called, the referendum would be canceled. The bailout would have to be approved by the next parliament that emerges from elections.

Some lawmakers are calling for a government of national unity which would have the job of getting the bailout through parliament before calling early elections. But the main opposition New Democracy has repeatedly refused cooperation.

Venizelos, one of the most powerful men in the PASOK government, originally supported Papandreou's plan. His change of mind came after he and Papandreou attended an emergency summit in Cannes on Wednesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

A finance ministry source told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Venizelos believed the vote on the bailout, which was agreed by euro zone leaders only last week, should not be held while immediate funding to keep Greece afloat still had to be secured.


"Under these conditions a referendum is exactly what the country does not need. He would not have objections if all our pending issues such as the loan installment and the completion of the bailout plan had been sorted out," the source said after the meeting with Merkel and Sarkozy.

"It was a very difficult meeting," the source added.

Papandreou's bombshell announcement on Monday of the referendum and parliamentary vote of confidence pitched Greece into a political as well as an economic crisis.

About 10 PASOK lawmakers have publicly called for a coalition government to approve the EU bailout deal and proceed to new elections. About 15, including five ministers and deputy ministers, have rejected the referendum idea.

PASOK lawmaker Costas Gitonas said the referendum should not take place. "No, by no means," he told Mega TV. "It's a madhouse."

The spectre of a hard Greek default and euro exit hung over a meeting of G20 leaders beginning in Cannes on Thursday.

The French Riviera summit had been meant to focus on reforms of the global monetary system and steps to curb speculative capital flows, but the shock waves from Greece have upended the global talks.

(Additional reporting by Reuters Athens bureau; Writing by David Stamp; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Lisa on November 03, 2011, 10:45:33 am

Daniel 8
 1In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.

 2And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.

 3Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.

 4I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.

 5And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

 6And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.

 7And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.

 8Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.

 9And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

 10And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.

 11Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down.

 12And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.

 13Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

 14And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

 15And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.

 16And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

 17So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.   18Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright.

 19And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.

 20The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.

 21And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.   22Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

 23And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.

 24And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.  

 25And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.  

26And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.

 27And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Lisa on November 03, 2011, 11:06:51 am
Trying to work out where exactly Media and Persia were-does anyone have an ancient equivalent map-I wonder if its an area around Afghanistan and Iran????


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on November 03, 2011, 12:08:36 pm
20The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.

21And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.   22Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

That is Alexander the Great and how his kingdom was divided between his 4 generals.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on November 03, 2011, 12:10:08 pm
Trying to work out where exactly Media and Persia were-does anyone have an ancient equivalent map-I wonder if its an area around Afghanistan and Iran????


Iran and west ward toward turkey and south of Turkey in Iraq

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Kilika on November 03, 2011, 02:33:13 pm
Here's the map I posted in chat...

http://www.bible-history.com/maps/maps/map_persian_empire.html (http://www.bible-history.com/maps/maps/map_persian_empire.html)


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on November 03, 2011, 02:53:06 pm
i was off by just a little.  :D

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 03, 2011, 03:25:21 pm

Exclusive: Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has struck a deal with ministers to step down and hand power to a negotiated coalition government if they help him win a confidence vote on Friday, government sources with knowledge of a cabinet meeting said.

by Stephanie Ditta 11/3/2011 8:08:27 PM 3:08 PM

So the same guy who wants to reforendum is agreeing to step down IF he gets that "confidence vote"...hhmmm...sounds like this whole charade was planned to crash the euro? If so, had a feeling, as this whole show of "Greece vs. the EU" seemed like a Hegelian Dialect going on...

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 03, 2011, 04:12:11 pm

..Analysis: Leaving the euro carries massive costs
By DON MELVIN - Associated Press | AP – 2 hrs 44 mins ago..


.....Related Content.
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7 photos - Wed, Nov 2, 2011...See latest photos »....BRUSSELS (AP) — European leaders have struggled mightily to keep Greece in the eurozone, despite the drag that its economic weakness places on their growth. The reason is this: If Greece abandons the euro, the chaos it would wreak on the global economy can hardly be overstated.

A Greek exit from the euro would almost certainly cause the country to default completely on its debts. A bankrupt Greece would be unable to pay pensions and salaries, and there would be a run on banks, causing them to collapse as people lined up to withdraw euros before the currency changed to drachmas.

Greeks owing money in euros but being paid in drachmas — essentially, a huge currency devaluation — would find their debts suddenly too large to pay, and would go bankrupt themselves. In a country where street violence accompanies even minor civil servant demonstrations, that's a volatile mix.

And for any help, the only place Greece would be able to turn would be the International Monetary Fund, which is already one of its bailout creditors and would insist on even more austerity measures in return for rescue loans, bringing the entire equation full circle.

Beyond Greece, the consequences would be even more dire.

Rather than 50 percent losses on Greek bonds that the banks have already said they can handle, private creditors would see those bonds simply disappear. Eurozone countries, the European Central Bank and the IMF would also give up hope of getting back the money they lent Greece.

Above all, a messy default would trigger massive insurance payouts on those bonds. Because financial groups do not usually disclose how much they hold in sovereign debt, such as Greek bonds, global markets would be seized by a panic over who would collapse.

That would essentially be a repeat of what happened in 2008 after U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers failed — only worse.

The uncertainty would likely push other weak eurozone states like Italy and Spain from chaos into disaster. And failures that size would destroy the euro altogether.

Already, Italy's borrowing rates have jumped to record levels at the mere thought of a Greek default. If Greece does default, investors would be prone to think that other countries might, too — and they know full well that Italy's economy is too big for Europe to bail out.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy claimed it would never come to that.

"We cannot accept the explosion of the euro, which would mean the explosion of Europe," he said in Cannes at a summit of leaders from the Group of 20 most powerful economies.

But Europe's defenses are still weak. If it were aggressive in buying national bonds, the European Central Bank might be able for a time to keep a lid on those borrowing costs before they rose to the point that Italy's government would no longer be able to finance itself on capital markets.

On the other hand, if the ECB were to shy away from such an approach then the risk of contagion would grow. The ECB made clear Thursday it is uncomfortable playing such a role.

Greece appeared to step back from the brink on Thursday and canceled plans for a referendum. If its feuding politicians can agree to the plan launched in Brussels last week, they'll get the next batch of euro8 billion ($11 billion) in bailout money.

But even then, the problems are far from over.

True, the agreement would reduce Greece's debt — but not by much. In 2020, in the best scenario, Greece would have the same level of debt that it did three years ago.

When the crisis began.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 03, 2011, 04:27:07 pm
Greek PM scraps referendum on Greek debt plan

....ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's prime minister abandoned his explosive plan to put a European rescue deal to popular vote and opened emergency talks Thursday with his opponents, demanding their support in parliament to pass the hard-fought agreement into law.

Prime Minister George Papandreou changed his mind after a widespread rebellion from within his own Socialist party over the referendum idea, but ignored repeated calls to resign. He faces a critical vote of confidence in his government Friday.

Papandreou sparked a global crisis Monday when he announced he would put the latest European deal to cut Greece's massive debts — an accord that took months of negotiations — to a referendum. The idea horrified other EU nations and Greece's creditors, triggering turmoil in financial markets as investors fretted over the prospect of Greece being forced into a disorderly default.

Papandreou was summoned to an emergency European meeting in Cannes, France, on Wednesday night, where the visibly irate French and German leaders said any referendum would in fact be a question of whether Greece retains its cherished membership of the euro common currency. They also said Greece would not receive the next, vital €8 billion ($11 billion) installment of its existing bailout until after a vote was held.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos accompanied him — and led a revolt against the referendum idea on his return to Athens before dawn Thursday.

With Greece's euro membership and bailout loan lifeline suddenly in danger, pressure mounted for Papandreou to resign, with the conservative opposition and even his own deputies calling for the creation of a transition government to pass the new European debt deal.

Venizelos said as the opposition now indicated it would support the European debt deal, a referendum was no longer necessary.

"The government went to Cannes with the position that if the necessary consensus is formed there will be no need to hold a referendum," he said.

"We must highlight the fact that there is a window of a consensus that even late, even under conditions, can change the climate under which the Oct. 26 decisions will be implemented and voted," Venizelos said. "This development, irrespective of motives is particularly beneficial for the country."

He said the new debt deal would be brought to parliament under a procedure that would require a super-majority of 180 lawmakers to vote in favor. With the governing Socialists holding 152 seats, that means the debt deal will only pass if the opposition votes in favor.



Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 03, 2011, 04:38:28 pm
He said the new debt deal would be brought to parliament under a procedure that would require a super-majority of 180 lawmakers to vote in favor. With the governing Socialists holding 152 seats, that means the debt deal will only pass if the opposition votes in favor.

So now that the reforendum is off the table, everything scott free, right? But now the new debt euro deal will pass ONLY if the opposition votes in favor? ???

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 03, 2011, 04:46:47 pm
Despite the reforendum being scrapped...


After Greece, Watch Out For Italy As Berlusconi Could Be Forced To Resign

Greece appeared to take a step back from the brink of a debt default Thursday as Prime Minister George Papandreou, under fire from the opposition and members of his own party, backed away from a surprise call for a referendum on whether to accept the terms of the latest bailout package for the heavily indebted country. With Papandreou’s fate hanging on a confidence vote scheduled for Friday that he is in danger of losing, market focus has increasingly turned to Italy, which poses true systemic risk to the European Union.  A disorderly default in Greece would raise the ante for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who would probably be forced to resign, analysts at Barclays said.

Last week’s three point plan unveiled by Euro area leaders, led by Merkel and Sarkozy, which delineated the framework for an expanded EFSF, bank recapitalization, and a second Greek bailout, sparked a substantial relief rally.  So substantial that it was clearly an overreaction.

Markets quickly tumbled as Greece’s Papandreou called for a confidence vote and a referendum, putting his political career, and the fate of the EU, to a certain extent, on the line. Yields on Italian 10-year bonds surged well past the key 6% mark, even reaching a 450 basis point spread over German bunds.

The possibility of a disorderly default in Greece is now higher than ever.  Without the next €8 billion tranche of bailout money, Barclays estimates Greece has money up until some point in December.  The next tranche would allow the troubled country to fund itself until February or March.  Barclays now believes that Papandreou will lose the confidence vote, if indeed it goes through, sending markets further down and putting pressure on the whole system.

“With Italian government bond yields signaling increasing stress in this key segment of the EGB market, the negative feedback loop into euro area banks is likely to persist, as it amplifies the risk of a credit crunch emerging at least in parts of the eurozone,” explained the analysts.

A disorderly default in Greece would cause German bunds to rally and would push Italian yields even higher.  Italy’s problem is not one of solvency, but of an excessive debt-to-GDP ratio and deep-rooted structural problems, according to Barclays.  Rising borrowing costs, though, will raise the heat substantially in Italy, where Prime Minister Berlusconi is already under fire.

The final outcome in Italy appears to be Berlusconi’s resignation, according to Barclays.  Il Cavaliere, as Berlusconi is known, must pass key pro-growth structural reforms, which he promised to Merkel, Sarkozy, and the ECB, to continue to receive support.  The ECB, now under Mario Draghi’s control, has been instrumental in buying Italian debt and maintaining some sort of market confidence.

“The outcome of an emergency cabinet meeting held [Wednesday] night suggests that the Italian government will be unable to approve unpopular measures needed to restore market confidence in the very near term. In fact, among the hypotheses circulated yesterday (i.e., a one-off charge on domestic deposits, the re-introduction of a property tax, further increases in the VAT rate, pension and labour market reforms), none seems likely to be tabled today at the G20 meeting in Cannes.”

Il Cavaliere’s failure to pass key reforms would push opposition members, with the Democratic Party’s (PD) Pierluigi Bersani at the helm, to call for Berlusconi’s resignation, which reportedly President Giorgio Napolitano will approve.  Napolitano will then call for the formation of a “technocratic government”, which, historically, “has been able to pass pro-growth structural reforms, including politically difficult labor reform.”  This, in turn, would provide incentives for the ECB to support Italian debt further and could possibly help Italy decouple from other peripherals.

As reported earlier today, contagion risks are huge.  BNP Paribas holds €22 billion in peripheral debt, €12 billion of that in Italian bonds.  MF Global recently went bust on its exposure to Europe and large Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citi, and JPMorgan Chase, have seen their stock prices tank on every turn of the market.

The stakes are higher than ever.  The global market is now hostage to Greece’s and Italy’s political systems.  The odds of success appear to be decreasing by the hour.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 03, 2011, 07:08:27 pm

Greece drops referendum plan

Athens, Nov. 3: After a tumultuous day of political gamesmanship, Prime Minister George Papandreou called off his plan to hold a referendum on Greece’s new loan deal with the EU, withdrew his previous offers to resign and opened talks on a unity government with his conservative opponents.

In an address to his party’s central committee this evening, he said there was no need for a referendum now that the Opposition New Democracy party had said it would back the debt deal. He invited that party to become “co-negotiators” on the new deal.

“The question was never about the referendum but about whether or not we are prepared to approve the decisions on October 26,” he said, referring to the EU debt deal. “What is at stake is our position in the EU.”

Shortly afterwards, the finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, confirmed the cancellation of the referendum and added that the government will now seek approval of the loan deal from a full majority of 180 in Parliament, rather than the simple majority of 151 that has supported previous measures.

The developments re-established a tentative stability in Greece that still could be dashed in a stroke. Papandreou must sweat out a vote of confidence tomorrow whose outcome is far from assured. If he survives that, he and the Opposition leader, Antonis Samaras, will have to negotiate their conflicting visions for the future. Samaras would like to see a transitional government of technocrats leading to early elections, perhaps in two months, while the Prime Minister prefers a coalition government that would rule for at least six months.

The decision to drop the referendum came after Samaras switched course and decided to back the loan deal which would involve a 50 per cent write-down of Greece’s debt. Earlier, Samaras had been content to sit on the sidelines and scoring political points by opposing the deal and previous bailouts.

Speculation had been rife all day today that Papandreou would abandon the referendum plan if the Opposition would back the European deal. Before going into a brief emergency cabinet meeting, Papandreou suggested that he was prepared to walk away from the referendum proposal, saying that it “would not have been necessary if there had been consensus with the Opposition”.

At first, Papandreou was said to have offered to resign before a confidence vote scheduled for tomorrow. By late afternoon, however, Greek news media reported during the cabinet meeting that he not only was refusing to resign but was in fact calling off the referendum plan. He only did so later in the day.

Papandreou had said the referendum was aimed at broadening consensus, which meant forcing the Opposition to back the loan deal. Analysts said that he may have been happy to drop the idea once that goal was accomplished today. After the cabinet meeting ended, Papandreou spoke with Samaras by phone.

Even if he survives the coming hours or days in office, the Prime Minister is widely seen as having expended nearly all his political capital. Ever since Greece asked for a bailout from the EU in April 2010, he has struggled to satisfy seemingly irreconcilable constituencies: the Greek electorate and Greece’s foreign lenders, who have insisted on tough austerity measures in exchange for aid, pushing Greek democracy to the breaking point.

Papandreou had stood by his referendum plan when he met European leaders in Cannes, France, yesterday, where they were gathering for the Group of 20 summit.

The referendum announcement on Monday angered European leaders and threw the entire debt deal into chaos, causing turbulence in world markets.

Divisions within Papandreou’s government flared into the open today when the finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, and his deputy broke ranks with the Prime Minister to oppose a referendum, saying it could jeopardise Greek membership in the single currency euro zone.

Faced with the growing insurrection among his own ministers, who only a day earlier appeared to have rallied around the referendum plan, Papandreou called the urgent cabinet meeting this afternoon.

Euro ‘explosion’

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said European leaders cannot accept the “explosion” of the euro and cautiously welcomed Greece’s decision to scrap a referendum on a hard-fought European bailout plan.

Sarkozy said European leaders will meet again to try to work out ways to stem Europe’s debt crisis. Speaking in Cannes today, Sarkozy said: “We cannot accept the explosion of the euro, which would mean the explosion of Europe.”


Does this whole scenerio sound familiar? Problem-Reaction-Solution, alot like what the Freemasons do?

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 04, 2011, 07:49:42 pm


Greek PM wins confidence vote, vows unity government

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou won a nail-biting confidence vote in parliament early Saturday after vowing to start talks to form a government of national unity in the crisis-hit country.

Papandreou carried the vote, watched nervously by financial markets and fellow European leaders, despite a razor-thin majority for his socialist party and a rebellion within the ranks.

A total of 153 deputies among 298 present approved the motion, the parliament speaker said to sustained applause within the chamber.

The result hung in the balance amid unbearable tension as each MP voted in favour or against the motion, with the "yes" and "no" camp neck-and-neck right to the end.

The vote makes it more likely Greece will be able to implement the terms of a massive EU bailout designed to keep the near-bankrupt country afloat and is likely to be cheered across Europe.

Calling for a "broad" coalition to put into action the EU package, the hard-pressed premier told parliament he was open to a government of national unity.

Shortly before lawmakers began voting, Papandreou had announced he would see the Greek president later on Saturday to hand in his mandate and start talks on the formation of such a government.

"Honest and broad backing is called for," he told deputies ahead of the vote. "The changes that need to take place are historic and require citizens' participation."

He dismissed opposition calls for an early election, saying such a vote would be a "catastrophe".

And it was not clear whether he would be the person to lead the coalition government when it is formed.

But, in a clear hint that he might step aside, he said he would not put personal considerations before saving the country.

"I am not interested in a chair, the last thing I am interested in is whether I am re-elected.

"If by my deeds I can give a message that we are not enemies ... then I will have made the greatest contribution to the country in my 30-year career," he said.

"The tradition of my family would not permit me to do anything different," said Papandreou, whose father and grandfather were also leaders of Greece.

As the debate took place, several thousand communists staged noisy protest in front of the flood-lit building.

Chanting, banging drums and waving red and Greek flags, the protestors overflowed the central Syntagma Square under the watchful eye of several hundred police officers carrying riot gear.

In a poignant expression of the hardships ordinary Greeks are suffering, one little girl, high on her father's shoulders, carried a sign which read: "My grandma needs care, my mother wants a job and I want schoolbooks."

The vote capped a tumultuous week for Greece that began with Papandreou's disastrous call to hold a referendum on the 100-billion-euro ($138-billion) EU bailout package that sparked revolt in his own party and roiled markets.

Analysts had warned that renewed political uncertainty could halt the disbursement of a new eight-billion-euro loan package that Greece needs by December 15 to pay the bills.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that early elections could be held once negotiations on the EU bailout package are complete.

Papandreou's call for a referendum earned him a humiliating dressing-down this week from European leaders, who warned it could derail the rescue package and even raised questions about Greece's continued EU membership.

On the street, people appeared to be in favour of a government of national unity. One pensioner who gave his name as Takis told AFP: "As matters stand, nothing can save us.

"There must be a government of national salvation with all the parties until we have elections. They way things are now George (Papandreou) cannot continue."

On Syntagma Square, where violent demonstrations have taken place during the crisis, Sofia Papadimitriou, a 25-year-old student said: "Papandreou must go."

"He's had it. He can't get anything done. He hasn't got any energy left."

The Ta Nea daily said the country was "on the edge of a cliff" and Eleftheros Typos rounded on Papandreou, saying he was "destroying Greece."

For the first time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others raised the spectre of Greece leaving the euro, hiking the pressure on the politicians in Athens to strike a deal if they wanted to remain in the bloc.

Bemoaning the fact that "Greece is once again in the world media spotlight for all the wrong reasons," the Athens News said the country was in a state of "confusion and inconsistency."

Vangelis Ipadimou, a worker studying the headlines at one of the several newspaper kiosks in central Athens, said he wanted power removed from politicians.

"We should give the responsibility to technocrats, not to politicians any more," he said.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 04, 2011, 08:03:48 pm

Snippet from this article on the ABC news web site-


The new European deal, agreed on Oct. 27 after marathon negotiations, would give Greece a euro130 billion ($179 billion) rescue package. It would also see banks write off 50 percent of the money Greece owes them, about euro100 billion ($138 billion). The goal is to reduce Greece's debts to the point where the country is able to handle its finances without relying on constant bailouts.

To receive funds from the initial bailout, Greece was forced to embark on a punishing program of tax hikes and cuts in pensions and salaries that sent Papandreou's popularity plummeting and his majority in parliament whittled down from a comfortable 10 seats to just two.

Yes, the purpose of this "bailout" is to DESTROY Greece's economy! Be ye not deceived...

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 05, 2011, 07:50:52 am
Moody’s cuts Cyprus’ credit grade by 2 notches to Baa3 over banks’ exposure to Greece
4 November 2011, Niscosia, Cyprus  (Associated Press -The Washington Post)


International ratings agency Moody’s on Friday cut Cyprus’ credit grade by two notches to Baa3, or just above junk status, and warned of further downgrades because its banks will likely need state support next year over their heavy exposure to Greek debt.

Moody’s said in a statement that Cypriot banks’ losses have more than doubled under last month’s new European debt deal for Greece that would see banks write off 50% of the money the country owes them.

Those higher losses make it more likely that the government would need to step in and provide a financial backstop of around €1 billion ($1.38 billion), raising, in turn, the government debt-to-gross domestic product ratio by 5-10 percentage points.

Cyprus’ top three banks hold an estimated €5 billion ($6.89 billion) in Greek government bonds. Cypriot Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias said the island’s debt currently stands at around 65.5% of GDP.

Moody’s also cited the Cypriot government’s inability to borrow from international markets which raises the possibility that authorities will need to seek emergency funding from official sources like Europe’s bailout fund, or European Financial Stability Facility.

Rising interest rates on Cypriot bonds have made it increasingly difficult for the government to borrow from the secondary markets in order to finance the island’s debt and cover costs.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 05, 2011, 12:49:08 pm
You Can’t Spell Tooth Faeries Without EFSF5 November 2011, by Peter Tchir of TF Market (Zero Hedge)


Well, actually you can, but I guess that is my point. We have been reacting so much to headlines there has been no focus on details. 

Even the political farce in Greece drew attention away from the real problems.


Lost in the shuffle this week is the fact that there still is no IIF plan. 

No definition of what an NPV haircut is, or how much EFSF support is going to the banks as part of this “haircut” and which prong of EFSF money this will come from. 

Merkozy can complain about Papandreou backing out of “the plan” but honestly, don’t you think he should have been given a plan? 

A vague promise by bankers of a 50% NPV haircut so that Greece can achieve 120% debt to GDP in 9 years, doesn’t sound that great. 

I don’t believe Greece was on board with any plan, and probably haven’t even seen what it will look like. 

Once the IIF comes up with their plan, I suspect some people will be disappointed – Greeks and the taxpayers of countries that see more money going to banks, rank right up there as candidates to be disappointed.

What I have finally seen, is some actual discussion of what default would mean. For all the talk about “Greek Default” very little serious work has been done on it. 

The instant reaction is “horrible for Greece”, “stone ages”, “togas and sandals”, “hyperinflation”, etc., yet as some analysis starts to come out,

more and more is showing that Greece could have a much better debt burden while retaining core state assets if they head down the path of default or repudiation

After the initial nasty comments that came out of European leaders forced Greece back on the “path”, more reasoned voices are coming out – slowly, but at least starting to come out. 

If Greece defaults, would they even have to give up the Euro? 

Important leaders have said they would, yet there is no mechanism to force them, and would be a great way for Greece to wipe out its debt and not experience hyperinflation. 

If Greece left the Euro, could it remain in the EU? 

There are 17 countries that use the Euro, but 27 in the EU, so it would seem possible that they could leave the Euro but remain in the EU. That too is only starting to be discussed. 

The initial headlines were all about – don’t pay and get kicked out and starve, but the reality is likely much different and probably much better for Greece.

The EU leaders may be able to stop this line of thinking, but as people get over the initial “shock and awe” of the word “default” they are realizing it is not the end of the world for Greece and may in fact be the fresh beginning they need – Argentina and Russia might be better examples than Zimbabwe.

I am not sure what exactly has happened to the Greek government. So far, it is being interpreted as positive because they will go along with the plan. 

I guess that is the case, but I find it hard to believe that the people will be pleased that the referendum was taken away.

I think as they also start seeing proper and reasoned arguments against accepting the terms being forced on them, the level of dissent will grow. 

There were no tanks rolling into town squares to send the people back to their homes in fear, but enough has potentially been done to turn the tide of the people against the politicians. 

I don’t think we have seen the end of dissent in Greece, and if anything, I would expect it to become more vocal, and supported by more facts about what Greece could do, rather than just fear mongering of default and fewer summit invitations.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 05, 2011, 11:03:49 pm
Greek premier struggles to end political deadlock



ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's prime minister struggled Saturday to form a temporary coalition government in the near-bankrupt country, extending a political deadlock threatening billions in international rescue funds.

In an impassioned plea to parliament late Friday, George Papandreou agreed to step aside as premier if necessary to help hammer out a coalition, offering to include the conservative opposition party — a possibility swiftly rejected by its leader.

Papandreou said a new coalition government would need four months to secure the new €130 billion ($179 billion) rescue agreement and demonstrate the country's commitment to remaining in the eurozone.

"Cooperation is necessary to guarantee — for Greece and for our partners — that we can honor our commitments," Papandreou said at a meeting Saturday with President Karolos Papoulias, hours after his Socialist government narrowly survived a confidence vote.

"I am concerned that a lack of cooperation could trouble how our partners see our will and desire to remain in the central core of the European Union and the euro."

But Papandreou's plea was snubbed by conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras.

"We have not asked for any place in his government. All we want is for Mr. Papandreou to resign, because he has become dangerous for the country," Samaras said in a televised address. "We insist on immediate elections."

Samaras was due to meet the president at 1:00 p.m. (1100GMT) Sunday.

Frustrated with Greece's protracted political disagreements, the country's creditors have threatened to withhold the next critical €8 billion ($11 billion) loan installment until the new debt deal is formally approved in Greece.

Greece is surviving on a €110 billion ($150 billion) rescue-loan program from eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund. It is currently finalizing a second major deal: to receive an additional €130 billion ($179 billion) in rescue loans and bank support, with banks agreeing to cancel 50 percent of their Greek debt.

Midway through his four-year term, Papandreou was forced by his austerity-weary Socialist party into seeking cross-party support after he abandoned a disastrous proposal to hold a referendum on a new European debt deal — which prompted havoc on world markets and anger from creditors.

Papandreou's popularity has been battered by two years of punishing austerity, causing crippling strikes, violent protests and sharp drop in living standards for ordinary Greeks who face repeated rounds of tax hikes and cuts in pension and salaries.

Late Friday, Papandreou won a confidence vote in the Socialist-led parliament on a pledge that he was willing to quit and form a caretaker coalition.

But he insisted an immediate election would paralyze government and endanger the new rescue deal.

The conservative snub left Papandreou with limited options: negotiating with conservative splinter groups and independents to attract consensus, and possibly invite respected non-politicians to join the effort.

"(Papandreou) will not resign immediately and he cannot resign before there is a new government. What remains to be seen is how flexible he will be in seeking a different governmental makeup," Ilias Nicolacopoulos, a prominent political analyst told AP television.

"There will be a tough game of poker."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 06, 2011, 09:15:45 am
Opposition demands PM quit
November   6,  2011  Sunday

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 06, 2011, 09:18:02 am
Insight - Euro has new politburo but no solution yet
6 November 2011, by Paul Taylor - Paris (Reuters)


Europe has a new informal leadership directorate intent on finding a solution to the euro zone's debt crisis, but it has yet to prove its ability to come up with a lasting formula.

Forged in the fire of a bond market inferno, the shadowy so-called Frankfurt Group has grabbed the helm of the 17-nation currency area in a few short weeks.

The inner circle comprises the leaders of Germany and France, the presidents of the executive European Commission and of the European Council of EU leaders, the heads of the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the chairman of euro zone finance ministers, and the European Commissioner for economic and financial affairs.

Europe's new politburo met four times on the sidelines of last week's Group of 20 summit in Cannes, issuing an ultimatum to Greece that it would not get a cent more aid until it met its European commitments, and arm-twisting Italy to carry out long delayed economic reforms and let the IMF monitor them.

In a tell-tale recognition of the new ad hoc power centre, members wore lapel badges marked "Groupe de Francfort."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 06, 2011, 09:20:47 am
Greek PM 'Set To Resign' Amid Euro Crisis
6 November 2011, (Sky News)

Greece's prime minister George Papandreou will resign today, Pasok party sources have told Sky News.

A possible replacement for Mr Papandreou is currently being discussed, the sources have also indicated.

The development comes after the country's opposition leader insisted the PM must go to save the economy.

Antonis Samaras said he was willing to help in the formation of a coalition government - but not until Mr Papandreou had stepped down.

Despite winning a confidence vote in parliament, Mr Papandreou has struggled to form a temporary coalition government to back the controversial EU bailout package.

The prime minister had gone into talks with president Karolos Papoulias on how to construct an administration to negotiate the deal to write down Greek debt and release billions in emergency aid.

But sources within Pasok - the socialist party that Mr Papandreou heads - have told Sky News there are only two possible scenarios.

The first involves Mr Papandreou stepping down and being replaced by a compromise candidate who is acceptable to both the left and right of the political spectrum.

The second scenario would see Mr Papandreou stepping down and being replaced by someone within Pasok itself - potentially Evangelos Venizelos, the current finance minister, who has been part of the bailout negotiations.

An emergency cabinet meeting will be held this afternoon, when these issues will be discussed.

The country is under pressure from the eurozone's power brokers to implement the bailout package agreed in Brussels on October 27.

If the bailout stalls in the Greek parliament, that would hamper the release of money Greece needs to pay salaries, pensions and international creditors.

After the prime minister won a confidence vote in the early hours of Saturday morning, European finance ministers, who meet next week, will want to see progress in Athens.

However the opposition New Democracy party is angry Mr Papandreou decided to tough out his tenure, rather than call snap elections.

Its leader, Mr Samaras, said the prime minister was "dangerous" for Greece.

We realise the need for an interim government in order to conclude the loan agreement... That would need a person that is mutually accepted and not necessarily a politician... to run an interim government and then go to elections.

Greek shadow finance minister Notis Mitatarakis

But he and other opposition leaders have already said they would work to implement the bailout deal, so the pressure to join a consensus government is immense.

Greece's shadow finance minister Notis Mitatarakis told Sky News he believes the leader of the country's new interim government did not have to be a politician.

"We need elections because we need a stable government to be able to negotiate the new loan agreement," he said.

"However, we realise the need for an interim government in order to conclude the loan agreement [and] the restructuring of the Greek debt.

"That would need a person that is mutually accepted, not necessarily a politician - rather, not a politician - to run an interim government and then go to elections."

The wrangling comes after almost a week of market anxiety over whether the near-bankrupt country will actually embrace the bailout deal.

Mr Papandreou has already abandoned a proposal to hold a referendum on the package, which would result in years of financial austerity for Greece.

On Friday world leaders drew a blank in their efforts to resolve the wider eurozone crisis, as a G20 summit ended with no agreement on crucial measures to shore up ailing economies.

The Group of 20 leading economies failed to thrash out a detailed plan to stabilise the single currency or to boost the International Monetary Fund's ability to respond to emergencies.

Prime Minister David Cameron warned squabbling eurozone leaders "the world can't wait" for them to finalise plans to bailout Greece, recapitalise banks and erect a one trillion euro (£870bn) "firewall" to protect the single currency.

He acknowledged that the ongoing uncertainty in the eurozone was having a "chilling" effect on the British economy.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 06, 2011, 04:13:21 pm


Greek Coalition Government Deal Agreed

A deal on a new coalition government in Greece has been reached - but current prime minister George Papandreou will not be at the helm.
The draft agreement between Mr Papandreou and the country's opposition leader, Antonis Samaras, came after a day of speculation that the PM would resign

The two sides said they would take the country to an election after the implementation of the bailout deal and would meet on Monday to work out the details of the new caretaker government.

Mr Samaras had earlier insisted the PM must go to save the economy and said he was willing to help in the formation of a coalition government - but not until Mr Papandreou had stepped down.

Despite winning a confidence vote in parliament, Mr Papandreou has struggled to form a temporary coalition government to back the controversial EU bailout package.

The prime minister had gone into talks with president Karolos Papoulias on how to construct an administration to negotiate the deal to write down Greek debt and release billions in emergency aid.

The country is under pressure from the eurozone's power brokers to implement the bailout package agreed in Brussels on October 27.

If the bailout stalls in the Greek parliament, that would hamper the release of money Greece needs to pay salaries, pensions and international creditors.

After the prime minister won a confidence vote in the early hours of Saturday morning, European finance ministers, who meet next week, will want to see progress in Athens.

However the opposition New Democracy party is angry Mr Papandreou decided to tough out his tenure, rather than call snap elections

Greece's shadow finance minister Notis Mitatarakis told Sky News he believes the leader of the country's new interim government did not have to be a politician.

"We need elections because we need a stable government to be able to negotiate the new loan agreement," he said.

"However, we realise the need for an interim government in order to conclude the loan agreement [and] the restructuring of the Greek debt.

"That would need a person that is mutually accepted, not necessarily a politician - rather, not a politician - to run an interim government and then go to elections."

The wrangling comes after almost a week of market anxiety over whether the near-bankrupt country will actually embrace the bailout deal.

Mr Papandreou has already abandoned a proposal to hold a referendum on the package, which would result in years of financial austerity for Greece.

On Friday world leaders drew a blank in their efforts to resolve the wider eurozone crisis, as a G20 summit ended with no agreement on crucial measures to shore up ailing economies.

The Group of 20 leading economies failed to thrash out a detailed plan to stabilise the single currency or to boost the International Monetary Fund's ability to respond to emergencies.

Prime Minister David Cameron warned squabbling eurozone leaders "the world can't wait" for them to finalise plans to bailout Greece, recapitalise banks and erect a one trillion euro (£870bn) "firewall" to protect the single currency.

He acknowledged that the ongoing uncertainty in the eurozone was having a "chilling" effect on the British economy.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 06, 2011, 06:56:46 pm
TUI prepares Greek hoteliers for euro zone exit6 November 2011, Frankfurt (Reuters)

German tour operator TUI AG (TUIGn.DE) has asked Greek hoteliers to sign new contracts spelling out how it will pay its bills in the event Greece leaves the euro zone and starts using a new currency, a spokesman for the company said.

"As a responsible company, we should protect ourselves for a potential exit of Greece from the euro zone," spokesman Robin Zimmermann said on Sunday, adding TUI's Nordic unit had sent a letter to the hoteliers.

He was confirming a report in German newspaper Bild, which quoted the letter as saying: "If the euro should no longer be the currency (...),

TUI is entitled to pay the sum of money in the new currency. The exchange rate shall be made at the exchange rate set by the government."

Tourism is key for Greece’s €230 billion (£197.9 billion) economy and accounts for about 1/5 of GDP.

More than 2 million Germans travelled to Greece last year, making them the biggest group of visitors there

The President of the Greek Tourist Board, Andreas Andreadis, told Bild that several Greek hoteliers had received the letter from TUI, the owner of London-listed TUI Travel (TT.L), and were asked to sign it.

"No hotelier will do that and we turned to the Greek Ministry of Tourism. TUI can not put pressure on hoteliers to sign such a thing," he was quoted as saying.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 06, 2011, 07:00:10 pm
Morgan Stanley Says Europe’s Pandora’s Box Has Been Opened6 November 2011, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)


And what is even more disturbing is that Germany itself is now demanding a referendum. According to Welt, 71% of Germans want a referendum, and want to to vote directly on important decisions for Europe and the Euro.

Only 27% oppose the motion.

And the same poll has found that 63% of Germans think Greece should be kicked out of the Euro, with just 32% believing the country can still be saved.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 07, 2011, 11:29:48 pm
Greece to get another 8 bln euros in bailout7 November 2011, by Shawn Langlois - San Francisco (MarketWatch)

Greece will reportedly receive 8 billion euro ($11 billion) in the six tranche of its first bailout package and will begin working on the new rescue deal if the troubled country's leaders can commit to the terms.

Without the payment, which has been delayed for two months, Greece would potentially default as early as next month.

Meanwhile, eurozone ministers, in an effort to bolster emergency funds, are working to raise the 440 billion euro European Financial Stability Facility to 1 trillion euro by seeking outside investors and insuring bonds from the more unstable countries in the eurozone, like Italy and Spain.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 07, 2011, 11:31:43 pm
Greece ends deal with advisor banks: reports6 November 2011, by Chris Oliver - Hong Kong (MarketWatch)

Greek news media reported Sunday that Athens has terminated agreements with Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, and HSBC -- the three banks hired to advise on the private-sector writedown of Greek debt as part of the debt deal agreed July 21 at the European Union summit.

The contracts were terminated late last week and involve the coordinators of the "Private Sector Involvement" agreement, the centerpiece of the second bail-out package valued at $109 billion, the Athens News reported Sunday.

It wasn't clear whether the Greek government would hire new advisors or negotiate directly on the PSI agreement reached last month, in which private creditors accepted a 50% haircut on their holdings of Greek sovereign bonds, the report said.

The three advising bank, had reportedly completed significant legal and technical work on the writedowns and were to be paid 70 million euros ($96.4 million) for their work.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on November 08, 2011, 07:00:48 am
Greek PM asks cabinet to have their resignations ready, says state news agency - @Reuters
Story data:


BREAKING: Greek Cabinet ministers offer resignations to prime minister to pave way for coalition government. -EC

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 08, 2011, 01:49:03 pm


Power-sharing talks in Greece drag on

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Power-sharing talks between Greece's prime minister and the opposition leader dragged on into Tuesday evening, with senior government officials saying a deal was close and European leaders ratcheting up the pressure for a resolution.

Talks between Prime Minister George Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras began Monday. The two agreed over the weekend to forge an interim government that will shepherd the country's new euro130 billion ($179 billion) European rescue package through Parliament and end an intense political crisis that threatened Greece's solvency and membership of the euro.

Without the Oct. 27 deal, which took European leaders months to work out, Greece would go bankrupt, potentially wrecking Europe's banking system and sending the global economy back into recession.

"I believe that we are now close to an agreement with New Democracy," Papandreou said during a Cabinet meeting, referring to Samaras' conservative party.

"When one cooperates with another party, there are some red lines on either side which of course restrict things," he said in comments released by his office. "Therefore, while one could imagine ideal situations, in reality these do not exist, and one seeks simply to find the best possible solution."

Senior government officials promised a deal would come by the end of Tuesday, with one government official saying a former vice president of the European Central Bank, Lucas Papademos, was the most likely candidate to replace Papandreou as premier. He spoke on condition of anonymity because no names had officially been made public.

The official said the delay on a public announcement of a deal was mainly due to objections from the opposition party over demands from European officials for written committments by both parties that they supported the new debt deal.

On Monday, eurozone finance ministers said the heads of the two main parties had to commit in writing to the terms of the country's bailouts before Athens can receive a vital euro8 billion ($11 billion) loan installment without which the country faces default within weeks.

"It is indeed essential that a new government will express its explicit and unequivocal commitment in writing concerning all the decisions taken by the 17 euro area member states on Oct. 27," EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said in Brussels Tuesday.

The next rescue loan installment "can then be disbursed once there is full clarity about Greece sticking to the agreed course and policies," Rehn said. "It should be clear in Athens that solidarity is a two-way street and we expect a united political class to carry out its part of responsibilities."

Samaras, however, appeared to take offense.

"There is national dignity," he said in a statement issued shortly before Rehn's comments. "I have long and repeatedly explained why, in order to protect the Greek economy and the euro, the implementation of the (new European debt deal) has become 'inevitable'. I do not allow anyone to cast doubt on these statements."

His party's spokesman, Yiannis Michelakis, was even blunter, issuing a direct response to Rehn's comments.

"The fact that Europe has lost any trace of trust in the (Socialist) government, does not mean it can insult our national dignity," he said.

Another senior Greek government official said Tuesday that Greece's eurozone partners demanded more — that Papandreou and Samaras, the Bank of Greece governor, the new prime minister and the new finance minister all co-sign a letter reaffirming their commitment to the country's bailout deals and economic reforms.

During an earlier Cabinet meeting, Socialist ministers offered their resignations to Papandreou to pave the way for the creation of the interim government, which is to last until an early election expected Feb. 19.

"We have made our resignation available to the prime minister in order to help him with his actions," Tourism Minister George Nikitiadis said. "My feeling is that tonight we will have a name (of the new premier). It's going well."

The political crisis erupted last week, when Papandreou said he would put the new European rescue package to a referendum. Other eurozone nations were horrified by the delay, markets around the world tanked and Greece's international creditors froze the payment of the next bailout.

Papandreou withdrew the plan Thursday after Samaras indicated he would back the new deal. They then reached a landmark agreement Sunday for Papandreou to step down and the temporary government to be formed.

Greece has survived since May 2010 on a euro110 billion ($150 billion) rescue-loan program from its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund, but all agree it's not enough. A second rescue package has been created that involves private bondholders voluntarily agreeing to cancel 50 percent of their Greek debt.

In return for its bailout cash, Greece has endured 20 months of punishing austerity measures. The efforts by Papandreou's government to keep the country solvent have prompted violent protests, crippling strikes and a sharp decline in living standards for most Greeks.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 09, 2011, 09:08:24 am


Plan for technocrat to lead Greek unity govt hits snag

* Coalition negotiations far from over

* Parties looking beyond Papademos for new PM

By Harry Papachristou and Renee Maltezou

ATHENS, Nov 9 (Reuters) - A plan for former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos to lead a Greek government of national unity has run into trouble, party sources said on Wednesday, prolonging political hiatus as the country heads towards bankruptcy.

With the Greek population and the European Union clamouring for a coalition now, a government source said it would be announced later on Wednesday -- but signalled that negotiations were far from over.

In the past two days government sources have made a number of optimistic predictions about forming the government, which must secure a 130-billion-euro ($180-billion) bailout from the euro zone, only for no deal to materialise.

The socialist and conservative parties had wanted Papademos, a Greek economist well known in European capitals, to head the new government, aiming to re-establish an international credibility that the politicians lost long ago.

But sources in both parties said this was now in doubt and the two sides were looking at other options.

"The Papademos candidacy has hit problems that have to do with both parties," one of the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.


Some Greek media reported that Papademos was setting conditions that the parties would not accept, and others that there were objections from Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, because Papademos wanted to change the government's economic team.

Greek media have mentioned parliamentary speaker Filippos Petsalnikos and socialist lawmaker Apostolos Kaklamanis as alternative premiers, but both have denied the reports that they had been picked.

Earlier, the government source said outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou would meet the Greek president at 1000 GMT on Wednesday, and the coalition would be announced the same day.

However, he also said negotiations would continue, signalling that the elusive deal on a government which is due to rule until early elections in February, had yet to be struck.

The stakes could not be higher. Greece must have a new coalition to secure the bailout, negotiate the release of emergency funds from the EU and IMF to avoid bankruptcy when big debt repayments come due next month, and safeguard its place in the euro zone.

On the other hand, the European Union needs to put out the fire in Greece to prove to international financial markets that it can tackle another blaze in Italy, a far bigger economy also heading for economic and political crisis.

To Vima news website expressed the exasperation felt by Greeks with all their political leaders, especially Papandreou and conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras.

The website evoked a national fear that Greece might lose its euro zone membership, and be cast adrift to survive alone with its old currency.

"Despite its huge defeat, our political system won't get serious at the time when the country is threatened with complete collapse, wavering between the euro and the drachma.

"Mr Papandreou and Mr Samaras agreed on Sunday on a government to save the country and are now doing whatever they can to undermine it before it even starts its work," it said.


Adding to the confusion, conservative leader Samaras became embroiled in a dispute within his New Democracy party and a related row with the European Union.

Party political sources said some New Democracy lawmakers were accusing Samaras of giving away too much, especially when he agreed to accept austerity measures in the bailout package.

Samaras had long argued that the spending cuts, tax rises and job losses imposed by the outgoing socialist government under orders from the EU and IMF had deepened Greece's crippling recession, now in its fourth year.

A New Democracy party source refused to accept the party was the main problem, but acknowledged internal divisions since Samaras staged his U-turn on the package last week, helping to open the way for Sunday's agreement in principle.

"Parts of New Democracy are causing trouble. Many party officials around Samaras don't like the way things are going," the source said on condition of anonymity.

Under pressure from party dissidents, Samaras attacked the EU for demanding written undertakings from Greece that it would stand by its promises to implement the bailout package which euro zone leaders agreed last month.

European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn made the demand, exasperated by Greece's record of making promises on tackling its huge debt and budget deficit and then falling short of fulfilling them.

Rehn singled out a decision by Papandreou last week to call a referendum on the bailout, a vote which might have seen Greeks reject the package because of the austerity measures tied to it. Papandreou backed down, but was forced into agreeing to make way for the unity coalition.


Speaking in Brussels, Rehn said Greece had breached confidence with the EU by calling the referendum. Now Brussels needed undertakings to release even the next 8-billion-euro instalment of funding for Greece under its original bailout package, pulled together last year.

"This confidence needs to be mended," said Rehn. "Finance ministers of the euro area expect that there is ... a written commitment, a written confirmation of the commitment of a broad-based government of national unity."

A government source said the EU wanted Samaras to sign, along with the new prime minister, finance minister, central bank governor and outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou.

The New Democracy response was blunt. Samaras hinted in a statement he might give no written assurances because his spoken word was enough. "It's a matter of national dignity ... I don't allow anybody to doubt my statements," he said.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 09, 2011, 09:29:47 am
Greek Bank Deposits Plunge By €5.5 Billion In September: Biggest Monthly Drop Ever8 November 2011, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 09, 2011, 09:34:58 am
Where Does The Greek Bailout Money Go?
8 November 2011, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 10, 2011, 09:04:24 am


Greek parties tap former central banker as prime minister

Greek party leaders have agreed on Lucas Papademos, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank, to head a new interim government until early elections are called some time next year.

The office of Greek President Carolos Papoulias said on Thursday that after talks with party leaders, the president had "given Mr. Papademos the mandate to form a government."

Lucas Papademos, who is 64 and former vice-president of the European Central Bank, is highly regarded internationally for his banking expertise and is viewed by many as the right man to steer Greece out of its precarious economic and financial crisis.

His appointment was held up for four days as Greek party leaders squabbled over various demands as they tried to hammer out a deal on a national unity government. But days of political bickering took their toll, moving the country closer to an economic abyss. After the announcement, however, markets took an upward bounce.

Earlier, the European Union had warned, as party negotiations got started, that the Greek debt crisis was dragging Europe into a new recession, deepening the sense of gloom already hanging over the bloc.

In Athens, the critical power-sharing talks collapsed on Wednesday, with no new prime minister named, despite appeals from other European countries and the International Monetary Fund for Greece to get its house in order.

Party leaders met again at the presidential palace early on Thursday and were joined by Papademos, who had been a favorite for the premiership, but had dropped out of the running after his demand that early elections should not be held as early as February was not met.

Papademos will likely be sworn in on Friday. Greece's leading cleric, Archbishop Hieronymos, canceled a scheduled trip to the Greek islands, in a signal that he may be performing the ceremony.

The stakes are high. As well as winning parliamentary approval for an EU bailout, any new coalition has to pass the country's 2012 budget and secure the latest eight-billion-euro ($5.73 billion) installment of Greece's original rescue package to avoid bankruptcy.

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  Not only the Greeks were waiting to see who will lead the country
No replacement

On Wednesday, Prime Minister George Papandreou said he was handing over power to a coalition that did not exist and then failed to install an old-style politician and personal ally as premier.

The European Union and international lenders have watched in dismay as Greek party leaders feuded over a shrinking list of credible candidates to lead a national unity government.

Sources from the country's two main parties said earlier on Wednesday that party leaders had agreed on house speaker Filippos Petsalnikos to head the country's new coalition government.

But Giorgos Karatzaferis, the head of a small right-wing party, reportedly stormed out of a top-level meeting that had been expected to conclude three days of negotiations over Papandreou's replacement. Karatzaferis accused the two main parties of "trickery," but did not give any details.

So far, the parties have agreed that a "100 day" coalition should be set up to push a 130-billion-euro ($180 billion) bailout for Greece through parliament and that elections should be held in February.

'A unity government, right now'

Meanwhile, the population in Greece has grown increasingly outraged over the political deadlock that's arisen over the approval of the EU/IMF bailout package to help the country avoid bankruptcy.

"A national unity government, right now," Ethnos daily said on its front page. "The country and society cannot endure this any more."

Papandreou and Antonis Samaras, head of the main opposition party, New Democracy, agreed on Sunday that the coalition should be formed, but little else. Monday came and went without any accord on who will lead the coalition, despite Papademos emerging as frontrunner.

Frustration was also apparent in Brussels where officials said the new government had to show it was serious about implementing promises Athens has made to its EU and IMF lenders in return for the bailout agreed last month.

"It is essential that the entire political class is now restoring the confidence that had been lost in the Greek commitment to the EU/IMF program," said EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn.

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  A new government must implement tough austerity measures
Papandreou caused chaos last week by calling a referendum on the bailout, a vote which might have seen Greeks rejecting the package because of the austerity measures tied to it.

Papandreou backed down, but was forced into agreeing to make way for the unity coalition.

Brussels skeptical

Weary of broken promises from Athens, Rehn said the coalition must "express a clear commitment on paper, in writing, to the EU/IMF program," demanding that both coalition parties sign off on pledges to continue with financial obligations.

Greece faces bankruptcy in December when big debt repayments are due, unless it can get hold of more emergency funding soon.

For two years, the EU has labored to solve the problems of Greece, a very small part of the bloc's economy, leading to doubts about how it would manage if the debt crisis engulfed the far bigger Italian or Spanish economies.

Author: Gregg Benzow, Gabriel Borrud (AFP, AP, Reuters)
Editor: Michael Lawton


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 14, 2011, 11:53:23 am
Greek conservative hard stance threatens bailout
14 November 2011, by Harry Papachristou and Angeliki Koutantou - Athens (Reuters)


Greece's conservative party leader on Monday vowed to reject any toughening of austerity measures in return for a multi-billion euro bailout, signaling the new coalition government may not enjoy the kind of cross-party support demanded by lenders.

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said he would not vote for any new austerity measures and added that the policy mix of spending cuts and tax rises agreed with international lenders should be changed in favor of economic growth.

"I agree with the goals to cut government spending ... to reduce debt, to erase the deficit, to make structural changes. I do not agree with whatever stunts growth," he told party MPs ahead of a three-day confidence debate, starting on Monday.

Although Samaras' party are part of the new administration of former ECB vice president Lucas Papademos, its support for the three-day old government has so far been lukewarm and his backing is crucial for passing legislation needed to satisfy international lenders' demands.

Crucially, Samaras said he would not sign any letter pledging support for conditions on a 130 billion euro bailout as EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn has demanded.

"I don't sign such statements," he said, adding that his word should be sufficient.

His refusal to sign could imperil an 8 billion euro loan Greece needs by mid-December to avoid default.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 16, 2011, 03:21:16 pm


For first time, nations mull Greek exit from euro

LONDON (AP) — Maybe it's not the Hotel California after all.

Ever since the idea of the euro currency really took off in the late 1980s, it has been accepted wisdom that entry was forever. But now, with no less than the leaders of France and Germany conceding that Greece could leave the euro, everyone is scrambling to figure out exactly what would happen.

The stakes couldn't be higher: many economists say it could plunge the global economy into another crisis on the scale of what ensued following the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008. Others say it would spell the beginning of the end of the dream of building a unified Europe from the ashes of World War II.

Yet some are saying it's the least bad of all possible outcomes, part of the only remedy available for a currency, launched in 1999, whose design flaws have led to three countries requiring rescue. The crisis is now threatening Italy — the eurozone's third-biggest economy — and is showing alarming signs of infecting France — its second-biggest.

If Greece decides to go back to the drachma following what would likely be a disorderly default, there would likely be a run on banks as depositors uncertain of the value of the new currency yank out their euros — that is if they are still given a chance. With deposits potentially running dry, banks would stop lending to one another and fail as they lost access to cash needed for their daily operations. Without capital, businesses would collapse and consumers would stockpile goods.

And that's just in Greece.

Investors would immediately begin speculating on which euro country would be next to fall, leading to the same kind of chaos across the continent.

"This, unfortunately, is the cost of a badly designed monetary union," said Dario Perkins, an economist at Lombard Street Research. "While in the long term, some countries leaving the euro area might be a good thing — for them and the countries that remain — it will surely be some time before those benefits are realized."

Until recently, discussions about a country's exit from the euro had been confined to market commentary and academic papers (British Foreign Secretary William Hague derided the currency as "a burning building with no exits").

Suddenly, top officials are openly discussing the possibility. At a recent summit during discussion of a possible Greek referendum on its rescue deal, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement that "the question is whether Greece remains in the eurozone

"That is what we want, they said, "but it is up to the Greek people to answer that question."

The referendum has since been canceled. A new Greek government now has seemingly not much more than 100 days to push through a package approving Europe's latest rescue package and another round of punishing austerity, over the objections of many Greeks who have staged months of violent protests.

A growing number of analysts believes those efforts will fail, and that Greece's days in the euro are numbered.

They say Greece would do better to cut and run, avoiding the straitjacket of a decade's worth of austerity.

The current plan would give Greece euro100 billion ($176 billion) more in bailout loans and get the private sector to forgive half of Greece's debt. But even in the best-case scenario it would leave the country saddled with a debt burden of 120 percent of gross domestic product a decade from now — which is the level that's causing Italy so much trouble at the moment.

"Right now they are committing themselves to 10 years of Draconian austerity that won't work," said Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland. "If you want to become the Burma of Europe, this is the way of getting that done."

Morici and other proponents of a euro exit concede that the short-term pain for Greece would be huge, as deposits are converted into much-cheaper drachmas, import prices go through the roof and the financial system faces potential collapse.

But they argue that Greece would eventually be able to re-invent itself through its ability to print its own currency and set an appropriate economic policy for its own needs. Tourism, Greece's number one industry, could reap a massive windfall as it becomes a cheaper place to holiday.

"Letting the value of the drachma fall to levels consistent with a trade surplus that permits Greece to service its debts, Greece's economy would begin growing again, and many of Greece's army of unemployed would be put back to work," Morici said.

Others are highly skeptical that Greece — or anyone else — would benefit from it exiting the euro. A Greek departure would open up a whole new set of uncertainties in the markets: Instead of wondering which country may have difficulty paying its debts, investors would begin to wonder who is next to leave the euro.

If that would mean people converting euros to Italian liras, Portuguese escudos or Spanish pesetas, then depositors around the world may look to get their money out of Europe altogether, a likely shock to the international financial system that could take decades to mend.

Christopher Pissarides, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at the London School of Economics, said the changes in the global financial system over the past few decades mean it would be hard to prevent such a scenario from unfolding.

"It could be the biggest bank run in history," he said.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Kilika on November 16, 2011, 04:05:49 pm
Maybe it's just me, but this stuff makes it obvious what they are leading up to. They got all these problems, so enter the reaction we are seeing now, and next up, their solution, and boy do they have a solution!

Remember what Jesus was teased with on the mountain top? That is exactly what these people are being teased with, the offer, falsely so, that if they just do this and that, they will have all their wildest finanacial success in the world. They have been duped into fighting over corrupted and cankered treasures on earth.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 16, 2011, 08:54:10 pm
Greek third-quarter GDP shrinks 5.2% on year16 November 2011, by William L. Watts - Frankfurt (MarketWatch)

Greek third-quarter gross domestic product contracted 5.2% compared to the same period last year, the country's statistical agency said Tuesday.

That follows a 7.4% year-on-year contraction in the second quarter.

The European Commission earlier this month forecast the Greek economy to shrink by 5.5% this year and 2.8% in 2012 after contracting 3.5% in 2010.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 19, 2011, 08:41:12 am
Isn't the Yield Curve supposed to be INCREASING?

Greek 1 year bonds: 266%
- http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GGGB1YR:IND

Greek 2 year bonds: 111%
- http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GGGB2YR:IND/chart

Greek 10 year bonds: 28%
- http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GGGB10YR:IND

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 19, 2011, 01:55:37 pm
Greek conservatives reject signing reform pledge


A major conservative party in Greece's new unity government refused Saturday in talks with EU and IMF officials to drop its opposition to signing written reform pledges in return for crucial loans, reports said.

Antonis Samaras, head of the New Democracy party, said its support for the government set up last week specifically to enact reforms tied to a eurozone bailout deal was commitment enough, Mega television reported.

He reportedly made the remarks to senior auditors from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The officials had on Friday also held talks in Athens with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, a former ECB deputy chief parachuted in to lead the new coalition on November 11.

They also met on Saturday with George Papandreou, the former prime minister who leads the socialist Pasok party, the other major party in the unity government.

Poul Thomsen, the IMF deputy director for Europe who is leading the delegation to Athens, declined to comment after the talks.

George Karatzaferis, whose small far-right LAOS party completes the government coalition, is due to meet the officials on Sunday. He has also expressed opposition to a written pledge to Brussels.

Eurozone finance ministers have demanded written commitments from Athens on austerity measures and structural reforms before releasing an instalment of eight billion euros ($11 billion) from a May 2010 bailout deal.

The funds are all that stands between Greece and bankruptcy next month.

A new eurozone lifeline agreed in Brussels last month, slashing the country's 350-billion-euro debt by nearly a third, also hangs in the balance.

The three coalition parties on Wednesday backed Papademos's government in a vote of confidence carried by 255 votes to 38.

Papademos will discuss the deadlock with EU President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels on Monday, and then with eurozone leader Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

The interim government is slated to hold early elections in February, and the winner will be charged with pushing through the rest of the rescue programme. Samaras is currently leading polls to win a four-year term.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 22, 2011, 09:32:42 am

As the euro area's sovereign debt and economic crises escalate, a two-front attack looms for banks in weak-link countries.

On one front, international financial intermediaries risk being caught dead — like MF Global — holding an excess of debt from Europe's PIIGS: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

For banks relying on funding from financial markets, their too-hot-to-handle debt has created a liquidity crunch, but one that analysts think may be within the European Central Bank's ability to stem with aggressive action.

The more lethal threat comes from the inside via an old-fashioned run on bank deposits.

Any sign that a country is gearing up to quit the euro would trigger "the mother of all capital flights," said Jacob Kirkegaard, research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Research.


As fears that Greece will leave the euro have grown, a quiet bank run has proceeded. Deposits held by corporations and households fell 22% from the start of 2010 through September.

Deposit outflow from Greek banks reportedly accelerated in recent weeks, spurred by a threat that Europe would rescind its bailout package if Athens failed to meet austerity demands



Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 23, 2011, 08:24:38 pm


Protest builds against unpopular Greek property tax

Opposition to an unpopular property tax imposed to help secure bankruptcy-saving EU loans gathered pace in Greece on Wednesday ahead of a new general strike called by unions against austerity cuts.


They ignored a prosecutor's order to evacuate the building after receiving support from Greece's main left-wing parties, KKE and Syriza, who are also fighting against a new wave of spending cuts.

"We're not cutting power to the poor even if they throw us in prison," reads a Genop-Dei banner hanging from the building.

Several mayors in working-class Athens districts are also encouraging their residents to contest the tax, which is among measures taken to plug budget shortfalls persisting after two years of tough belt-tightening.

The main unions have called a general strike on December 1, the sixth this year, against an austerity budget that will be pushed through parliament by a new unity government under ex-European Central Bank deputy chief Lucas Papademos, which was installed a fortnight ago.

The property tax was introduced by the previous government in September and would charge residents between 0.5 and 16 euros ($21.6) per square metre, depending on their circumstances.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 25, 2011, 08:07:08 am
Portugal's Rating Cut To 'Junk' By China's Dagong
23 November 2011, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Arguably the least biased (or perhaps least cognitively dissonant) of the major ratings agencies,

China's Dagong has just moved Portugal's rating to junk (BB+) from comfortably investment grade (BBB+) - a 3 notch drop.

The rating agency also left the peripheral nation on negative watch.

This action follows Monday's Greek downgrade from C to CCC.

Is this a ploy for better entry levels when they save the world with their EFSF-buying bazooka?

Or more likely a more honest reflection of a debt-laden, slow-growing, austerity-facing nation burdened with inadequate leadership and an inability to control its own fate?

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 26, 2011, 08:05:25 pm


Greece may miss 2012 selloff target due to EU crisis
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece may miss its target for privatization revenues next year because of the worsening economic climate in Europe, the head of the agency responsible for selling state assets said in an interview to be published on Sunday.

Greece's repeated failure to meet budget targets including for privatization revenues has angered international lenders, raising questions about whether they will continue indefinitely to keep the country afloat with bailout loans.

Costas Mitropoulos, head of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, told the Kathimerini newspaper the privatization revenue target of 9.3 billion euros ($12.3 billion) for 2012 was "achievable," based on the draft budget assumptions.

"But reality will show whether these assumptions were right. In order to be able to sell, there should be buyers," he said, noting that even Germany failed this week to sell all its bonds at an auction.

"If this (difficult economic) situation continues, then it is certain that it will be difficult for us to find buyers for our assets."

read more

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on November 29, 2011, 01:25:55 pm
Officials in Brussels say Eurozone finance ministers have approved an 8 billion euro bailout loan for Greece - @BBCWorld

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 29, 2011, 01:30:35 pm
Officials in Brussels say Eurozone finance ministers have approved an 8 billion euro bailout loan for Greece - @BBCWorld

When they shall say peace and safety...you know the rest...

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 29, 2011, 08:35:59 pm


Greece gets $10.7 billion but rescue plan stalls

BRUSSELS (AP) — Eurozone ministers sent Greece an euro8 billion ($10.7 billion) Christmas rescue package Tuesday to stem an immediate cash crisis yet failed to resolve fears that the common euro currency might be doomed.

Stock markets around the world rose earlier in the day, hoping that intense pressure from the bond markets would finally force the 17-nation eurozone into quicker and more robust action.

But even as Italy's borrowing costs skyrocketed to a euro-era record, the 17 finance ministers only found a veneer of credibility to coat the euro's rescue fund with more leverage. They failed to increase the bailout fund to match earlier predictions and kicked other major financial issues — like a closer fiscal union — over to their bosses, the EU leaders meeting next week in Brussels.

The ministers did agree to use the fund to offer financial protection of 20 to 30 percent to investors who bought new bonds of troubled eurozone nations, an effort to help those countries get back to borrowing on global markets again.

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Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 05, 2011, 08:11:35 pm


IMF releases 2.2 billion euro in aid for Greece

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Monday agreed to release a 2.2 billion euro ($2.95 billion) aid disbursement to Greece, part of a three-year IMF-EU bailout package to help the debt-stricken country avoid bankruptcy.

"The executive board of the International Monetary Fund today completed the fifth review of Greece's economic performance under a program supported by a three-year Stand-By Arrangement for Greece," the IMF said in a brief statement.

The disbursement brings to 20.3 billion the sum paid out to Greece so far under the 30 billion euro IMF loan agreed in May last year. It is part of a bigger 110 billion euro rescue package for the country.

The approval of the latest aid tranche followed assurances by Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and his new unity government that the country would stick to terms of a debt reduction deal.

Last week, European leaders approved an 8 billion euro tranche for Greece.

An IMF mission will travel to Athens between December 12 and December 16 for preliminary discussions with the new coalition on economic policies.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 06, 2011, 12:27:52 pm


Anxious Greeks Emptying Their Bank Accounts

Many Greeks are draining their savings accounts because they are out of work, face rising taxes or are afraid the country will be forced to leave the euro zone. By withdrawing money, they are forcing banks to scale back their lending -- and are inadvertently making the recession even worse.

read more

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 07, 2011, 09:28:22 am

Greek lawmakers approve 2012 austerity budget

Greek lawmakers overwhelmingly back 2012 austerity budget in parliamentary vote

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's lawmakers overwhelmingly approved next year's austerity budget early Wednesday, extending tough spending cuts that have already left Greeks struggling as the country tries to slash its vast debts and tame a severe recession.

With three parties, including the majority socialists and their rival conservatives, participating in Greece's new coalition government, the budget was passed with a 258-41 majority in the 300-seat Parliament.

"This is a difficult budget ... with ambitious targets," Prime Minister Lucas Papademos told lawmakers just before the after-midnight vote. "But we must achieve our targets and implement the measures that are foreseen."

"The financial crisis in our country is not a passing storm," Papademos warned. "Given the size of the problems, our national effort will not be completed in 2012. It will take many years, and will require the efforts and insistence of several governments."

read more

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 22, 2011, 09:43:06 pm
Greek Budget Deficit To Pass 10% Of GDP, Country Stops Most Cash Outlays
20 December 2011, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)


While European banks may or may not succeed in delaying the inevitable unwind of the Eurozone by a month or two, the European credit catastrophe is taking on a grotesque form, first in Greece, where following news that the budget deficit will soar past an unprecedented 10% of GDP, the Greek government has halted virtually all cash outflows.

Ekathimerini reports that "The government has decided to stop tax returns and other obligation payments to enterprises, salary workers and pensioners."

In other words, the entire government has now virtually halted one half of its operations - the outlays - as the country reverts even more to its status as European bank debt slave, in perpetuity, or until the country breaks away from the Eurozone and reinstitutes the Drachma (which as Zero Hedge pointed out first in August, continues to trade When Issued at various desks) whichever comes first.


Now, before we forget, there is this one other country that runs 10% deficits of GDP... Oh no, we just forgot who it was... Whoever could it be?

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 24, 2011, 10:13:15 am


Greek Hospitals Turned Away Pregnant Women

Pregnant mothers are advised to remain calm at all times, but Elli Zachariadou could not hide her shock a few weeks ago when she heard reports about women having to pay at least €900 up front in order to give birth at public hospitals. Even more shocking to Zachariadou and other Greeks was the news that a number of hospitals had turned away pregnant women because they did not have the necessary cash.
“My immediate thought on hearing about the hospital charges was, how am I going to have this baby?” Zachariadou said. “You know, €900 is about three months’ rent. It’s not the kind of money we have lying around.” In years gone by, the 33-year-old Athenian’s social-security fund would have picked up most of her hospital bill, but she has joined the growing ranks of Greece’s long-term unemployed who have no such coverage.
As their country grapples with its economic problems, accessible and affordable health care is one of many things Greeks like Zachariadou can no longer take for granted. Burdened with a crippling public debt of some €350 billion, Greece’s economy is about to complete a worse-than-expected year. The recession will be deeper and the public deficit larger than the Greek government and its international lenders, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, had forecast.
The added element to the Greek crisis is that amid this economic maelstrom, the government has to carry out much-delayed structural reforms. One of these is the overhaul of Greece’s health service, where attempts are being made to cut spending and waste. However, this comes at a time when cash-strapped Greeks are relying on free or subsidized medical care in greater numbers. The Health Ministry said earlier this year that the number of patients being treated was up 8 percent this year on 2010. As a result, Zachariadou is one of tens of thousands caught in a fiscal crunch.

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Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 27, 2011, 09:09:04 am

Greek retail sees worst Christmas sales in decades

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's stores had their worst Christmas in decades, with retail sales dropping by 30 percent compared with the same period last year as the economic crisis shattered consumer confidence, the ESEE retail federation said on Tuesday.
"Nine out of 10 Greeks are less generous, not out of choice but out of necessity," ESEE said. "Retailers endured a Christmas gloom that chipped away any optimism they had before the holidays."
The sharp drop in sales came despite widespread discounts by retailers in the run-up to Christmas.
Greeks have been suffering wage and pension cuts, rising inflation and a recession now into its fourth year, which has slashed living standards and forced them to cut spending.
Clothing and footwear sales dropped 40 percent, electrical goods by 30 percent, and sales in the food and drinks sector by 15 percent compared with the same period

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 31, 2011, 09:26:34 am


Greek tax officials on strike over salary cuts

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek tax officials walked off the job Thursday at the start of a 48-hour strike to protest salary cuts and other austerity measures, as the government struggles to meet revenue targets demanded by the country's international creditors.

Tax offices shut down for the last two working days of the year, prompting hundreds of Greeks on Wednesday to rush to settle last-minute issues before the strike. Many handed over their car license plates, preferring to keep their vehicles off the road rather than paying an increased tax.

The Athens Chamber of Small Industries said it sent a letter to the country's finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, urging a change in the higher road tax and arguing it was clear the government would be unable to collect the euro1.2 billion ($1.55 billion) it hoped for from the levy.

The chamber said there had been a 30 percent increase in the number of people turning in their vehicle registration plates compared to previous years. That would lead to decreased road tax revenues and hurt the economy through a fall in the consumption of fuel, vehicle spare parts and spending on car maintenance and insurance, it said.

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Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 31, 2011, 09:28:09 am


Greek bond swap deal may soon be reached: official

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece could soon reach a deal with banks and private creditors on a bond swap to reduce its mountain of debt, the government spokesman said on Thursday, as it tries to resolve differences with its creditors and avoid default.
The deal is a pivotal part of a second, 130 billion euro ($168.3 billion) bailout package for Athens agreed by euro zone leaders in October. Greece, which faces bond redemptions of 14.5 billion euros in March, needs to seal the deal to avert a costly default.
"I think there will be an agreement relatively soon. I don't think there will be a problem with this deal," government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis told Real News radio.
"Apart from that, (the issue is) how many (bondholders) will participate, which will be seen at the end of next month or in early February," he said.

read more

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 01, 2012, 10:57:04 pm


Greek economic crisis turns tragic for children abandoned by their families

Nation shocked by stories of parents forced to give up children because of poverty – but charities warn of more cases to come

Even before Greece's economic crisis engulfed his own home, Dimitris Gasparinatos found it hard to provide for his six sons and four daughters. His wife, Christina, who was struggling to make ends meet with his salary of €960 (£800) a month and welfare aid of about €460 every two months, was unhappy and desperate.

Deep in debt, the couple owed money to the butcher, baker and grocer – the very people who had kept them going in the port of Patras, west of Athens. In their tiny flat, the family slipped increasingly into a life of squalor.

"Psychologically we were all in a bit of a mess," said Gasparinatos. "We were sleeping on mattresses on the floor, the rent hadn't been paid for months, something had to be done."

And so, with Christmas approaching, the 42-year-old took the decision to put in an official request for three of his boys and one daughter to be taken into care.
read more

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 02, 2012, 09:16:03 am
Well good...hopefully these pharmacists can see the evils of pharmakia will they are on hiatus!

Greek pharmacists, doctors on strike


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece is already seeing its first strike of the year, with pharmacists and doctors walking off the job to protest health sector reforms that include cuts in drug prices.

Pharmacists across the country began a 48-hour strike Monday to protest government plans to trim their profits by cutting the retail prices of drugs. They are also demanding payment of hundreds of thousands of euros owed by social insurance funds.

State hospital doctors started a four-day strike, objecting to government reforms to the state health system. The doctors were to be present at work but would be treating only emergency cases.

Greece has been surviving on international rescue loans since May 2010. It is negotiating the details of a second bailout.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 03, 2012, 04:25:07 pm
Sign bailout or face euro exit, Greece warns
3 January 2012, by William L. Watts - Frankfurt (MarketWatch)

Greece could be forced to leave the euro if it fails to seal an agreement on a second 130 billion euro ($169.5 billion) bailout from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and private bond holders, a government spokesman warned Tuesday.

"The bailout agreement has to be signed, otherwise we will be out of the markets, out of the euro," the spokesman, Pantelis Kapsis, told Skai TV, according to a BBC report.

The agreement has faced sharp domestic criticism.

European leaders agreed in principle last October on a new bailout plan for the country. EU, IMF and European Central Bank officials are set to arrive in Athens in mid-January to work out details of the plan.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Kilika on January 03, 2012, 04:45:10 pm
If they don't sign, what is Greece going to do, attack with Baklava? ;D

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 03, 2012, 05:20:44 pm
I have a question on this - is this one of those "darned if you do, darned if you don't" ultimatums for Greece?

I mean if they accept the bailout, the euro's going to eventually crash anyways as the "life support" will continue. And if they don't(even though it may be the right thing to do), the euro may crash right away.

It's as if the whole Hegelian Dialect is going on, where you have the rest of the EU vs. Greece - both are merely different sides of the same coin.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 04, 2012, 11:47:42 am
Summary Box: Greece could nix euro without bailout

WARNING: A spokesman for the Greek government said it might have to ditch the euro and push more austerity on its people if it can't get a second major international bailout.

PACKAGE ON HOLD: Greece is being kept afloat by a May 2010 bailout. An additional rescue package was set in October, after it became clear the first one wouldn't suffice.

PRIVATE CREDITORS WARY: Banks and insurance funds that hold a lot of Greece's debt agreed then to cut the value of their holdings by 50 percent, which would in effect slash Greece's borrowing. But the talks have snagged on crucial details.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 04, 2012, 06:48:11 pm
Millions of Greeks living in poverty



Millions of people in the cash-strapped Greece are now living in poverty, as a result of the government's harsh austerity measures aimed at ending its financial crisis, a new report says.

According to the Hellenic Statistical Agency's first official report in 2012, about 20 percent of Greek citizens, which is over two million people, are considered poor.
The monetary poverty line for Greece is set at the annual amount of 7,178 euros per person and 15,073 euros per household with two adults and two dependent children under the age of 14.
The poverty rate for children under 17 years was at 23 percent in 2011, which is three points higher than the poverty rate for the whole population.
read more

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 08, 2012, 07:37:52 pm
IMF losing confidence in Greece's ability to reform-report
7 January 2012,by Brian Rohan - Berlin (Reuters)

The International Monetary Fund is losing confidence in Greece's ability to clean up its public finances and work off its mountain of debt, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.

Citing an internal IMF memo, the news weekly said the body considered Greece's current readjustment programme insufficient and that new measures would have to be taken if the country is to avoid default and meet targets agreed with creditors.

The magazine said the IMF saw three options: either Athens enacts further austerity measures, private creditors write off more of their investments in the country's sovereign debt, or states in the euro zone increase bailout aid.

Earlier on Saturday, an adviser to Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a Greek newspaper that a 50% write-down on Greek debt holdings, part of Greece's debt swap deal, is not enough to put the country on a viable path.

Banks and investment funds have been negotiating with Athens for weeks on the scheme, which aims to cut Greece's debt-to-GDP ratio from 160% to a more manageable 120 percent by 2020 -- a key part of the country's second, €130 billion bailout.

Der Spiegel, in its edition that hits news stands on Sunday, says this 120% target is now in question.

It said the IMF had strong criticism for Athens' sluggish structural adjustment, especially regarding tax collection and state asset sales.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 08, 2012, 07:59:06 pm
Greece to 'sell bonds backed by state property'
07 January 2012, (AFP)

Crisis-hit Greece plans to sell bonds with state property as collateral to buy back sovereign debt and postpone a privatisation drive under unfavourable market conditions, a report said on Saturday.

To Vima weekly said the Hellenic state asset development fund, an agency set up last year to manage Greece's asset sales, plans to create a privatisation bond to buy back part of the country's enormous debt on the secondary market.

For every one billion euros earned by the planned bond, the state will be able to buy back older debt worth €2.5 billion given the currently depressed value of Greek debt, unnamed agency officials told the newspaper.

Greek state debt, which has exploded to over €350 billion ($447 billion), is currently trading up to 35% below its face value, To Vima said.

Athens last year pledged a sweeping privatisation drive in return for bailout loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

The process originally aimed to raise €5.5 billion by the end of the year, and €50 billion overall by 2015.

But targets have been revised owing to procedural delays and fears that a hurried sale in the present economic downturn will only bring limited revenue.

In December, Greece sold four disused Airbus A340 jets for $40.4 million, a sum which aviation unionists dismissed as scrap value.

The privatisation list includes ports, regional airports, utilities and motorways, a leading casino, public-owned defence, train and mining companies, and a key stake in Greece's monopoly gaming operator.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 09, 2012, 10:52:09 pm

Greece should quit euro unless "massive" funding given: Czech


(Reuters) - Greece should leave the euro zone and devalue its new currency unless Europe is willing to provide "massive" funding for the indebted country, Czech central bank Governor Miroslav Singer said in a newspaper interview.
Singer told daily Hospodarske Noviny Europeans should focus on helping banks which may need recapitalisation and on issues that can be resolved, rather than devoting attention for years to Greece which represents just two percent of the European economy.
"If there is not the will to give Greece a massive amount of money from European structural funds, I do not see any other solution than its departure from the euro zone and a massive devaluation of the new Greek currency," he said in the interview to be published on Monday.
"So far Greece has been given loans that served mainly for buying time and for rich Greeks to move their money out of the country. This lowers the trustworthiness of Europe and the willingness of non-European countries to lend or provide new capital to the International Monetary Fund for helping Europe."

read more

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 10, 2012, 12:14:07 am
Greece Spends Bailout Cash On European Military Purchases
9 January 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

European Companies Are Now Funding European Banks And The ECB - Is "Investment Grade" Cash Really Just Italian Treasurys?
9 January 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Also See:

ECB policymaker wants banks off Greece bailout hook
6 January 2012, by Paul Carrel - Frankfurt (Reuters)

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 12, 2012, 03:56:14 pm
Private creditors tell Greece time running short
12 January 2012, by Polya Lesova - London (MarketWatch)

Charles Dallara and Jean Lemierre, co-chairs of the Steering Committee of the Private Creditor-Investor Committee for Greece, said in a statement on Thursday that talks with the Greek government will continue in Athens on Friday, but "time for reaching an agreement is running short."

Dallara and Lemierre met in Athens on Thursday with the Greek prime minister and the finance minister to discuss a voluntary debt exchange between Greece and the private sector.

"It is essential in order to finalize the voluntary PSI agreement that support be given by all official parties in the days ahead,"

Dallara and Lemierre said in a statement.

Some media reports have said that private-sector investors may have to accept a 60% haircut on the face value of their Greek debt holdings, which would be above the 50% agreed by euro-zone leaders last October.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 15, 2012, 07:40:33 pm


S&P, Greek standoff pressure euro zone to boost defenses

LONDON (Reuters) - Financial markets are unlikely to be derailed by mass euro zone downgrades but with Greek debt talks at an impasse, pressure has been loaded on the bloc to shore up its defenses and glimmers of optimism from last week have been firmly doused.
With the United States and Japan already downgraded from "AAA" the likes of France and Austria are in good company and Standard & Poor's ratings cuts had been flagged in December. Nonetheless, the upbeat tone that surrounded last week's strong Spanish bond auction now seems a distant memory.
"The euro zone crisis is now dominating market activity again, after a period in which better economic news from the U.S., and easier monetary policy in China had helped markets move higher," said Dominic Rossi, chief investment officer, equities, at Fidelity Worldwide Investment.
U.S. markets are closed Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday but the euro zone will not have to wait long for a test of investor appetite.

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Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 16, 2012, 02:39:53 pm
S&P Says Greek Default Imminent
16 January 2012, Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Time for the dominos to fall where they may: head of sovereign ratings at S&P Kraemer spoke on Bloomberg TV, and said the following:




And the punchline:


The only thing he did not add is that the default will be Coercive.

What happens next is anyone's guess, but whatever it is it is certainly priced in.

Also, let's not forget that the inability of the market to react to any news ever again is most certainly priced in.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 16, 2012, 04:37:04 pm


Greek default fears grow as talks stall

ATHENS/LONDON (Reuters) - Greece's private sector creditors warned on Monday that the Athens government must urgently break a deadlock in debt swap talks triggered by "unreasonable" demands from international lenders if is to avoid a disorderly default.
Barely a month after an injection of bailout funds helped to avert bankruptcy, Greece is back at the centre of the euro zone crisis as fears of a default and a subsequent euro zone exit overshadow a mass credit downgrade of euro zone countries.
Cash-strapped Athens needs a deal with the private sector within days to avoid going bankrupt when 14.5 billion euros of bond redemptions fall due in late March.
But talks with its creditor banks broke down on Friday over the interest rate on new bonds Greece will offer and a plan to enforce investor losses. Negotiations were suspended until Wednesday, and Athens sent senior officials to Washington to consult with the International Monetary Fund.

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Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 17, 2012, 06:39:04 am


Greeks strike against austerity as EU, IMF visit

ATHENS (Reuters) - Thousands of angry Greek workers marched to parliament on Tuesday to protest against austerity, waving banners reading "EU, IMF out!" as Athens' lenders arrived for talks in a race against the clock to avert a messy bankruptcy.
Greece's private sector creditors warned on Monday that the government must urgently break a deadlock in negotiations on a plan to slash the country's debt if is to avoid a disorderly default when a major bond redemption comes due in late March.
A team of EU, IMF and ECB officials start combing through Athens' books on Tuesday as part of efforts to put together a 130-billion-euro rescue package the country needs, together with the debt swap deal, to stay afloat.
But ordinary Greeks, who have been hit hard by tax hikes and spending cuts which were part of a first bailout agreed in 2010, fear more austerity and wage cuts with the second bailout and say they cannot take more belt-tightening.

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Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 19, 2012, 05:43:37 pm
Greece: Eurozone won't add cash if bond talks fail


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Eurozone countries won't increase financial support for Greece if it fails to secure a bond-swap deal with private creditors, the country's foreign minister warned Thursday.

Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos's remarks came hours before he held a second day of talks with banking negotiators to reach a deal, known as the Private Sector Involvement, aimed at slashing the country's debt by euro100 billion ($130 billion).

Greece is facing a renewed threat of defaulting on its debts, with a euro14.5 billion ($18.7 billion) repayment looming March 20 and no funds to cover it.

"If there is a (financing) gap, this would have to be covered by a larger contribution from the official sector — that means the eurozone countries, directly or indirectly. And at this point, I do not see any willingness or readiness to increase that contribution," Venizelos told parliament. "So there must be no gap, and the Private Sector Involvement is very important."


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 21, 2012, 09:05:33 am


Greece's creditors leave Athens

LONDON/ATHENS (Reuters) - The representatives of Greece's private creditors left Athens unexpectedly on Saturday without a deal on a debt swap plan that is vital to avert a disorderly default, sources close to the negotiations told Reuters.
Negotiations will continue over the phone during the weekend but it is unlikely that an agreement can be clinched before next week, the sources said, as Athens races against the clock to strike a deal.
A lot of progress has been made on the details of the plan during talks between Athens and Institute of International Finance chief Charles Dallara, sources say, but any deal needs the approval of the IMF and euro zone countries, who insist on a substantial cut in the debt load.
The IMF and EU countries, and in particular the bloc's paymaster Germany, want to make sure the deal puts Greece's derailed finances back on a sustainable track before they agree to a new, 130-billion euro bailout, which is also crucial to avoid a messy default.
The IMF insists the debt swap deal must ensure Greece's debt burden will be cut to 120 percent of GDP by 2020 from 160 percent now, as agreed at an EU summit in October, and has warned that this is made more difficult by the fact that Athens' economic prospects have deteriorated since.

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Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 21, 2012, 09:25:35 am


Factbox: What happens if Greece defaults?

(Reuters) - Greece is expected to announce a bond swap deal with private sector creditors which will see at least half the value of their investments in its debt written off.
Such a deal is likely to tip the country into default, although that could mean several different things.
The three big credit rating agencies - Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor's - downgraded Greece in July after the debt swap plan was unveiled, assigning it "highly speculative" status and warning that losses for private creditors would imply a default. Fitch rates Greece CCC, S&P rates it CC and Moody's Ca.
Fitch and S&P make a distinction between a selective or restricted default, where a borrower stops making interest or principal payments on some debts, and an outright inability or refusal to repay creditors.
Market players often make similar distinctions, referring to "orderly and disorderly," "soft and hard" or "managed and messy" defaults.
Both rating agencies have said a debt exchange under which creditors take losses, whether voluntary or otherwise, would be a selective or restricted default.

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Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 21, 2012, 09:35:52 am

"Greece will default very shortly. Whether there will be a solution at the end of the current rocky negotiations I cannot say," Moritz Kraemer, the head of S&P's European sovereign ratings unit, told Bloomberg Television on Monday.
"There is a lot of brinksmanship (going) on and a disorderly default will have ramifications on other countries but I believe policymakers will want to avoid that ... The game is still on."
"It is going to happen. Greece is insolvent so it will default," Edward Parker, Managing Director for Fitch's Sovereign and Supranational Group in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Reuters on Tuesday. "So in that sense it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
"We have said for a long time that we don't think this (private sector involvement) is the way to go, and we would treat it as a default," Parker said. "It clearly is a default, however they try to spin it."
"It would be a default regardless of the size of the NPV (net present value) loss," Fitch's lead analyst for Greece, Paul Rawkins, said on Wednesday.

Title: S&P says likely to declare Greece in default
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 24, 2012, 09:34:55 am



NEW YORK (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's will likely downgrade Greece's ratings to "selective default" when the country concludes its debt restructuring, but that will not necessarily destroy the credibility of the European Union, an official with the ratings agency said on Tuesday.
"It's not a given that Greece's default would have a domino effect in the euro zone," John Chambers, the chairman of S&P's sovereign rating committee, said in an event organized by Blooomberg Link.
(Reporting By Walter Brandimarte, Daniel Bases and Steven C. Johnson)


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 24, 2012, 04:29:11 pm

Stocks slightly lower on Greek talks worries

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell in the United States and Europe on Tuesday as investors worried that a deal to cut Greece's national debt and hold off a possible financial crisis might fall through.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 49 points at 12,660 just after 2 p.m. EST. It has risen or fallen less than 100 points in 13 straight trading sessions, the longest stretch of calm since March and April of last year.

Treasury prices rose Tuesday from their lowest levels this year on uncertainty about whether Greece will reach a deal with its creditors. That drew money back into safer investments.

In Europe, Greece's stock market index fell 5.5 percent. Stocks fell less than 1 percent in Germany, France and Spain.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 24, 2012, 08:23:44 pm
Canadian dollar slides as Greek debt fears weigh



TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's dollar weakened against the U.S. currency on Tuesday, pulled lower with the euro and commodity prices as a setback in the latest efforts to restructure Greek debt triggered fresh worries about the stability of the euro zone economy.
Athens needs a deal very soon to ensure it can get its hands on funds from a 130-billion-euro rescue plan drawn up by its European partners and the International Monetary Fund. It needs the money before 14.5 billion euros of bond redemptions come due in March.
The market has already priced in an orderly default whereby private stakeholders would take a 50- to 70-percent haircut on their Greek debt holdings, said Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist and foreign exchange strategist at BMO Capital Markets.
"When talks break down you get a little bit more concerned that things aren't going to evolve that way and you get the chance of a disorderly default coming back on the table," he added.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 25, 2012, 09:41:09 pm

Economic ruin on the horizon for Greece: Germany cast doubts on saving country from financial meltdown

January 26, 2012 – GREECE - Angela Merkel has cast doubt for the first time on Europe’s chances of saving Greece from financial meltdown and sovereign default, conceding that Europe’s first ever multibillion euro bailout coupled with savage austerity was not working after a two-year crisis that has brought the single currency to the brink of unraveling. In an interview with the Guardian and five other leading European newspapers, the German chancellor also insisted – against widespread resistance elsewhere in the eurozone and in the UK – that the European court of justice (ECJ) be empowered to police public spending and budget policies of the 17 countries in the euro. She also called for the eventual creation of a European political union, with many more national powers ceded to a central government, a strengthened bicameral European parliament, and the ECJ assuming the role of Europe’s Supreme Court. Days before the latest EU summit, which, at Merkel’s insistence and evoking scant enthusiasm elsewhere, is to finalize an international treaty between eurozone governments entrenching German-style fiscal and budgetary rigor in all single currency countries, the chancellor admitted having doubts about the strategy she had pursued during the crisis. “We haven’t overcome the crisis yet. Of course, there’s Greece, a special case where, despite all the efforts that have been made, neither the Greeks themselves nor the international community have yet managed to stabilize the situation.” Asked about the European response over the past two years, during which Berlin has often dictated terms and encountered strong resistance in Brussels, Paris, and at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Merkel said: “Good politicians always have doubts, as a way of constantly reviewing whether they are on the right track.” There were no doubts about her aim – to save the euro and preserve the EU. The reservations concerned the means to those ends. With Europe’s biggest ever crisis moving into its third year, the chancellor is facing growing resistance to her key aim at Monday’s summit – finalizing the “fiscal compact” treaty that is the euro’s new rulebook, foreseeing quasi-automatic fines for fiscal sinners, empowering the Luxembourg-based ECJ to sit in judgment of the 17 countries’ budgets, and establishing legally binding debt ceilings for eurozone governments. –Guardian

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 26, 2012, 10:31:52 pm
Be ye not deceived...when they say peace and safety...


Greece, creditors edge closer to deal


After weeks of wrangling over the coupon, or interest rate, Greece must pay on new bonds it will swap for existing debt, attention has shifted to whether the ECB and other public creditors will follow private bondholders in swallowing losses.
A day after International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said the ECB may need to accept losses on its Greek holdings, the European Union's top economic official also warned more public money will be needed to make up a shortfall in the country's second bailout.


The ECB, which owns roughly 40 billion euros worth of Greek bonds, is no closer to agreeing on whether or not it will take losses on the Greek bonds it owns after a late night Wednesday meeting, euro zone central bank sources told Reuters.


So far the coupon on the new bonds had been the main stumbling block in the negotiations.
On Monday, euro zone ministers rejected the creditors' offer of a 4 percent coupon on new bonds after Greece and its EU/IMF lenders held out for a 3.5 percent interest rate. They want the lower coupon to ensure the country's debt falls to a target of 120 percent of GDP by 2020, from around 160 percent now.
A second source familiar with the negotiations said the "coupon is parked for current time until we can get closer on detail of the overall package". Asked if that would include the ECB, the source said: "We would expect it to, still to be determined though."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 26, 2012, 10:47:04 pm


The IMF, which is bound by rules to lend only to countries that have sustainable debt levels, has insisted on achieving a 120 percent debt level, but sources close to the talks said proposals now on the table would only get Greece down to around 130 percent.


IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned Wednesday that European public creditors would need to pitch in and help Greece.


While Greece has undertaken austerity measures, its bailout partners have been exasperated by its slow implementation of structural reforms and privatisation that are seen as necessary for the country to return to growth and pay its debts.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 27, 2012, 09:09:41 am

EU, IMF press Greece on reforms before aid flows


ATHENS (Reuters) - The European Union and IMF want Greece to push through more budget cuts and implement a series of long-agreed austerity reforms before they agree on a new bailout the country needs to avert bankruptcy, a report obtained by Reuters shows.
All eyes have been on Athens' tortuous debt swap talks with its private creditors over the past week, but Greece also needs to convince its euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund to release a 130-billion euro package if it is to avoid a chaotic default.
Athens' partners have grown increasingly exasperated with its repeated fiscal slippages and delays on reforms and want to see progress before they wrap up Greece's second multi-billion euro bailout in three years.
The EU, IMF and ECB lenders - known as the troika - have drawn up a report this week which includes a list of measures they want to see enacted by Athens.
Top of the list is passing a supplementary budget with more cuts to reach fiscal targets in 2012. The troika suggests large spending cuts in defense and health spending as well as cutting redundant state entities. The document does not specify the amount of cuts needed.
The EU and IMF are also pressing Greece to adopt a much-delayed reform of supplementary pensions, ensure that a plan to replace only 1 out of 5 civil servants leaving the workforce is enacted and want Greece to finalize the opening up of its many closed professions such as lawyers and pharmacists, which they have been demanding for years, the document shows.
They also want the Bank of Greece to complete its assessment of Greek banks' capital shortfall and they expect the government to enact legslation to improve wage flexibility and further liberalize product and service markets, the document says.
The list of measures is not final and could change after discussions with the Greek authorities, the document says.
Government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis said the government would try to negotiate some of the points on the list but repeated that Athens needed the bailout loan to stay afloat.
Asked if Greece would default without the aid, he told Skai TV: "It's obvious, if we don't get the loan, how are we going to find the money?"
But he added: "This is not what we will finally pass, we should keep that in mind. It's a list by the troika that opens up all those issues ... Some of them are past obligations, some are up for negotiation."
Talks with EU, IMF and ECB inspectors on the new bailout program are expected to go well into next week, sources close to the talks say, with slow process so far on fleshing out reforms required by the lenders on areas such as cutting the public sector workforce and making wage rules in the public and private sector more flexible.
Looming elections are distracting senior Greek officials and politicians from enacting the unpopular austerity reforms.
Greece's co-ruling conservative New Democracy party wants snap elections as a new bailout deal is clinched and no later than April 8.
Greece and its private creditors made progress on Thursday in talks on restructuring its debt, both sides said, and they will continue negotiating on Friday with the aim of sealing an agreement within a few days. There was no set time yet for Friday's meetings.
(Reporting by Ingrid Melander, editing by Mike Peacock)

Title: What we worry about when we worry about Greek debt
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 28, 2012, 09:08:35 am

January 28, 2012 — NEW YORK (AP) — Remember Greece?

It's been two years since a financial crisis erupted in the birthplace of drama, and the final act is still unfinished. A second week of talks in Athens ended Friday with no deal between the country, the European Union and private holders of Greek bonds.

Remarkably, even after the crisis became such an international worry last year that the leaders of France and Germany were actually referred to as "Merkozy," the European debt bomb could still explode, with Greece as the fuse.

Economists and investors see a Greek default as the biggest test of the world financial system since the crisis that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers investment house in 2008. It is also the biggest threat to what has been a successful start to the year in the U.S. stock market. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has gained 4.7 percent, roughly half its average for a full year, in just four weeks.

"If talks break down next week and it looks like they can't reach a deal, it raises all sorts of risks," says Jeffrey Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. "The stock market could probably lose half its gains for the year."

On paper, it's hard to see how Greece could take down financial markets in the U.S., the world's biggest economy, with $15.2 trillion in goods and services churned out every year. Consider: — Greece's economy weighs in at euro220 billion, according to the International Monetary Fund's estimates. That translates to $285 billion, which puts Greece's economy on par with Maryland's. The U.S. sells about $1.6 billion in weapons, medicine and other products to Greece each year, a minuscule 0.07 percent of exports.


Title: Germany wants Greece to give up budget control
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 28, 2012, 09:12:22 am

By Noah Barkin

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is pushing for Greece to relinquish control over its budget policy to European institutions as part of discussions over a second rescue package, a European source told Reuters on Friday.

"There are internal discussions within the Euro group and proposals, one of which comes from Germany, on how to constructively treat country aid programs that are continuously off track, whether this can simply be ignored or whether we say that's enough," the source said.

The source added that under the proposals European institutions already operating in Greece should be given "certain decision-making powers" over fiscal policy.

"This could be carried out even more stringently through external expertise," the source said.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 28, 2012, 08:02:59 pm
Endgame Begins - UK "Foreign Office Sources Say Merkel Now Thinks Greece Will Default"
27 January 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 28, 2012, 08:07:02 pm



Expect Greek "Bank Holiday" Soon

Perhaps I am mistaken but I do not see any chance Greece will agree with this proposal.

German and IMF demands make meaningless any hint of a deal "soon". Germany has signaled it has had enough and will not throw another 130 billion euros down a rathole. The IMF signaled the same thing but not as emphatically.

Thus, if Germany does not back down and the IMF insists on a 10-page list of “prior actions” a Greek exit from the Eurozone is at hand. 

Look for a "bank holiday" in Greece soon.

Title: Greece rejects German proposal for EU budget veto
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 29, 2012, 04:09:32 pm


The finance minister of debt-stricken Greece on Sunday rejected a proposal from Germany for the EU to take control over its tax and spend decisions, citing national sovereignty.
"Whoever hands people a dilemma between financial aid and national dignity is ignoring basic historical teaching," said Evangelos Venizelos on the eve of an EU summit on the eurozone debt crisis in Brussels.
In a statement released as he left for the meeting, Venizelos said: "Our partners know that European unification is founded on the institutional equality of member states and respect for national identity."
German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler had said he supported stricter EU monitoring of Greece, in an interview to be published Monday, after Athens dismissed calls for it to give up control over its budget.
Roesler told the daily Bild that the EU should step in to ensure that Greece toes the line on budget austerity, saying: "We need more leadership and monitoring in implementing the course of reform."
"If the Greeks fail to do this themselves, the leadership and monitoring must come in a stronger way from outside, for example via the EU."
The idea that Greece might cede budget control to the EU was contained in a German submission to its eurozone partners first revealed late Friday by the Financial Times and confirmed by European sources.
Under the radical plan, a commissioner appointed by the 16 other eurozone finance ministers could veto budget decisions made by Athens.
Greece is now trying to wrap up a deal with private investors -- including banks, insurance companies and investment funds -- who have been asked to take a "haircut" worth about half the money owed to them.
For Greece, agreeing on such a deal is a precondition for further bailout funds from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Athens faces a critical bond reimbursement worth 14.5 billion euros on March 20.
Under the Private Sector Involvement deal, the creditors are asked to accept a halving of the 200 billion euros in debt they hold. Talks have been snagged on the amount of interest to be paid on the remainder.
Venizelos told reporters Saturday he was hopeful of a deal within days.
Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, meanwhile, said on Sunday there was "total convergence" among his political allies on new austerity measures needed for a second bailout and on debt cuts to avert default.
"This will allow us to negotiate in the best conditions," Papademos said.
Papademos had sought agreement on the broad outlines of an accord with the private creditors, and the new recovery plan put forward by the EU and IMF.
He had held talks with his Socialist predecessor George Papandreou, as well as Antonis Samaras, head of the centre-right New Democracy party, and far-right leader George Karatzaferis.
Papademos said negotiations with the private creditors "are not easy" -- adding that "the partners want additional engagements and conditions" -- but stressed that if the talks failed, Athens "faced the spectre of default".
"We will together put up a hard fight to guarantee the country's place in Europe and the eurozone... united we can succeed," he said.
The eurozone and the IMF are demanding this commitment, asking for it in writing, for the second time since November, so that Greece will stay on the straight and narrow through early elections to be held in the spring.
Samaras, a longtime proponent of EU-IMF remedies, is tipped to win the polls.
The international troika of the European Commission, ECB and IMF is trying to make Greece's debt mountain sustainable by 2020.
They demand austerity measures and deregulation before they will agree to release the second bailout, initially agreed in October, for 130 billion euros.
Among proposed measures are revising wages to boost competitiveness at a time when the economy is facing its worst recession in decades. The troika is also asking for new cuts in social benefits and higher property taxes.

Title: Germans float direct EU control over Greek budget
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 29, 2012, 05:51:27 pm
Jan 29, 1:39 PM EST
Germans float direct EU control over Greek budget
By JUERGEN BAETZ Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany is proposing that debt-ridden Greece temporarily cede sovereignty over tax and spending decisions to a powerful eurozone budget commissioner before it can secure further bailouts, an official in Berlin said Saturday.

The idea was quickly rejected by the European Union's executive body and the government in Athens, with the EU Commission in Brussels insisting that "executive tasks must remain the full responsibility of the Greek government, which is accountable before its citizens and its institutions."

But the German official said the initiative is being discussed among the 17-nation currency bloc's finance ministers because Greece has repeatedly failed to fulfill its commitments under its current euro110 billion ($145 billion) lifeline.

Title: Investors face more than 70 pct loss in Greek deal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 31, 2012, 06:02:54 pm
Investors face more than 70 pct loss in Greek deal



BRUSSELS (AP) — Investors participating in a deal to slash Greece's massive debt would face an overall loss on their bond holdings of more than 70 percent, a person involved in with the negotiations said early Tuesday.

European leaders at a summit in Brussels said a final debt deal could be signed off in the coming days, together with a second multibillion-euro bailout package designed to save the country from a potentially disastrous bankruptcy.

Athens and representatives of investors holding Greek government bonds over the weekend came close to a final agreement designed to bring Greece's debt down to a more manageable level. Without a restructuring, those debts would swell to around double the country's economic output by the end of the year.

If the agreement works as planned, it will help Greece remain solvent and help Europe avoid a blow to its already weakened financial system, even though banks and other bond investors will have to accept big losses.

The person involved in the talks said Monday that the more-than 70 percent loss was the result of cutting the bonds' face value in half, reducing the average interest rate to between 3.5 per cent and 4 percent and pushing repayment of the bonds 30 years into the future. A second person briefed on the talks confirmed that the loss on the so-called net present value of the bonds would be around 70 percent.


Title: Greece Warns It Will Soon Be In “Condition Of Absolute Poverty”
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 01, 2012, 09:20:39 pm
Greece Warns It Will Soon Be In “Condition Of Absolute Poverty”
1 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)


From Kathimerini:

The jobs to be lost concern 60,000 employers and 100,000 employees in the sector, ESEE expects.

Given the data for a 6.2% fall in household consumption in 2011 and the Eurostat forecast for a further decline by 4.3% this year, ESEE warns that soon Greece will be in a condition of absolute poverty.

With 60,000 enterprises having shut down since the start of the crisis to date, their number is set to double by the end of this year, ESEE estimates.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 02, 2012, 12:32:12 pm
EU official: Greece needs extra $20 billion


BRUSSELS (AP) — Greece needs about an extra euro15 billion ($20 billion) to get its debt down to manageable levels — and the rest of 17-country eurozone is being asked to help foot the bill.

Debt-ridden Greece is close to a deal with private investors to reduce its debt burden by about euro100 billion and that — plus an agreement to enact deep spending cuts — could pave the way for a euro130 billion bailout from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund. But on Thursday a European Union official said this plan was not enough to help fix Greece's problems, which are getting worse as the effects of the recession take hold.

In order to bring Greece's debt burden to a sustainable level — 120 per cent of its economic output in eight years' time — the country's international debt inspectors calculate that Greece needs an additional euro15 billion — a shortfall it believes should be made up by the rest of the 17-country eurozone, the European official. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter

The extra money, in theory, could come either from the other euro countries or by having the European Central bank, its national counterparts and state-owned banks like France's Caisse de Depots taking a loss on their Greek bond holdings, the official said. Analysts estimate that the European Central Bank holds euro50 billion to euro55 billion in Greek bonds by face value but it can't simply write them down without breaking the EU treaty, which prohibits the bank from financing governments. Writing off a debt would be, in effect, transferring money directly to a government.



Title: Greece Seen as Struggle Even After 2nd Rescue
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 02, 2012, 12:33:48 pm
Greece Seen as Struggle Even After 2nd Rescue



Greece, struggling to seal agreement on a second rescue from creditors in coming days, will remain at risk of abandoning the euro, say economists including Holger Schmieding of Berenberg Bank.

Greece may stay saddled with too much debt, too little economic growth and too large a budget hole to do without yet more aid that euro nations led by Germany are increasingly reluctant to offer.

Deeper spending cuts required for extra loans of at least 130 billion euros ($170 billion) and domestic resistance to overhauling the economy risk limiting the impact of any second aid package, the economists say. The deal is also slated to include a 50 percent cut in the face value of more than 200 billion euros of Greek debt through a voluntary exchange by private creditors of outstanding bonds for new securities.

“Greece is in deep trouble,” Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg in London, said in a Jan. 30 report. “The current Greek adjustment program is failing. Excessive austerity, a lack of supply-side reforms, administrative incompetence and political deadlock have pushed the Greek economy into an apparent death spiral. More of the same will not work.”


Title: Greece yet to resolve major issues in talks with lenders
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 04, 2012, 08:22:36 am


ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece is still struggling to overcome "crucial" issues before it can secure a 130-billion-euro ($171 billion)bailout package needed to avert a messy bankruptcy, the country's finance minister said.
After marathon negotiations on Friday to agree tough labor reforms that would appease both wary political leaders and irate lenders faced with a rising bill to save the country from bankruptcy, Athens said more work was needed to seal a deal.
"After 12 hours of tough negotiations, we have solved many issues but other crucial issues are still open," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters.
A long-delayed bond-swap with private bondholders is now the "easier" part of talks to save Greece from bankruptcy, he said.
Greece is under growing pressure to wrap up talks on the bailout and a bond swap to avert a chaotic default, but hopes of an imminent deal faded after euro zone finance ministers put off a meeting expected on Monday to finalize the rescue.


Title: Greek banks recap via common shares with restrictions: source
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 04, 2012, 02:14:25 pm


ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has agreed to recapitalize its struggling banks after a planned bond swap largely through common shares with restricted voting rights, a banking source told Reuters on Saturday.
The banks are expected to require recapitalization because of impaired loans and losses from a bond swap to ease Greece's debt burden.
Investors were worried that banks would fall under state control if they were recapitalized via common voting shares rather than non-voting instruments. The inclusion of restricted voting rights suggested the banks would remain privately-run to a certain extent at least.
"Greek banks' recapitalization will be done mainly through common shares with restricted voting rights," a senior banker said without providing further details.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos)

Title: New Greek package may require up to 145 billion from euro zone
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 04, 2012, 02:19:34 pm
New Greek package may require up to 145 billion from euro zone

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone governments may have to provide up to 145 billion euros to Athens under a second emergency loan program for Greece, EU sources said on Friday, 15 billion euros more than previously expected.
The extra funds are mainly required to help recapitalize the Greek banking sector once a deal is struck to write down the value of bonds owned by private-sector creditors, the sources said.
"It's mostly because of recapitalization needs of Greek banks due to PSI," one of the sources said, referring to what's called private sector involvement. The other source did not say explicitly that 145 billion euros would be needed, but said that figure was the right order of size.
Negotiations with private sector creditors to take a 70 percent net-present-value writedown on their holdings, cutting Greece's debts by around 100 billion euros, are close to being concluded.
But it remains unclear how much of a writedown the official sector - the European Central Banks and national euro zone central banks - may have to take on their holdings of Greek government bonds in order to make Greece's overall debt burden sustainable.
The IMF says Greece's debts must be cut from around 160 percent of GDP now to 120 percent of GDP by 2020 in order to be sustainable. The conclusion of PSI will help bring the debts close to 120 percent by 2020, but not all the way there.
As a result, there is expected to be a need for the official sector to take a hit, in addition to the extra funds from euro zone governments, the sources said.


Title: Greece has '24 hours' to clinch debt deal'
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 04, 2012, 02:21:41 pm


Greece has one day left to clinch a eurozone bailout and a bond swap with creditors to manage its crushing debt repayments, the finance minister said Saturday, warning that talks were "on a knife edge."
"The moment is very critical," Evangelos Venizelos told reporters after a telephone conference with fellow eurozone finance ministers, which he described as "very difficult.".
"Everything must be concluded by tomorrow night... so that we can be within the timetable given the bond maturities in March," the minister said.
"We are on a knife edge."
Athens has been negotiating with the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank on further action needed to unlock a new rescue deal worth 130 billion euros ($171 billion).
Pressure is also mounting for a deal with private lenders to wipe out part of the 350-billion-euro Greek debt, with Athens facing imminent loan repayments of 14.4 billion euros ($19 billion) on March 20.


Title: Greece on "knife edge" in last hours to agree bailout
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 05, 2012, 07:49:08 am


ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's prime minister scrambled on Sunday to convince lenders and politicians to sign off on a 130 billion euro ($171 billion) rescue, after his finance minister said just hours remain before the euro zone abandons the country to its fate.
A technocrat appointed in November, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is trying to ensure cash-strapped Greece avoids sinking into a chaotic default when big bond redemptions come due next month.
His finance minister said Athens had only until Sunday night to clinch a second financing package from lenders, after euro zone ministers bluntly told him they were ready to abandon Greece without proof it could push through painful cuts.
"We are on a knife edge," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Saturday after what he called a "very difficult" conference call with euro zone counterparts.


Title: Most Germans want Greece to quit euro: poll
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 05, 2012, 07:55:44 am


Most Germans want Greece to quit euro: poll

BERLIN (Reuters) - The majority of Germans feel the euro currency bloc would be better off if debt-crippled Greece left it, a poll published in mass-selling newspaper Bild am Sonntag showed on Sunday.
The Emnid poll said 53 percent of Germans surveyed thought Greece should return to its former currency, the drachma, while only 34 percent felt it should keep the euro.
Euro zone ministers had hoped to meet this coming Monday to finalize the second Greek bailout, which must be in place by mid-March to prevent a chaotic default, but the meeting was postponed because of reluctance in Athens to commit to reforms.
Without the austerity measures, which include cutting holiday bonuses and lowering the minimum wage in a country reeling from its fifth year of recession, the ministers say they cannot approve the 130 billion euro ($171 billion) rescue plan.
The Emnid poll said 80 percent of Germans surveyed opposes releasing the rescue package unless Greece implements the reforms.
(Writing by Brian Rohan; Editing by Will Waterman)

Title: Greece's efforts to secure 2nd bailout and avoid default stalls 2/5/12
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 05, 2012, 03:14:00 pm

Greece Fights on Two Fronts to Secure New Bailout


ATHENS — Greece’s efforts to secure a second, €130 billion international bailout and avoid a default next month stalled on Sunday.

Prime Minister Lucas D. Papademos met with leaders of the three parties in his coalition government to seek their support for the austerity measures demanded by the country’s creditors, including a reduction in the public payroll and pay cuts for workers in the private sector.

At the same time, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos met with representatives of creditor banks to secure agreement on a bond swap that would lower Greece’s debt by €100 billion, or $132 billion.

The so-called troika of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are demanding that the Greek government impose new austerity measures before granting the country a second bailout. On Sunday, Mr. Papademos sought the backing of Antonis Samaras, head of New Democracy, and Giorgos Karatzaferis, leader of the Popular Orthodox Rally, and George A. Papandreou, the former prime minister.

While all three parties are part of Mr. Papademos’s coalition government, they were clearly reluctant to endorse measures on top of those that have already helped send the national economy into recession.

Leaving the prime minister’s residence on Sunday, Mr. Karatzaferis told reporters that he “will not contribute to the explosion of a revolution due to a wretchedness that will then spread across Europe.”

He did not elaborate.

Mr. Samaras also suggested that no agreement was reached on imposing further austerity measures.

“They are asking for more recession than the country can take,” he said, referring to the troika. “I am fighting against this.”

The prime minister’s office released a statement Sunday saying that Mr. Papademos and political leaders “agreed on basic issues including the implementation of measures within 2012 to curb public spending by 1.5 percent of G.D.P., securing the viability of auxiliary pensions, tackling a competitiveness deficit by taking measures which include the reduction of wage costs and nonwage costs — in a bid to boost employment and economic activity — the recapitalization of banks using a combination of methods that secure the promotion of public interest with the banks’ corporate independence.”

“The premier and party leaders are to meet again tomorrow to complete negotiations on the content of the program,” the statement concluded.

Mr. Papademos’s effort to line up support for the new measures have been hampered by turmoil within the parties, including a challenge to the former prime minister, Mr. Papandreou, from within Pasok, the largest party in Parliament.

Mr. Venizelos, the finance minister, met Sunday with Charles H. Dallara, managing director of the Institute of International Finance. Mr. Dallara represents the banks that are being asked to swap their current holdings of Greek debt for new securities, a key component of the proposed bailout.

Those talks have dragged on for months.

Greece must make a €14.5 billion debt payment on March 20 or risk a default that could prove disastrous not only for the country, but for the broader euro zone, and deal a blow to a fragile global economy.

In Germany — the country that has contributed the most to the rescue package — there is widespread skepticism that Greece has the will to make the changes needed to avoid bankruptcy. A majority of Germans — 53 percent — think the euro zone would be better off if Greece reintroduced its own currency, according to a survey conducted by Emnid for the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Of those surveyed, 34 percent thought it would be a bad idea for Greece to leave the euro zone. A full 80 percent opposed releasing the next installment of rescue funds unless Greece complies with the program of austerity measures it has agreed to.

Politicians have also become less shy about discussing Greek bankruptcy, once a taboo subject.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg and head of the Euro Group of finance ministers, told the German magazine Der Spiegel that Greece would be bankrupt in March if it did not meet the terms for further aid. The threat of bankruptcy “should give Greece some strength when at the moment there are some signs of paralysis,” Mr. Juncker said, according to Der Spiegel.

Mr. Juncker criticized Greece for failing to adhere to the schedule for selling state assets, and said the country’s image suffered because “there are elements of corruption at all levels of administration.”

A euro zone official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said that Mr. Juncker's comments constituted a warning to Greece and reflected the growing sentiment that Greece needed to accept the tough conditions laid down by international lenders if it was to receive a second bailout.

“There comes a point where something has to give — and people are becoming frustrated,” said the official.

Mr. Ackermann suggested last week that the European Central Bank, which owns Greek bonds with an estimated face value of €50 billion, might also need to pitch in.

“Investors have made a big contribution,” Mr. Ackermann said, in response to a question about the E.C.B.’s role. “With so much at stake, all sides should contribute.”

The E.C.B. has refused to take part in debt relief because it does not want to be seen as providing financing to governments, which it regards as a violation of its charter.

There is speculation, however, that the E.C.B. might find a way to contribute profit from its holdings of Greek bonds.

The central bank bought the bonds on the market at a steep discount and could profit from interest payments and repayment of principal.

Title: Greece forces overtime in critical debt talks
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 05, 2012, 04:39:40 pm


Greece on Sunday insisted on extending critical talks on a debt rescue into Monday, as the government's coalition backers denounced pressure from public creditors to pass harsher austerity measures.
After a five-hour meeting with his socialist, conservative and far-right allies, Prime Minister Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said the talks would continue on Monday, and that agreement had been reached on many issues.
But George Karatzaferis, leader of far-right party LAOS and Antonis Samaras, head of the conservative New Democracy party both attacked what they said was pressure to impose even harsher cuts on the Greek people.
"I will not contribute to the explosion of a revolution from destitution that will burn all of Europe," Karatzaferis told reporters as he exited the meeting.
Moments later, Samaras said the country was "being asked for more austerity, which it is unable to bear. I am fighting to prevent this."
Athens has been in talks with the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank -- known as the 'troika' here -- on further action needed to unlock a new eurozone rescue deal worth 130 billion euros ($171 billion) pending since October.
Pressure is also high for an agreement with private lenders to wipe out part of the 350-billion-euro Greek debt, as Athens faces loan repayments of 14.4 billion euros ($19 billion) on March 20.
The measures demanded by the troika reportedly included a 20-percent cut to the monthly minimum wage of 750 euros ($985); a 15-percent cut in supplementary pensions; and 15,000 civil service redundancies this year.
Earlier, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos had warned that agreement had to be reached on Sunday for Greece to keep up its debt repayment schedule safely.
"Everything must be concluded by (Sunday) night... so that we can be within the timetable given the bond maturities in March," Venizelos said.
"We are on a knife edge," the minister had warned on Saturday.
Papademos, who has reportedly threatened to resign if his coalition fails to back him, concentrated on what had been achieved so far in his comments Sunday evening.
He said the political leaders had agreed on "basic elements" including new public spending cuts, pension adjustments and bank recapitalisation in addition to a controversial labour cost revision.
The leaders had also agreed to "take measures to reduce public spending by 1.5 percent of output in 2012" and tackle a competitiveness deficit by reducing wage and non-wage costs, a measure strongly opposed by unions, he said.
Agreement had also been reached on recapitalising Greek banks taking part in a voluntary debt write-down in a way that would ensure the banks' "business autonomy", said Papademos. Lenders accepting state aid would not be nationalised, he said.
The caretaker prime minister also held back-to-back meetings with senior troika officials and representatives of the Institute of International Finance, the global banking organisation leading the debt writedown talks.
Papademos is himself a former European Central Bank deputy chief.
IIF managing director Charles Dallara and Jean Lemierre, adviser to French bank BNP Paribas, made no statements after the talks.
Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker has turned the heat on Athens, threatening to cut off funds if reforms were seen to stall.
"If we were to see that everything was failing in Greece then there wouldn't be a new (refinance) programme," Juncker told German magazine Spiegel.
French Economy Minister Francois Baroin on Sunday said talks were "difficult" but that progress had been made on the privately held debt swap.
"In any case, the rendez-vous is on February 13 at the latest," Baroin said, referring to the tentative deadline for a deal.
Europe's commissioner for maritime affairs Maria Damanaki, who is Greek, said the country has been on a "disastrous path".
"For two years we have promised changes which we failed to pursue, or failed to complete," she told To Vima weekly.
"We say much and do little. We agree to timetables we do not keep. Hence we have created the image of a state that is systematically unreliable," Damanaki said.
The debt deal is also decisive for Greece's political future, as the government is expected to hold early elections upon its conclusion.

Title: Greece caves in on civil service firings
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 06, 2012, 01:12:40 pm


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's coalition government on Monday caved in to demands to cut civil service jobs, announcing 15,000 positions would go this year, amid mounting international pressure to agree on austerity measures needed to secure major new debt agreements.

The announcement signals a shift in Greece's policy, as state jobs have so far been protected during the country's acute financial crisis, which started about two years ago. Public Sector Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas said the job cuts would be carried out under a new law that allows such firings.

Unions have called a 24-hour general strike for Tuesday, in response to the new austerity measures, while about 4,000 protesters braved torrential rain late Monday to join protest rallies organized in central Athens by left-wing opposition parties.

Greece is racing to push through painful reforms and clinch a euro130 billion ($170 billion) bailout deal from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund to avoid a March default on its bond payments.

Debt-ridden Greece has been kept solvent since May 2010 by payments from a euro110 billion ($145 billion) international rescue loan package. When it became clear the money would not be enough, a second bailout was decided last October.

Its implementation depends on the austerity measures but also on separate talks with banks and other private bondholders to forgive euro100 billion ($131.6 billion) in Greek debt, in exchange for a cash payment and new bonds worth 50 per cent less than the original face value, longer repayment terms and a cut in the interest rate to be paid on the bonds. Greek government officials say they expect private investors to take an overall cut of up to 70 percent on the value of their bonds.

But delays in negotiations with rescue creditors pushed a crucial meeting of coalition party leaders back by one day to Tuesday.

"We are opposed to indiscriminate firings," Reppas said. "The work force reduction is strictly connected with the restructuring of services and organizations at each ministry."

Officials at the Public Sector Reform Ministry gave no details of the new plan, or say how many of the job cuts would be compulsory.

The government has promised to reduce the 750,000-strong broader public sector by 150,000 by the end of 2015, but has so far insisted it could reach that target through staff attrition.

Greece's coalition party leaders pushed back a key meeting by a day till Tuesday, due to the ongoing negotiations with EU-IMF debt inspectors who were to hold a new round of talks later Monday.

They have already agreed to cut 2012 spending by 1.5 percent of gross domestic product — about euro3.3 billion ($4.3 billion) — improve competitiveness by slashing wages and non-wage costs, and re-capitalize banks without nationalizing them.

Creditors are also demanding spending cuts in defense, health and social security, a cut in the minimum wage, as well as the civil service layoffs, as European pressure increased on Greece to make more concessions.

European Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj Tardio said Greece is already "beyond the deadline" to end the talks.

After talks in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there can be no bailout deal unless Athens implements creditors' proposals.

"(The proposals) are on the table," she said. "And time is pressing. Therefore something has to happen quickly."

"Time is pressing and for the entire eurozone is much at stake," Merkel added.

Greece is in its fifth year of recession, while unemployment has hit record highs of about 19 percent — following a spate of austerity measures in return for the rescue loans, that included significant cuts in pensions and salaries coupled with repeated tax hikes and an increase in retirement ages.

"The current policy of austerity ... is turning workers into pariahs, jobless people and pensioners into paupers and deprives our youth of any hope," a statement from the servants' union ADEDY said. "This policy has already pushed Greeks beyond their limits and must be stopped at any cost."

Yiannis Panagopoulos, leader of Greece's largest union, the GSEE, said the creditors' demands were certain to lead to more hardship.

"What is going on is not a negotiation," he said. "It's blunt, cynical blackmail targeting an entire people."

Title: Greek PM Papademos Requests Default Report, Pasok Spokesman Says
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 06, 2012, 05:47:36 pm


Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Greece’s Prime Minister Lucas Papademos requested the country’s Finance Ministry to prepare a document on the implications of a Greek default, Panos Beglitis, spokesman for the socialist Pasok Party said.

The Prime Minister yesterday told the leaders of the three political parties supporting his interim government that he asked the Ministry “to record accurately and realistically all the consequences of the country’s exit from the euro zone,” Beglitis said today in an interview with Radio 9, according to a transcript of his comments e-mailed from the Athens-based offices of Pasok.

“It’s an important initiative because the Greek people should know exactly what consequences a bankruptcy and euro zone exit would have and thereby take their responsibility,” Beglitis said.

Papademos will tomorrow confer with George Papandreou, leader of Pasok, the biggest party in parliament, Antonis Samaras, head of the second-biggest, New Democracy, and George Karatzaferis, leader of the Laos party, to hammer out details for an accord framework to meet conditions of a 130 billion-euro (170 million) bailout. A tentative consensus was reached among the leaders at a meeting yesterday.

Title: Greece's Dithering Is Hurting Everyone
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 06, 2012, 05:56:22 pm



Fears that Greece won't accept a new bailout deal are having a chilling ripple effect from Greece to Western Europe to the United States. Political leaders of the debt-ridden country have yet to accept deeply unpopular reductions in public wages and other actions linked to a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. With only weeks left until the country defaults, Greece's prime minister Lucas Papademos postponed a meeting Monday of leaders from the conservative, socialist, and far-right parties. Here's who's been impacted:
The U.S. As The Wall Street Journal reports, though Greek leaders did agree to cut 15,000 public-sector jobs by the end of the year, the meeting's postponement until Tuesday rattled leading blue chip stocks in the U.S. "Seven of the S&P 500's 10 sectors finished in the red Monday, led lower by materials and financials. Travelers fell 1.3%, while Pfizer and Boeing each fell 1.2%, leading blue chips lower." Other sliding corporate stocks include Humana, Sysco, and Consolidated Communications Holdings. Jerry Webman, chief economist of OppenheimerFunds, tells the newspaper that recent gains in the market are no match for sour news in Europe. "You do get up this morning and see again this stalemate or case of brinksmanship in Europe, and you remember that the fairly tepid recovery we're seeing in the U.S. and other places means it's vulnerable. When you don't have a lot of momentum, it's easier to stop it."
Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is the primary paymaster of Greece, unleashed on the small debt-ridden country Monday. "I honestly can't understand how additional days will help. Time is of the essence. A lot is at stake for the entire euro zone," she said. According to Reuters, "Merkel expressed the exasperation spreading among euro zone leaders at seemingly endless arguing in Athens that has yet to produce a definitive acceptance of the austerity and reform conditions demanded by the lenders."
France The political fortunes of French President Nicolas Sarkozy have been devastated by Greece's drag on the French economy, causing some to openly speculate that the conservative politician will be the "next domino to fall" following prime minister upheavals in Britain, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland. Today, the French president warned the indebted nation that "The situation of Greece must be resolved once and for all.” As The Globe and Mail's Eric Reguly writes, "Now he’s on the defensive, trailing in the polls, and faces being trounced by an unlikely candidate, the bland (in comparison) François Hollande of the Socialist Party, while Marine Le Pen, of the xenophobic, anti-euro, extreme right Front National party, is coming on strong,"

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Title: IMF's Blanchard sees "very large" Greek haircut
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 06, 2012, 10:02:01 pm


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The IMF's chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, said on Monday it looks like the 'haircut' on Greek private debt will be "very large" as negotiations between bondholders and the government drag on to cut Greece's debt burden.
"With respect to private creditors at this stage it looks like the haircut will be very large," Blanchard told an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, adding: "But that is only half of what it needs, and it may be in a way it's the easier half, the other half is (improving) competitiveness."
Blanchard said Greece needs a "dramatic" reduction in its public debt. The IMF has said Greece needs to cut its debt to 120 percent of gross domestic product by 2020 - from nearly 160 percent now - to put its economy on a sustainable path.
Blanchard said the only way for Greece to eventually emerge from its economic doldrums was for the government to cut public debt and reduce labor costs and for a commitment by Europeans to support Greece "as long as it's needed."


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Kilika on February 07, 2012, 02:03:22 am
This whole thing is a joke. A bad joke. They are milking this for all it's worth and then some. All they have to do is agree to bail them out and then do it. These dramatic back and forths is getting really old. Geece has been on the verge of collapse for how long now? It's ready for as long as they decide to drag it out.

We have how many countries with reasonably stable currencies? And how much does Greece cost? About 170 billion? Just have those countries involved print up an equal portion of each country's cash totaling what they need, then send it to them. What little new cash is added to the system is small enough it would have no devaluation effect, and Greece's debts would be paid in full.

170 billion? There are drug dealers and dictators that have that stashed away in Cayman Island vaults! That's pocket change on the world scale. Yet they are making them wait and suffer all this time on a deal being made. Such a sad joke.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 07, 2012, 08:58:04 am

Or how about the Vatican? Aren't they worth trillions? Why aren't they chipping in? Yah, $170b is chump change compared to their wealth...after all, didn't they say we should "redistribute the wealth" in order to end this global economic crisis? ::)

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Kilika on February 07, 2012, 03:02:06 pm
Yeah right, they are doing some "redistributing" alright! As they say, follow the money. It heads straight to the bankers, which is really no surprise seeing they set the whole system up as a debt-based economy. Wouldn't another name for bankers be "moneychangers"? It's kind of the same thing in principle I think. Select people hold the key to a given task, and it is only them that you can go to. Isn't that what the moneychangers were in the temple? The people had to have the correct tribute for the temple, or they could be banished from the community or worse, and the moneychangers knew it. Sounds awfully familiar to me to modern day bankers.

Title: Greece facing 'dramatic dilemma'
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 07, 2012, 05:37:59 pm

Greece facing 'dramatic dilemma'

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Officials in Greece are under pressure to reach agreement on more austerity measures, as the threat of a default hangs over the country and protestors take to the streets.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and the leaders of Greece's governing coalition need to hammer out the details of a package of job and salary cuts, as well as pension reforms and other measures to reduce public spending.

Papademos was set to meet with party leaders Tuesday evening, but talks have now been pushed back to Wednesday, according to the Prime Ministers office.

It was the second delay since the leaders agreed Sunday on the "main elements" of the program, including a plan to reduce public spending by 1.5% of gross domestic output this year.

Meanwhile, Greek labor unions held a daylong strike Tuesday to protest the reforms, which they see as being foisted on them by foreign creditors.

The reforms are needed for Greece to receive a second bailout worth €130 billion from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

What's next for Europe?

Without additional funding, Greece will most likely miss a €14.5 billion bond redemption in March. The concern is that a so-called disorderly default could force Greece out of the euro currency union and shock the global financial system.


Title: Greece Draft Cuts Minimum Wage 20%
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 08, 2012, 08:17:49 pm

Greece Draft Cuts Minimum Wage 20%

Greece will pledge permanent spending cuts, including lower pension payments and a 20 percent reduction in the minimum wage, as the economy contracts this year at a faster pace than originally estimated, according to the draft of a new financing deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

“To restore competitiveness and growth, we will accelerate implementation of deep structural reforms in the labor, product and service markets,” according to the letter of intent addressed to IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in a document obtained by Bloomberg News.

The letter, attached to the 43-page Greek-language draft agreement, is to be signed by Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos. The draft is the focus of a meeting Papademos is having in Athens today to seek approval from the leaders of the three parties supporting his government to secure a 130 billion-euro ($172 billion) rescue plan ahead of an emergency euro-area finance minister meeting in Brussels tomorrow.

While no information was provided about the finance chiefs’ agenda at the meeting tomorrow, the scheduling suggests policy makers, who have to ratify the Greek accord, were optimistic about negotiators reaching an agreement in Athens.



Title: Greece mulls harsh new cuts in bailout talks
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 08, 2012, 08:22:07 pm

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greek coalition leaders were locked in crucial debt talks with the prime minister Wednesday to review layoffs and other steep cutbacks as part of a euro130 billion ($170 billion) bailout package intended to save the country from a looming bankruptcy.

The coalition met for seven hours without reaching consensus on where the cuts should fall, but eurozone finance ministers scheduled a meeting in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the second massive bailout for Greece, an indication a deal was close.

Athens has already accepted a demand to fire up to 15,000 workers in the public sector in 2012, but is under pressure to impose deeper cuts, including reductions in pension payments and the minimum wage. Leaders of three parties making up the 3-month-old Greek coalition have been under intense pressure to accept the new austerity measures.

A disorderly bankruptcy by Greece would likely lead to its exit from the eurozone, a situation that European officials have insisted is impossible because it would hurt other weak countries like Portugal, Ireland and Italy. Two years of cutbacks already have seen unemployment rise to around 19 percent and poverty to 20 percent in Greece, according to data from the EU statistics agency Eurostat.



Title: Greek bailout talks hit snag over pension cuts
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 08, 2012, 09:50:05 pm


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Crucial talks aimed at averting Greece's bankruptcy were held up early Thursday after leaders of the three parties backing the country's coalition government failed to agree to creditors' demands to make euro300 million ($398.22 million) cuts to state and private pensions.

The talks broke up after a seven-hour meeting on austerity needed for the euro130 billion ($172.56 billion) bailout package.

"There was very broad agreement on all parts of the program, with one exception," Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, who later met debt inspectors from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, said in a statement.

Greece needs the euro130 billion deal to avoid a March default and is being pushed to wrap up negotiations in Athens before a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels scheduled for 1700GMT.

Papademos needs approval from all coalition parties — the majority Socialists, main rival conservatives and the rightwing LAOS party — before signing off on the deal.


Title: Greece reaches austerity deal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 09, 2012, 08:59:26 am

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece has reached a tentative agreement on new austerity cuts demanded by creditors to release a euro130 billion ($173 billion) bailout, hours before a crucial meeting of finance ministers in Brussels, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos' office said Thursday.

A spokeswoman said the agreement with the majority Socialists and the conservatives will allow alternative cuts to those rejected early Thursday during a marathon meeting of the three coalition party leaders. No details were available on what alternative measures would be chosen.

The spokeswoman spoke on customary condition of anonymity.

Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, confirmed the latest stage in the austerity talks, telling reporters at a press conference in Frankfurt, Germany that the Greek party leaders had accepted the terms of the deal. The ECB is involved in the debt talks along with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund — known as the "troika".

Although all the other cuts demanded by the troika were approved, party leaders had, however, balked at new pension cuts, leaving the bailout in limbo and the threat of bankruptcy high.

The deal came just ahead of talks in Brussels between finance ministers from the 17 euro countries.

"It is up to the eurogroup to decide at the highest level if the conditions are in place to proceed with the second (bailout) program," said Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, a spokesman for the European Commission, one of the three institutions charged with negotiating the rescue conditions.

Also attending the meeting in Brussels will be Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, as well as Draghi.

Greece needs the bailout by March 20 so it will have enough money to redeem euro14.5 billion worth of bonds coming due. If it doesn't make that payment, it will be in default. Financial analysts fear that could set off a chain reaction similar to the financial meltdown triggered by the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers in the fall of 2008.

In addition to the budget cutting mandated by the troika, Greece is close to an agreement with private investors who hold nearly two-thirds of its debt to sharply reduce the country's borrowing costs.

Greece remains in a deep recession. Unemployment is 19.2 percent after the economy's fifth straight year of decline. Its government finances and its economy are being dragged down by costly political patronage, tax evasion and special protections for some favored trades.

There is considerable resistance in Greece to further austerity. The country has endured two years of vicious spending cuts, the economy is in its fifth year of recession and unemployment is at a record 21 percent rate. Angry union leaders announced a 48-hour general strike for Friday and Saturday


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 09, 2012, 09:26:16 am

Funny how the MSM is saying now that a bailout deal has been reached and everything's rosey...read the bolded in the article above...it doesn't exactly say that... ::)

Title: Greek debt crisis eases, but drama is not over
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 09, 2012, 11:39:00 am


FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — More than two years after it came clean about its addiction to debt, Greece may finally have begun its long and painful road to recovery.

Greece's political leaders struck a historic deal Thursday to make deep cuts in government jobs and spending to help save the country from a default that could shock the world financial system.

The deal, under negotiation since July, is one of two critical steps Greece must take to receive a euro130 billion ($170 billion) bailout from other countries in Europe and around the globe. It was announced by Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos' office and will be scrutinized during talks in Brussels between finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro.

In addition to the fiscal austerity mandated by the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Greece is close to an agreement with private investors who hold nearly two-thirds of its debt to sharply reduce the country's borrowing costs.

Greece needs the bailout by March 20 so it will have enough money to redeem euro14.5 billion worth of bonds coming due. If it doesn't make that payment, it will be in default. Financial analysts fear that could set off a chain reaction similar to the financial meltdown triggered by the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers in the fall of 2008.

The bailout will ease some of the uncertainty that has unsettled Europe and the world financial system for more than two years, but it will not bring down the curtain on Greece's debt drama.

Greece remains in a deep recession. Unemployment is 20.9 percent after the economy's third straight year of decline. Its government finances and its economy are being dragged down by costly political patronage, tax evasion and special protections for some favored trades.

Greece will be struggling to pay its debts for years, says Domenico Lombardi, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "The scope of the problems that have to be tackled in Greece are so huge and so entrenched," he says.

Efforts to fix those fundamental problems, at the behest of Greece's increasingly exasperated creditors — including prosperous Germany — are moving slowly, if at all. If they are not solved, Greece may find itself back at the edge of default

The deal Greek political leaders struck Thursday includes a 22 percent cut in the monthly minimum wage to euro586 ($780), layoffs for 15,000 civil servants and an end to dozens of job guarantee provisions.

Greece is also close to a vital debt-relief deal with banks, hedge funds, pension funds and other private investors. Under the tentative deal, the private investors would exchange euro206 billion in Greek government bonds for euro30 billion in cash, plus euro70 billion in new bonds. The cash would come from the euro130 billion package from Europe and the IMF. The new bonds would have a lower average interest rate and a longer term of maturity.

The combination of less principal to repay when the bonds mature and less interest to pay every year until then means Greece would spend about 70 percent less than it would have without a deal.

The debt held by the European Central Bank and other public institutions accounts for one third of Greece's national debt and is not part of this tentative deal. However, ECB President Mario Draghi said Thursday that the bank could forego profits it stands to make on Greek bonds, leaving open the door to some additional debt relief for Greece.

If Greece were to default, investors would become reluctant to lend to other heavily indebted European countries for fear they would not get their money back, pushing their borrowing costs even higher than they are now.

Those other countries include Italy, which has an economy six times the size of Greece's. Most analysts say Italy is too big to bail out.

The specter of default has hung over world financial markets for more than two years. Whenever there has been progress — and, indeed, U.S. stock indexes have doubled from the lows they reached in March 2009 — Greece has always stood in the way of more.

And while the immediate danger appears to have passed, it is far from clear whether Greece has won enough debt relief to fix its finances for good


Title: Greece deal fails to convince, EU demands more
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 09, 2012, 10:14:04 pm
Didn't the MSM say during the day that Greece has finally clinched a deal? WHOOPS...



BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek political leaders said they had clinched a deal on economic reforms needed to secure a second EU bailout, but euro zone finance ministers demanded more steps and a parliamentary seal of approval before providing the aid.
The EU and the International Monetary Fund are exasperated by a string of broken promises by Athens and weeks of disagreement over the terms of a 130 billion euro ($172 billion) bailout, with time running out to avoid a default.
Finance ministers of the 17-nation euro zone meeting in Brussels warned there would be no immediate approval for the rescue package and said Athens must prove itself first.
Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the Eurogroup, set three conditions, saying the Greek parliament must ratify the package when it meets on Sunday and a further 325 million euros of spending reductions needed to be identified by next Wednesday, after which euro zone finance ministers would meet again.
"Thirdly, we would need to obtain strong political assurances from the leaders of the coalition parties on the implementation of the program," Juncker told a news conference after six hours of talks in Brussels. "Those elements needs to be in place before we can take decisions."


Title: Eurozone gives Greece ultimatum for new bailout
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 09, 2012, 10:19:34 pm


Eurozone gives Greece ultimatum for new bailout

Eurozone finance ministers put off a decision Thursday on a new bailout to save Greece from bankruptcy, giving Athens less than a week to meet three conditions in return for the aid.
The demands were set during talks between Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and his 16 eurozone counterparts in Brussels, hours after rival Greek politicians struck a deal on austerity measures demanded by foreign lenders.
"Despite the important progress achieved over the last days, we did not have yet all necessary elements on the table to take decisions today," Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker told a news conference.
The eurozone will hold a new meeting next Wednesday if all conditions are met, said Juncker, Luxembourg's prime minister.


Title: Greece on strike as bailout deal in limbo
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 10, 2012, 08:18:20 am
Greece on strike as bailout deal in limbo



ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Thousands took to the streets of Athens as unions launched a two-day general strike against planned austerity measures on Friday, a day after Greece's crucial international bailout was put in limbo by its partners in the 17-nation eurozone.

Clashes broke out in Syntagma Square, outside Parliament, as dozens of hooded youths threw fire bombs and stones at police, who responded with tear gas. No arrests or injuries were reported.

Police said some 7,000 people took part in the demonstration. Another 10,000 Communist supporters held a separate, peaceful march, chanting slogans against cutbacks that include reducing the minimum wage by 22 percent and cutting one in five government jobs in a country which is in its fifth year of recession.

Bailout creditors say Greece has not yet met demands for all the required austerity measures and, frustrated by days of dithering, have given political leaders in Athens until the middle of next week to do so. Otherwise, the country will lose its rescue loan lifeline, go bankrupt next month and likely leave the euro.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 10, 2012, 08:45:33 am
All in all, after you read a news item that's "new" for the first time in the day, and especially if it's during the day time(when everyone's in work, school, etc, where they have internet access and tv to catch all the news), definitely wait again until the evening to see if there's any more similar news items concerning this.

As you can see, during the day time everything just sounded rosey over how Greece struck a deal, and then later that afternoon it was revealed they weren't even close.

Pt being that the news outlets tend to pull this off b/c quite simply, when people get home in the late afternoon from work and school, they are tired, and prefer to do other entertainments like watch tv, eat, among other things, that they end up ignoring other news items that are of importance.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Kilika on February 10, 2012, 02:26:18 pm
Consider also they can get the markets to go up and down as well. Up on good news, down on bad news. I can see them baiting investors with mid day news, but by the end of the day, things turn bad. One of the biggest scams in human history.

Title: Greek PM says default would lead to "chaos"
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 10, 2012, 03:29:37 pm


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's future in the eurozone grew increasingly precarious Friday as violence erupted on the streets of Athens and dissent grew among its lawmakers after European leaders demanded deeper spending cuts.

The country's beleaguered coalition government promised Friday to push through the tough new austerity measures and rescue a crucial euro130 billion ($170 billion) bailout deal, as six members of the Cabinet resigned.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos promised to "do everything necessary" to ensure parliament passes the new austerity measures that would slap Greeks with a minimum wage cut during a fifth year of recession.

"It is absolutely necessary to complete the effort that began almost two years to consolidate public finances, restore competitiveness and economic recovery," Papademos told an emergency Cabinet meeting.


Title: Greece: more ministers resign over austerity
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 10, 2012, 03:34:43 pm

Greece: more ministers resign over austerity


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Two more Cabinet members have resigned in Greece, bringing the total to three on Friday, to protest European Union demands for more austerity in exchange for a bailout.

The right-wing LAOS party's transport minister and the deputy minister of the merchant marine resigned Friday.

Hours earlier, the deputy minister of agriculture had quit and a junior party leader in the country's coalition government had said he would vote against the new austerity measures.

The moves add pressure on Prime Minister Lucas Papademos' government, which has vowed to push through the unpopular reforms to get the rescue loans and avoid bankruptcy.

Also Friday, violent clashes broke out in central Athens during a 48-hour general strike called by unions.

Title: Greek cabinet approves EU/IMF bailout bill
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 10, 2012, 05:27:23 pm


ATHENS (Reuters) - The Greek cabinet approved a draft bill spelling out reforms required by the EU and the IMF on Friday, taking Athens closer to getting a new 130 billion-euro bailout after the prime minister warned the alternative was "catastrophe."
All eyes will now be on parliament, which is scheduled to vote on the bill on Sunday. Analysts expect the deeply unpopular package to be adopted but Greek politics remain highly unstable.
Even after this is done, the EU also wants a further 325 million euros of spending cuts and clear commitments by main party leaders that the reforms will be implemented before it agrees to release the aid.
Technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos told his turbulent coalition government earlier on Friday to accept the harsh international bailout deal or condemn the nation to disaster.


Title: Athens buildings burn as lawmakers weigh austerity
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 12, 2012, 03:41:51 pm


ATHENS (Reuters) - Historic cinemas, cafes and shops went up in flames in central Athens on Sunday as black-masked protesters fought Greek police outside parliament, while inside lawmakers looked set to defy the public rage by endorsing a new EU/IMF austerity deal.
As parliament prepared to vote on a new 130 billion euro bailout to save Greece from a messy bankruptcy, a Reuters photographer saw the buildings engulfed in flames and huge plumes of smoke rose in the night sky.
The air over Syntagma Square outside parliament was thick with tear gas as riot police fought running battles with youths who smashed marble balustrades and hurled stones and petrol bombs.
Government officials warned that Greeks faced "unimaginably harsher" sacrifices if parliament rejected the package, which demands deep pay, pension and job cuts, when it votes later in the evening.


Title: Greece 'a breath away from ground zero', PM warns
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 12, 2012, 03:48:19 pm


Greece is a "a breath away from ground zero", Prime Minister Lucas Papademos warned as he urged politicians to back an unpopular international bailout on Sunday that may have to be raised to €145bn to save the country from collapse.

He told the nation in a televised address on Saturday that a rejection of the deal today would lead to “uncontrollable economic chaos and social explosion”.

“This agreement will decide the country’s future,” he said. “We are just a breath away from ground zero.”

Amid scenes of continued mounting social unrest, politicians must today decide whether to sign off fresh austerity measures demanded by the country’s international lenders in order to release a second €130bn aid package to Athens.


Sunday's debate in the full 300-seat chamber is scheduled to begin at 1200 GMT and a vote is expected late in the evening.

read more

Title: Greece passes new austerity deal amid rioting
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 12, 2012, 05:21:51 pm

Greece passes new austerity deal amid rioting


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's parliament early Monday approved harsh new austerity measures demanded by bailout creditors to save the debt-crippled country from bankruptcy, after rioters in central Athens torched buildings, looted shops and clashed with riot police.

The historic vote paves the way for Greece's European partners and the International Monetary Fund to release €130 billion ($171 billion) in new rescue loans without which Greece would default on its debt mountain next month and likely leave the eurozone — a scenario that would further roil global markets.

Sunday's clashes erupted after more than 100,000 protesters marched to the parliament to rally against the drastic cuts, which will ax one in five civil service jobs and slash the minimum wage by more than a fifth.

At least 10 buildings were set on fire, including a movie theater, bank and cafeteria, and looters smashed dozens of shops in the worst riot damage in years. Dozens of police officers and at least 37 protesters were injured, 23 suspected rioters were arrested and a further 25 detained.

As the vote got under way early Monday, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos urged calm, pointing to the country's dire financial straits.

"Vandalism and destruction have no place in a democracy and will not be tolerated," Papademos told parliament. "I call on the public to show calm. At these crucial times, we do not have the luxury of this type of protest. I think everyone is aware of how serious the situation is."

Since May 2010, Greece has survived on a $145 billion (€110 billion) bailout from its European partners and the IMF. When that proved insufficient, the new rescue package was approved. The deal, which has not yet been finalized, will be combined with a massive bond swap deal to write off half the country's privately held debt.

But for both deals to materialize, Greece has to persuade its deeply skeptical creditors that it has the will to implement spending cuts and public sector reforms that will end years of fiscal profligacy and tame gaping budget deficits.

Title: As austerity reality takes hold of Greece, parts of Athens go up in flames
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 12, 2012, 07:55:34 pm

February 13, 2012 – GREECE – Historic cinemas, cafes, shops and banks were set ablaze in central Athens on Sunday as black-masked protesters fought Greek police outside parliament, while inside lawmakers looked set to defy the rage by endorsing a new EU/IMF austerity deal. State television reported violence spread to the islands of Corfu and Crete, the northern city of Thessaloniki and towns in central Greece. Shops were being looted in the capital in the worst breakdown of order since 2008 when violence gripped Greece for weeks after police shot a 15-year-old schoolboy. As parliament prepared to vote on a new 130 billion euro bailout to save Greece from a messy bankruptcy, a Reuters photographer saw buildings in Athens engulfed in flames and huge plumes of smoke rose in the night sky. “We are facing destruction. Our country, our home, has become ripe for burning, the centre of Athens is in flames. We cannot allow populism to burn our country down,” conservative lawmaker Costis Hatzidakis told parliament. The air in Syntagma Square outside parliament was thick with tear gas as riot police fought running battles with youths who smashed marble balustrades and hurled stones and petrol bombs. Terrified Greeks and tourists fled the rock-strewn streets and the clouds of stinging gas, cramming into hotel lobbies for shelter as lines of riot police struggled to contain the mayhem. State NET television reported that trouble had also broken out in Heraklion, capital of the tourist island of Crete, as well as the towns of Volos and Agrinio in central Greece. Despite the chaos, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos warned that Greeks faced “unimaginably harsher” sacrifices if parliament rejected the package, which demands deep pay, pension and job cuts, when it votes later in the evening. On the streets many businesses were ablaze, including the neo-classical home to the Attikon cinema dating from 1870 and a building housing the Asty, an underground cinema used by the Gestapo during World War Two as a torture chamber. –Reuters

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 12, 2012, 08:01:19 pm
Athens Burning As Police Runs Out Of Tear Gas http://www.zerohedge.com/news/athens-burning-police-runs-out-tear-gas


Greek Parliament Passes Latest Austerity Vote http://www.zerohedge.com/news/greek-parliament-passes-latest-austerity-vote

All Greece has done is promise to do something it won't do in hope it can get another bailout package.

For Greece, Bailout Two Is Just The Beginning http://www.zerohedge.com/news/greece-bailout-two-just-beginning

The Cost Of The Combined Greek Bailout Just Rose To €320 Billion In Secured Debt, Or 136% Of Greek GDP http://www.zerohedge.com/news/cost-combined-greek-bailout-just-rose-%E2%82%AC320-billion-secured-debt-or-136-greek-gdp

Schaeuble warns Greek promises on austerity measures no longer suffice http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/12/us-germany-greece-idUSTRE81B05N20120212

Cuts drive Greek unemployment to record high http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/09/us-greece-unemployment-idUSTRE8180PI20120209

ECB’s Noyer says Greece must accept more cuts http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/10/us-france-noyer-idUSTRE8190DC20120210

ECB opens door to indirect Greece aid http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/09/ecb-rates-idUSL5E8D90YQ20120209

Greek debt not sustainable with 70% haircut – S&P http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/08/us-greece-ratings-sp-idUSTRE8171K920120208

Title: Greece Boils Over
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 13, 2012, 11:40:37 am


The burnt out shells of at least 45 buildings in central Athens were still smoldering on Monday morning after a weekend of angry protests reached its apex on Sunday night in what Greek prime minister Luca Papademos called the worst breakdown of violence since 2008. Broken glass, chunks of marble ripped from the public squares and empty tear gas canisters lined the streets after an all-night battle pitted protesters against security forces who say they were outnumbered by a five-to-one ratio. Hundreds of protesters and police officers were injured and local Greek Sky television reported that at least twice, security forces ran out of tear gas.
Protests were held across the country, including in the tourist havens of Crete and Corfu, but the violence centered in Athens, where over 80,000 protesters took to the streets burning buildings and destroying property. An estimated 20,000 people also gathered in Greece’s second city Thessaloniki, where looters broke storefront windows and destroyed city parks. On Sunday, protesters were joined by a violent contingent of masked anarchists who took direct aim at security forces under the violent anti-authority mantra of the Black Bloc movement.


Title: Greece faces further obstacles in bailout deal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 13, 2012, 04:20:33 pm

BRUSSELS (AP) — Greece faces further hurdles and delays before it can receive a second, euro130 billion ($171 billion) bailout in spite of its lawmakers voting through more austerity measures in the face of violent protests.

The European Union's Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn on Monday called the Greek parliament's approval of a further round of budget cuts a "crucial step forward," but Germany insisted it would still take some time before the second bailout is delivered.

Germany, which as Europe's biggest economy pays the largest part in bailout deals, said it wouldn't give its final approval for the new aid payments until early March — after it becomes clear how many banks and investment funds are willing to take losses on their Greek bonds and the parliament in Berlin votes on the new measures.

Pushing the new bailout back for several weeks underlines the amount of distrust that has built up against Greece over the past two years, when many promised cuts and reforms were passed in its Parliament but never actually implemented.

But it also means that Greece, its citizens, and the rest of the world economy won't know for several weeks whether the country can avoid a potentially disastrous default. A bankruptcy could force Greece out of Europe's euro currency union, drag down other troubled eurozone countries and further roil global markets.



Title: Germany Speaks: Not So Fast On The Greek "Deal"
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 13, 2012, 05:34:19 pm
Germany Speaks: Not So Fast On The Greek "Deal"
13 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)


Europe's now painfully transparent policy of demanding that Greece decide to default on its own is becoming so glaringly obvious, we truly fear for the intellectual capacity of everyone who ramps the EURUSD on any incremental "europe is saved" rumor.

As a reminder, yesterday we said, in parallel with the Greek irrelevant MoU vote: "The only real questions are i) what the Greek population may do in response to this latest selling out of a population "led" by an unelected banker, which if history is any precedent, the answer is not much, and ii) how Germany will subvert this latest event, and put the bail [sic] back in Greece's court once again."

We documented on 1) earlier today - a couple of burned down buildings, a few vandalized store fronts, lots of tear gas and that's about it, as people still either don't believe or can't grasp the seriousness of the situation.

As for 2) we now get the first indication that not all may be well on Wednesday.

From the FT:

"European officials rushed to finalise details of a €130bn Greek bail-out on Monday amid signs Germany and its eurozone allies may not be prepared to approve the deal at a finance minsters’ meeting on Wednesday, despite Athens backing new austerity measures."

And so the bail [sic] is once again back in Greece's court, where however since the last such occurrence, the parliament has 43 MPs less.

Quite soon, the only person left in "charge" of the country will be the ECB apparatchick and unelected banker Lucas Papademos.

Title: Is Greek Side Deal With Finland On Bailout Collateral About To Kill Greek Rescue
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 14, 2012, 02:00:54 pm
Is Greek Side Deal With Finland On Bailout Collateral About To Kill Greek Rescue Again?
13 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Those who actually recall the nuances of the endless Greek bailout may remember that at one point in 2010 and 2011, one of the main sticking points that threatened to derail the Greek bailout was the demand by Finland to collateralize its contribution to the Greek bailout package.

Well, guess what: it's back. Kathimerini reports that "Finland may sign a deal on securing collateral in exchange for its commitment to Greece’s second bailout in the “next few days,” Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen said on Monday.

A vote in parliament on Finland’s participation in the bailout could follow next week, she told reporters in Helsinki."

Translation: monkey wrench was just thrown into the Greek bailout in the 11th hour as now everyone else will follow in Finland's footsteps and demand equitable treatment.

And it was all going so well...

More from Kathimerini:

Euro-area finance ministers share a “very strong” common stance in their view on what Greece must do, namely act on its pledges of austerity before more aid can be released, she said.

Finland, one of four AAA-rated euro members, last year became the only nation in the currency bloc to secure extra assurances that its commitments to a second Greek rescue be repaid by insisting on collateral.

In return, Finland agreed to pay its contribution to the permanent rescue facility, the so-called European Stability Mechanism, up-front.

“I hope we could sign the collateral agreement in the next few days,” Urpilainen said. “These conditions must be fulfilled before Finland’s parliament can give a green light” to a second Greek bailout.

Title: Athens - The Morning After: 48 Buildings On Fire, 150 Looted, Hundreds Arrested
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 14, 2012, 02:04:07 pm
Athens - The Morning After: 48 Buildings On Fire, 150 Looted, Hundreds Arrested
13 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)


Hhhhhhhmmmmmmmm................sounds just like what happened in New Orleans after Katrina hit?(albeit noone burned any buildings or anything)

Title: Eurozone leaders 'call off Greece crisis talks'
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 14, 2012, 02:08:27 pm

The head of the eurozone countries has downgraded an eurozone finance ministers meeting on Wednesday, saying Greece has not yet given the necessary assurances about its austerity plan.

Ministers, who had demanded Greece find an extra 325m euros of savings, had been set to meet in Brussels.

But Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said the talks would be replaced by a conference call.

He said technical work with Greece was still needed "in a number of areas".

Finance ministers had not received assurances from leaders of Greek political parties on a programme of proposed cuts, Mr Juncker was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.



Title: Handelsblatt Warns Insufficient PSI Participation Will Lead To Greek Default
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 15, 2012, 11:55:39 am
Handelsblatt Warns Insufficient PSI Participation Will Lead To Greek Default
15 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)


Which of course is not news: after all even the rating agencies have long warned a Greek default is now inevitable, and a CDS trigger will follow.

The only thing that there is massive confusion over is whether and how this event will impact everyone else, and whether it will lead to an explusion of Greece from the Eurozone.

Title: Farage On Greek Chaos: "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet"
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 15, 2012, 11:58:31 am
Farage On Greek Chaos: "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet"
15 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Title: Greece entering final death spiral as explusion from EU looms
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 15, 2012, 12:07:56 pm

Greece entering final death spiral as explusion from EU looms
February 15, 2012 – GREECE – The escalating brinkmanship came as fresh data showed that Greece’s economy contracted by 6.8pc last year and at an accelerating 7pc rate in the last quarter, far worse than expected by the European Union (EU), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “troika.” The country appears to be in a self-feeding downward spiral that is playing havoc with budget targets, leaving Greece with a Sisyphean task of ever deeper cuts. Premier Lucas Papademos called his cabinet together late last night to find a further €325m (£272m) of fiscal austerity demanded by the troika, likely to be defence cuts and lower salaries. The coalition parties failed to convince the Eurogroup that they would stick to the deal, and the mood has been poisoned by EU demands for an escrow account to seize Greek budget revenues at source. Blackened buildings set alight by protesters on Sunday were cordoned off on streets around parliament in Syntagma Square, a vivid reminder to Greece’s politicians that any misjudgment could push the country towards anarchy. Approval of EU finance ministers is needed to unlock all parts of the complex €130bn loan package, including a 70pc “haircut” for private holders of Greek bonds, allowing the country to avoid default in March. Germany and Northern allies seem willing to force Greece out of the euro unless there is total compliance, calculating that the eurozone is now strong enough to stem any contagion. Luc Frieden, Luxembourg’s foreign minister spelled out the warning in crystal clear terms. “If the Greek people or the Greek political elite do not apply all of these conditions, I think they exclude themselves from the eurozone. The impact on other countries now will be less important than a year ago.” Mr. Frieden even suggested a return to the drachma. “It might be something which would allow Greece also to get a new start, to create an economy that can create jobs,” he said. The tone of recent comments from Germany, Holland and Finland suggest that the creditor powers have already decided to eject Greece, causing great bitterness in Athens. –Telegraph

Title: Greek Economic Deterioration Accelerates As Q4 GDP Slides By 7%, Unemployment Ov
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 15, 2012, 12:12:24 pm
Greek Economic Deterioration Accelerates As Q4 GDP Slides By 7%, Unemployment Over 20%
14 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Title: Exclusive: Euro zone ponders delay of 2nd Greek bailout program
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 15, 2012, 09:30:28 pm


Exclusive: Euro zone ponders delay of 2nd Greek bailout program
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone finance officials are examining ways of delaying parts or even all of a second bailout program for Greece while still ensuring it avoids a disorderly default, several EU sources said on Wednesday.
The delays could possibly last until after Greece holds elections expected in April, they said, although it depends to what extent Greek political leaders make firm commitments on further spending cuts and labor reforms unpopular with voters.
While most elements of the package, which will total 130 billion euros, are in place, some euro zone finance ministers are not satisfied that all Greece's political party leaders are fully behind the reforms and so want legal guarantees.
It is also not clear that Greece's debt-to-GDP ratio, which currently stands at around 160 percent, will be cut to 120 percent by 2020 via the agreement, as demanded by the 'troika' of the European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank.


Title: Greece rescue at crossroads as debt cut shortfall grows
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 16, 2012, 08:36:25 am


Greece rescue at crossroads as debt cut shortfall grows
A massive rescue package for Greece faced a substantial rewrite on Thursday, after officials revealed that Athens could not meet its debt targets and divisions grew over the country's eurozone future.
As the eurozone tightens the screws to monitor every detail of a debt rescue package after losing patience over unkept promises from Athens, some governments want watertight commitments from Greece's entire political spectrum that austerity and reforms will be carried through even after April elections.
"We are not in a dictatorial monetary union," said Luxembourg Finance Minister Luc Frieden, noting that "a state is free to choose to leave."
However, he underlined: "If a member state says, 'we prefer not to take money from other states and return to a national currency without making structural reforms,' then that state has chosen to exclude itself."

Title: Euro zone ministers eye February 20 meeting on Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 16, 2012, 08:37:02 am


Euro zone ministers eye February 20 meeting on Greece

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Eurozone finance ministers abandoned a plan to gather on Wednesday to discuss aid for Greece and instead decided to talk by phone as they continued to grapple with unresolved problems over a financial rescue plan.
Greece needs a second package of financial aid to save it from disorderly default.
But its political leaders have so far failed to deliver sufficient commitments to economic reform, Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement on Tuesday.
"It has appeared that further technical work between Greece and the troika is needed in a number of areas, including the closure of the fiscal gap of 325 million euros in 2012 and the debt sustainability analysis," Juncker said in a statement.
"Furthermore, I did not yet receive the required political assurances from the leaders of the Greek coalition parties on the implementation of the program," he said.

Title: Eurozone steps up Greek surveillance drive
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 16, 2012, 08:43:49 am


Eurozone steps up Greek surveillance drive

The eurozone told Greece it must accept tough EU surveillance if it is to unlock a stalled bailout next week and avoid a messy default, despite meeting key hurdles at Wednesday night talks.
A statement from Eurogroup chair Jean-Claude Juncker after a lengthy video conference, during which hardline finance ministers demanded rigid oversight of Greek state revenues and expenditure, avoided any direct mention of the disputed 230-billion-euro ($300 billion) rescue.

Title: Greece-Germany tension rises, reflects wider European rift
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 16, 2012, 01:08:50 pm


ROME (Reuters) - Whether or not Greece secures a new bailout to avoid bankruptcy next month, relations between Athens and Germany look close to breaking point. Their inflammatory exchanges reflect a wider rift between northern and southern Europe.
Greek resentment of pressure from northern creditors led by Berlin is shared in other parts of the south, where a single-minded focus on belt tightening rather than growth is seen as more likely to worsen the euro zone debt crisis than fix it.
"There are obviously forces within Europe that are playing with fire because they think ... not all the conditions might be met, and that may even want Greece outside the euro zone," Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos complained on Wednesday.
Exasperation in Germany, the Netherlands and Finland about Greek backsliding on promises and delays in meeting demands for reforms in return for a second international bailout is matched by rising anger in Athens at daily lectures from Berlin.


Title: Greek bailout tensions hit other euro countries
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 16, 2012, 01:10:20 pm
Greek bailout tensions hit other euro countries

LONDON (AP) — Mounting political tensions and frustration at a lack of resolution over whether Greece will get a vital bailout rekindled fears Thursday that Europe's debt crisis could spread to other countries.

As stocks and the euro fell on Thursday, borrowing rates rose for Italy and Spain's government debt — a sign that investors are worried that the two countries would be dragged back into a crisis that had shown some signs of easing.

Concern has crept into the markets that Greece could still be forced into a disorderly default on a vital euro14.5 billion ($19 billion) bond repayment due next month. Despite answering concerns over its commitment to tough austerity measures, the country has yet to clinch deals with its international creditors for a bailout worth euro130 billion ($170 billion) and an accompanying euro100 billion ($131 billion) debt writedown agreed with its private bondholders.

Over the past few days, fears have grown that the bailout deal may be unraveling and on Wednesday relations between Greece and its partners in the eurozone hit a new low.



Title: Greece Agrees More Cuts To Secure Bailout, BUT...
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 16, 2012, 05:08:51 pm


Greece has agreed a further 325m euros (£270m) of spending cuts as it tries to secure another massive EU/IMF bailout, finance minister Evangelos Venizelos has said.

But, despite Greece's assurances about this and several other key demands on top of the 3.3bn euro (£2.7bn) package of cuts already agreed, eurozone ministers want to put Athens under even tighter surveillance in return for the 130bn euro (£108bn) bailout.

The finance chiefs of the 17 countries that use the single currency held a conference call amid doubts over whether the new bailout, which comes on top of a 110bn euro (£91bn) rescue granted in May 2010, can ultimately save debt-laden Greece.

The ministers welcomed the news that it had found extra cuts on top of austerity measures already agreed, and also that the leaders of the main Greek political parties will implement promised cuts and reforms even after elections expected for April.


Such an account would give the eurozone more control over what Greece does with its money, after the country has repeatedly missed budget, reform and privatisation targets over the past two years.

However, it could constitute an unprecedented interference into the fiscal affairs of a sovereign state in Europe

Title: Next Steps For Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 16, 2012, 05:27:05 pm
Next Steps For Greece
16 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)


And so we are back to the same fiscal feudalism that Germany demanded, and the Greece refused weeks ago.

We have been pondering the ECB bond swap 'news-story' and the market's reaction to this with incredulity.

Our earlier discussion of the deal (here and here) pointed to the problems and now Peter Tchir explains how this debt swap is actually a step towards a Greek default (thanks to the removal of the CAC-encumberance within the ECB).

It is also a large step towards colonization as the FT notes that the bailout terms will contain "unprecedented controls" on Athens.

It is our earlier comments on the unintended consequence of this ECB action - that of explicitly subordinating all other sovereign bondholders in Europe, and that this would likely raise the very large specter of legal action by other Greek bondholders arguing the ECB has received unfair treatment - that the FT also brings to investors' attention (which is seemingly being ignored on the eve of OPEX).

Whichever way you look at this - it is not good for Greece and could have significantly negative implications for the rest of the European sovereign bond market just as investors are starting to dip a toe in the cool risk water once again.

Title: Source: Greek plan cannot sufficiently reduce debt
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 16, 2012, 08:39:19 pm


Source: Greek plan cannot sufficiently reduce debt

BRUSSELS (AP) — Current plans to save Greece from financial collapse would still leave the country with debt far above the maximum level set by its international creditors, a European diplomat said Thursday.

When they tentatively agreed on more help for Greece in October, the leaders of the 17 euro countries said the country's debt load had come down to 120 percent of its economic output by 2020 — the maximum they said was manageable without external support. The new level is now expected to be closer to 129 per cent, the diplomat said.

The fact that even substantial new help, both from the eurozone and private bondholders, cannot sufficiently decrease Greece's debt load is one of the main reasons doubts over a second, euro130 billion ($170 billion) bailout for Athens have emerged.

The diplomat was citing figures from a new report by Greece's international debt inspectors — the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.


Title: Greek 1 Year At 629%, Biggest One Day Jump In Yield Ever
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 17, 2012, 01:07:54 pm
Greek 1 Year At 629%, Biggest One Day Jump In Yield Ever
17 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)


Title: Report: Insider Documents Detail a March 23 Greek Default Plan; Gov to Freeze Ba
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 17, 2012, 01:09:10 pm
Report: Insider Documents Detail a March 23 Greek Default Plan; Gov to Freeze Bank Accounts, Eliminate Euro, Restrict Capital Flow
17 February 2012, by Mac Slavo (SHTFplan)

Title: Greek cabinet backs extra austerity measures
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 18, 2012, 11:38:21 pm
We will see - seems to be the same story every day for the last 3 weeks. One day, it's gridlocked, the next day, they are "close"...only to get back to square 1. And each time they come "close" agreeing to more cuts, the EU/ECB end up wanting more control, and then back to square 1 they go.


ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's cabinet on Saturday approved a final set of austerity measures sought by the EU and IMF as a condition for a 130-billion euro ($171 billion) rescue package, raising the chances of a deal next week to avert a chaotic default on its debt.
The approval was largely a formality after Athens last week unveiled details of the extra budget and public sector wage cuts worth 325 million euros to euro zone partners.
Lingering doubts over whether Greece can bring its mountain of debt down to more manageable levels in coming years could still hold up the rescue package. Some officials in the 17-nation currency union warn chances of a deal at a euro zone meeting on Monday are little higher than 50-50.
"The 325 million euros worth of measures were approved unanimously," said one minister, speaking on condition of anonymity, about the cuts, part of a 3.3-billion-euro package of austerity measures that have triggered riots in Athens.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 18, 2012, 11:41:23 pm

Also, the DOW is only 50 points shy of 13K...no wonder why there's so much "good news" over the weekend, investors obviously still keep up with the news.

Title: Greece targets debt swap from March 8: government
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 18, 2012, 11:53:42 pm
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's cabinet agreed on Saturday to launch a debt swap for private creditors on March 8 with the aim of completing it by March 11, a government official said.
The swap is to accompany a $130 billion rescue package that Athens hopes to agree with its euro zone partners on Monday and will mean that creditors take a 70 percent cut in the real value of their holdings.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulis; Writing by Mark John)


Title: Greece moves on with reform legislation
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 19, 2012, 06:57:09 am

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- The Greek parliament is set to vote on emergency austerity measures next week necessary for a euro130-billion ($170- billion) bailout deal with the EU and IMF to avoid default.

The legislation — a package of wage and pension cuts and on health sector reforms — was approved in a marathon Cabinet meeting that began Saturday afternoon and dragged into early Sunday. It must still be approved by Parliament.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos says the measures will be permanent.

He says it is necessary to introduce them on Monday to convince the Eurogroup finance ministers convening the same day that Greece is determined to move along with reforms. The measures must be implemented over the next three weeks.

A small group of union members protested outside Parliament on Sunday without incident.


Title: Riot police guard Greek assembly as protesters gather
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 19, 2012, 07:36:39 am


ATHENS (Reuters) - Riot police shielded Greece's national parliament Sunday as demonstrators gathered to protest against austerity measures on the eve of talks in Brussels on a 130-billion-euro ($171 billion) bailout needed to avert bankruptcy.
Hopes for a deal at the meeting of euro zone finance ministers have risen after Athens last week detailed new budget cuts. But skeptics, led by Germany, are wary about Greece's determination to shrink its debt mountain.
Only a few hundred protesters had assembled outside the national parliament by early afternoon but authorities are on guard after demonstrations last Sunday degenerated into looting and torching of buildings in central Athens.
"Maybe some people are scared after last week's rioting," said retired state electricity worker Costas Xenakis.


Title: Greece primed for 2nd bailout package, financing gaps remain
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 19, 2012, 01:19:03 pm


* Euro zone ministers expected to approve 2nd Greek package
* Monday meeting to focus on Greece's debt sustainability
* Still financing gaps to be filled to get numbers lined up
* Greek debt-to-GDP must fall to around 120 pct by 2020


Title: Re: Greece primed for 2nd bailout package, financing gaps remain
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 19, 2012, 01:23:08 pm
^^^(from article above)

Already there is concern that at the first review of the new program - if it is approved on Monday - Greece will be found to be behind, especially if GDP continues to slump.
That will again raise the threat of the country having to default if it cannot meet its obligations, and invite questions about its ability to remain in the euro zone.
And even Greece can meet its targets, there will still be concerns about Portugal, Spain and Italy, none of which is out of the woods yet.

Title: The ECB Has Opened Pandora’s Box
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 19, 2012, 03:17:44 pm
The ECB Has Opened Pandora’s Box
19 February 2012, by Mark Grant, author of "Out of the Box and onto Wall Street" (Zero Hedge)


The ECB, on its own and without judicial or parliamentary review, has swapped their Greek debt for new Greek debt that is not subject to any “collective action clause.”

They did this unilaterally and without the consent of any other sovereign debt bond owners of Greek debt.

They did this without objection of any nation in Europe.

They have retroactively changed the indenture, the contract made by Greece with all of the buyers of their bonds, when the debt was issued.

There is no speculation involved in these statements, there is no longer any guesswork on what might be; the ECB swapped their bonds for new Greek bonds with the assent of the Greek government and it is now a done deal


Since the ECB can now retroactively change any bond contract to whatever it likes and with any nation in its dominion then the valuation of European sovereign debt must be re-examined for what it really is which is no longer what anyone previously thought.

Starkly put; the bonds issued by the sovereign nations in Europe are no longer pari passu, on equal footing, with the bonds issued in the United States.

We have just passed a clearly defined “break point” where the legal rules were changed to the great disadvantage of all the private debt holders.

The risk of ownership of European sovereign debt is now infinitely more dangerous in my estimation than it was last week.

We still do not know if the IMF will demand and receive the same special treatment but I assert that it no longer matters.

The actions of the European Central Bank are all that was necessary to radically alter the value of European sovereign debt and it is just not me but any number of large financial institutions that are in shock given what has happened with one of the largest and most respected bond investors in the world telling me that “financial repression is the softer word for it.”

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 19, 2012, 04:15:45 pm

Didn't understand what the above article is saying, however "Letsbereal" from PPF explains it very clearly...

From what I understand is that private bondholders are forced to take losses while the ECB itself does not. The result from that would be that all trust in these bonds are lost and the private sector will not buy any bonds anymore since they are unprotected.

Frankly I don't know if that realy matters since if the private bondholders dissapear from the stage it will be the special created 'vehicles' or proxies who buy up all the bonds like what's happening in the U.S..

Most of U.S. debt is bought up by the U.S. itself via proxies and the same is happening in Europe. The FED has been able to keep the rates on government bonds at ultra low levels this way but for how long?

Lindsey Willams was told by his elite source that once the U.S. starts buying up it's own debt the dollar is done with but not over night obviously.

Title: Here's Why An ECB Debt Swap Could Screw Everyone But The ECB
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 19, 2012, 06:29:08 pm
Here's Why An ECB Debt Swap Could Screw Everyone But The ECB
17 February 2012, by Mamta Badkar (Business Insider)

Title: US backs new IMF loan to Greece: Geithner
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 19, 2012, 08:33:44 pm

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Sunday threw Washington's support behind the new austerity measures agreed by Greece and said the US backed the idea of a new IMF loan for Athens.
"We welcome the program of economic reforms agreed to by the prime minister of Greece and the coalition parties, and the public statement of support from the major economies of Europe," Geithner said in a statement.
"This is a very strong and very difficult package of reforms, deserving of support of the international community and the IMF. The United States will encourage the IMF to support this agreement."
The Greek parliament has approved a series of measures worth 3.2 billion euros in return for a second bailout deal that would write off 100 billion euros of debt and provide a loan of 130 billion euros to Greece.


Title: Decision day for second Greek bailout despite financing gaps
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 20, 2012, 08:25:06 am

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers are expected to approve a second bailout for Greece on Monday to try to draw a line under months of uncertainty that has shaken the currency bloc, although work remains to be done to make the numbers add up.
Diplomats and economists say they do not expect the package to resolve Greece's economic problems. That could take a decade or more, a bleak prospect that brought thousands of Greeks onto the streets to protest against austerity measures on Sunday.
French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said all the elements were in place to reach an agreement and Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said he expected a deal. The finance ministers are scheduled to meet at around 1500 GMT.
Euro zone ministers need to agree new measures to make the financing work, given the ever-worsening state of the Greek economy. But they say an agreement on Monday will help restructure Athens' vast debts, put it on a more stable financial footing and keep it inside the 17-country euro zone.


Title: Greece awaits bailout decision but issues remain
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 20, 2012, 08:57:29 am

BRUSSELS (AP) — Eurozone governments are due to sign off on Monday a long-awaited rescue package for Greece, saving it from a potentially calamitous bankruptcy next month, senior officials said.

But finance ministers meeting in Brussels still have a few last issues to wrangle over, such as tighter controls over Greece's spending and further cuts to the country's debt load.

Greece needs to secure the euro130 billion ($170 billion) bailout quickly so it can move ahead with a related euro100 billion ($130 billion) debt relief deal with private investors, which needs to be in place quickly if Athens is to avoid a disorderly default on a bond repayment on March 20.


Despite Athens' efforts, however, several important elements of the deal remained unsolved.

To convince the rest of the eurozone that the new aid money won't be squandered, Greece is expected to be forced to set up a separate account that would ensure that it services its debt. This escrow account would give legal priority to debt and interest payments over paying for government services.


Title: Greece's fate uncertain as bailout talks drag on
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 20, 2012, 05:23:35 pm
Greece's fate uncertain as bailout talks drag on


Eurozone finance officials remained behind closed doors late Monday as a crucial round of talks over a second bailout for Greece looked set to run late into the night.

The meeting of finance ministers from the 17 nations that use the euro, known as the Eurogroup, is widely expected to culminate with a decision on a second €130 billion for Greece, which the nation needs to avoid a potential default next month.

But European Union officials declined to say when an announcement would be made. The negotiations leading up to Monday's meeting have been fraught with delays.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the meeting, Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker stressed that Greece should remain a member of the euro currency union.


Title: Eurozone seals second Greek bailout
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 20, 2012, 10:36:55 pm


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers sealed on Tuesday a second bailout for debt-laden Greece that will resolve its immediate financing needs but seems unlikely to revive the nation's shattered economy.
After a marathon 13 hours of talks, euro zone officials said ministers had nailed measures to cut Greece's debt to around 121 percent of gross domestic product by 2020, close to their original target of 120, after negotiators for private bondholders offered to accept a bigger loss to help plug the funding gap.
Agreement on a 130-billion-euro rescue package with strict conditions attached will help draw a line under months of uncertainty that has shaken the currency bloc, and avert an imminent Greek bankruptcy.
"The financial volume (of the Greek package) is 130 billion euros and debt-to-GDP (will be) 121 percent. Now it's down to work on the statement," one official involved in the negotiations told Reuters. Another confirmed the two figures.


A report prepared for ministers by EU, European Central Bank and IMF experts, obtained exclusively by Reuters, said Greece would need extra relief to cut its debts near to the official debt target 2020 given the ever-worsening state of its economy.
If Athens did not follow through on economic reforms and savings, its debt could hit 160 percent by that date.


Private sector holders of Greek debt are expected to take losses of 53.5 percent or more on the nominal value of their bonds. Previously they had agreed to a 50 percent nominal writedown, which equated to around a 70 percent loss on the net present value of the bonds.


Title: Re: Eurozone seals second Greek bailout
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 21, 2012, 09:05:38 am
The Full Greek (Un)Sustainability Analysis http://www.zerohedge.com/news/presenting-full-greek-sustainability-analysis-take-it-away-german-media

Downside Case Sees Funding Needs Soar From €136 Billion To €245 Billion http://www.zerohedge.com/news/more-leaked-greece-details-downside-case-sees-bailout-needs-rising-%E2%82%AC136-billion-%E2%82%AC245-billion

Summarizing The Open Questions Surrounding The Second Greek Bailout http://www.zerohedge.com/news/summarizing-open-questions-surrounding-second-greek-bailout

Second Greek Re-Bailout: Terms, Conditions And Next Steps http://www.zerohedge.com/news/second-greek-re-bailout-terms-conditions-and-next-steps

Meaningless Greek Deal Supposedly Reached; Deal Won't Hold by Mike Shedlock http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/02/meaningless-greek-deal-supposedly.html

Greek debt could easily derail again: EU/IMF report Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/21/us-greece-debt-idUSTRE81K0PF20120221

Greece's second bailout program could easily go off the rails and send the nation's debt rocketing back to today's unmanageable levels, a confidential study by its international lenders shows.

Title: Questions linger over deal to ease Greek burden
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 21, 2012, 09:12:47 am


GREECE will need up to $300 billion in further bailout funding if the punishing budget cuts to be imposed in Athens aggravate the recession choking the nation, economists have warned.

Speculation was rife last night that the latest bailout deal between Greece and European Union officials would not be the last, and it would merely stave off default next month.


Title: Fitch downgrades Greece - says default 'highly likely'
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 22, 2012, 08:23:00 am



Fitch ratings agency downgrades Greece from CCC to C, indicating default 'highly likely'

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Fitch ratings agency says it has downgraded Greece further into junk status, from 'CCC' to 'C' following the announcement of the details of the country's debt swap deal with private creditors.

The agency said Wednesday the downgrade indicated "that default is highly likely in the near term." In June, the agency had said it would consider Greece to be in restricted default if the bond swap deal went ahead.

The bond swap deal with private creditors will see euro107 billion ($141 billion) of Greece's debt held by banks and other private holders of government bonds written off.


Title: Some Greeks Might Have to Pay for Their Jobs
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 22, 2012, 01:28:08 pm


It's being called the "negative salary": Due to austerity measures in Greece, it's being reported that up to 64,000 Greeks will go without pay this month, and some will have to pay for having a job. Numbers in austerity reports have usually reflected figures in the millions, since they reflect industry-wide cuts (i.e.  a 537-million euro cut to health and pension funds). And plans of cutting minimum wage by up to 32% is all but a given in the country. Today's "negative salary" deal—which could have government employees returning funds— reveals the real human impact of the austerity measures.

As Zero Hedge and the Press Project report:
Salary cutbacks (called "unified payroll") for contract workers at the public sector set to be finalized today. Cuts to be valid retroactively since november 2011. Expected result: Up to 64.000 people will work without salary this month, or even be asked to return money. Amongst them 21.000 teachers, 13.000 municipal employees and 30.000 civil servants.

Title: "Greece May Need A Third Bailout"
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 25, 2012, 05:44:45 pm
Juncker: "Greece May Need A Third Bailout"
24 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Title: German minister tells Greece to exit eurozone
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 25, 2012, 09:42:18 pm
German minister tells Greece to exit eurozone
25 February 2012, (AFP)

Germany's interior minister on Saturday came out strongly in favour of debt-stricken Greece leaving the eurozone, arguing that this would would improve its chances of becoming competitive again.

"I do not mean that Greece should be kicked out of" the 17-nation eurozone, said Hans-Peter Friedrich in an interview with news magazine Der Spiegel, "but to create incentives for an exit that they cannot turn down."

"Outside European monetary union Greece's chances of regenerating itself and become competitive are definitely bigger than if it remained inside the eurozone," said Friedrich.

Friedrich was speaking ahead of a vote by German lawmakers on Monday on a further €130 billion ($175 billion) in loans for Greece.

Under a plan hammered out by eurozone finance ministers, Greece would receive up to €130 billion in direct loans by 2014 in return for tough new austerity measures and tighter EU-IMF oversight of its economy.

A private creditor bond writedown is worth another €107 billion.

Germany is the biggest contributor to eurozone bailouts.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 26, 2012, 08:50:10 am
The Colonization Begins: Germany May Send 160 Tax Collectors To Greece http://www.zerohedge.com/news/colonization-begins-germany-sends-160-tax-collectors-greece

Mark Grant On The Greek Annexation http://www.zerohedge.com/news/mark-grant-greek-annexation

Two Year Reminder For The Fed: How Is That Investigation Into Goldman’s Greek Currency Swaps Going? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/two-year-reminder-fed-how-investigation-goldmans-greek-currency-swaps-going

Title: Under Zeus' gaze, austerity-hit Greeks queue for potatoes
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 26, 2012, 08:58:37 am
Under Zeus' gaze, austerity-hit Greeks queue for potatoes
26 February 2012, by Harry Papachristou - Katerini, Greece (Reuters)

Struggling to cope with austerity, hundreds of Greeks in the town of Katerini at the foot of Mount Olympus have turned to a cheap way to do groceries: ordering potatoes on the Internet and picking them up in a parking lot.

As dawn broke on a cloudless Saturday, buyers patiently gathered to buy directly from growers at less than half the supermarket shelf price - the unemployed who struggle to make ends meet, the retirees whose pensions have been cut by the cost-saving measures and even well-heeled lawyers and women in fur.

The idea to cut out profiteering middlemen, started by a local activist group in Katerini, northern Greece, has led several other towns to seek advice on emulating the action.

"Every penny counts," said Kyriaki Kotropoulou, a 41-year old jobless mother of three, as she stood in line to pick up five bags of potatoes, each containing 10 kg (22 pounds) of the produce at 25 euro cents ($0.34) apiece.

Kotropoulou was a temporary worker at the local municipality but her contract was recently terminated as part of spending cuts demanded by Greece's euro zone partners who approved a 130 billion euro bailout this week.

"We no longer buy any new clothes, we no longer go out for coffee or dinner. Day in, day out, my only concern is how to feed my children and my family," she said.


Katerini, a once prosperous town and local hub for agriculture, transport and tourism, has been hit by the crisis as hard as any other in debt-laden Greece.

Streets are full of shuttered shops. Pawnshops offering to buy jewellery are mushrooming. Just like everywhere else in the nation, unemployment has climbed to record levels.

The Pieria Volunteer Action Team, a group of local activists, decided to use the Internet to help people get cheap food. They first contacted a potato grower in northern Greece with surplus stock and a license to sell directly to customers.

Then they invited members and friends to place their orders on the Internet. "Within 12 hours, 530 people ordered 24 tons of potatoes. We had to stop taking orders," said Elias Tsolakides, a 54-year old member of the group.

Saturday morning marked the first time the buyers gathered under the initiative.

Most came in their cars, a few filled their bicycle baskets, behind them the snow-capped summits of Mount Olympus where Zeus, king of the Gods, sat on his throne according to ancient Greek mythology.

Some of the clients, like doctors and other well-off buyers, came not because they were starving but because they wanted to make a statement against what they said was the failure of authorities to crack down on price fixers.

"This is a symbolic move - everybody's income is falling but prices just don't," said Constantine Parastatides, a pensioned engineer.

According to the EU and the IMF, oligopolies, transport bottlenecks, rigid market rules and inefficient policing are key reasons why prices in Greece are not falling as fast as they should to help restore the country's competitiveness.

Under Greece's bailout plan, prices will be more tightly monitored and the competition authority given more teeth.

"There is shameless profiteering in the market. Market police, competition watchdogs, the authorities - nothing works," said Vassilis Anagnostopoulos, a 38-year-old firefighter whose wages have been cut 40 percent.

As soon as the Katerini initiative gathered pace, local supermarkets slashed their potato prices by half - to as low as 34 cents per kg, residents said. And now another 10 towns hope to follow suit.

The initiative also makes sense for Greek farmers. Normally squeezed by wholesalers, supermarkets and cheap potato imports from Egypt, potato grower Lefteris Kesopoulos found himself doing good business at the parking lot on Saturday.

"I've made a bigger profit and I got my money in cash - not in funny checks from some wholesaler that might bounce," the 40-year-old said behind the makeshift desk in front of his truck, from where he was busy signing receipts for customers.

"I will definitely do it again."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Kilika on February 27, 2012, 02:37:31 am
People do what they can based on what they believe or don't believe. No questions the governments aren't doing anything for the people there, so they have to fend for themselves.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 27, 2012, 09:46:12 am
People do what they can based on what they believe or don't believe. No questions the governments aren't doing anything for the people there, so they have to fend for themselves.

If anything, I think people, in general, may do better for themselves if they go this route. For example, let's say animal hunting of some kind(ie-I researched the wild hogs hunting last year, and this seems to be a lucrative business). This is a whole lot better than, let's say, working under an employer(no, NOT ALL employers, but most of them in general).

Greece is going to fall, but nonetheless I like what the citizens are doing here.

Title: How Much Is That Greek Doggy Worth In The PSI Window?
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 28, 2012, 07:28:40 am
How Much Is That Greek Doggy Worth In The PSI Window?
27 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)


With the Greek government bonds (GGBs) and CDS basis package trading at its highest in six months (over 96% of Par) and GGBs trading below 20% of Par (compared to considerably higher 'expected' PSI-based valuations),

it seems the market is much more convinced of an imminent credit trigger and no PSI deal than headlines are crowing about.

Combining the new 30Y bond, 2Y EFSF add-on, and GDP warrant, BARCAP arrives at a price of around 26.6% of Par for PSI-able bonds - considerably above the current depressed price of GGBs and together with S&P's negative outlook change to the EFSF this morning,

it would appear that market participants are not expecting a deal to get done by March 20th.

Perhaps that is why hope is so high this morning for a quadrillion Euro LTRO2 to see them through? That should help oil prices!

The Greek Bond-CDS package - that theoretically pays off par if a credit event is triggered - is trading at its highest in six months - and given the yields/spreads involved,

the March 20th maturity of the closest bond AND the fact that this date is also a CDS rollover date,

suggests market participants are expecting an 'event' before this (retro CACs?).

The closer the value of the basis package gets to 100, the higher probability and/or sooner the credit event is expected to be.


GGBs trade well below the implied PSI valuations levels - implying very little belief in the deal being done as it stands - even with accrueds being paid in full.


It would appear that GGBs remain very much the bull-dog in the European china-shop and while hope remains high for the PSI deal to be done, market prices do not reflect this hope.

Title: Greek unions walk out, parliament cuts health costs
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 01, 2012, 06:35:05 pm


The Greek parliament early Thursday approved a bill to cut health service costs after unions staged walkouts as part of Europe-wide demonstrations against austerity measures.
The text that had been demanded by the European Union and the IMF to unblock a new aid plan for the debt-stricken country was adopted by a large majority, on the eve of an EU summit that should pave the way for fresh loans to Greece.
The bill, passed under an emergency procedure as parliament was surrounded by police, lays down a cut in pharmaceutical expenses through the development of computerised prescriptions and the use of generic medicines.
It also limits the public health budget by merging hospital groups and calls for setting up a unified pension scheme consolidating numerous groups whose current total deficit is put at 850 million euros for 2011.


Title: Eurozone agrees in principle on Greek payment
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 01, 2012, 07:00:38 pm

Eurozone agrees in principle on Greek payment



BRUSSELS (AP) — The finance ministers of the 16 other countries that use the euro on Thursday agreed in principle to give Greece a first batch of bailout money to finance a massive debt relief deal with private investors.

However, the final green light for as much as euro93.5 billion ($125.69 billion) — which Greece needs to implement the debt swap — will come next week.

After a three-hour meeting in Brussels, the ministers said the payout can go ahead once Athens has passed "a few pending implementing acts" for promised austerity measures and the ministers how many banks and investment funds will actually participate in the bond swap.

A successful implementation of the euro107 billion ($143.84 billion) debt relief deal with private bondholders is a precondition for Greece to receive the rest of the euro130 billion bailout.

Private investors have until next Thursday to decide whether they will swap their Greek bonds for new ones with a lower face value, lower interest rates and longer repayment periods.

Overall, bondholders will lose more than 70 percent of the value of their holdings, but in return they will receive some of the money they are owed immediately and have at least the hope that they will get some more of it back in 30 years. Without the debt relief deal and the new bailout, Greece would have defaulted on its debts within weeks, potentially sending ripples across the world financial system.


Title: ECB says Greek bonds no longer eligible as collateral
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 02, 2012, 10:27:00 am
ECB says Greek bonds no longer eligible as collateral
28 February 2012, (AFP)

The European Central Bank said Tuesday it would temporarily no longer accept Greek sovereign bonds as collateral for loans to banks after Greece was declared in "selective default" by a rating agency.

"The governing council of the European Central Bank has decided to temporarily suspend the eligibility of marketable debt instruments issued or fully guaranteed by the Hellenic Republic for use as collateral in eurosystem monetary policy operations," the ECB said in a statement.

"This decision takes into account the rating of the Hellenic Republic as a result of the launch of the private sector involvement offer," the bank explained.

On Monday, ratings firm Standard & Poor's declared Greece in "selective default" after banks agreed to write off more than half of their Greek debt holdings in a second EU bailout of the country.


Title: ISDA Unanimous - No Payout On Greek CDS
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 02, 2012, 10:28:27 am
ISDA Unanimous - No Payout On Greek CDS
1 March 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

As expected by virtually everyone: NO PAYOUT ON GREECE $3.25 BILLION DEFAULT SWAPS, ISDA SAYS

Title: How Much Is That Greek Doggy Worth In The PSI Window?
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 02, 2012, 10:35:25 am
How Much Is That Greek Doggy Worth In The PSI Window?
27 February 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)


With the Greek government bonds (GGBs) and CDS basis package trading at its highest in six months (over 96% of Par) and GGBs trading below 20% of Par (compared to considerably higher 'expected' PSI-based valuations),

it seems the market is much more convinced of an imminent credit trigger and no PSI deal than headlines are crowing about.

Combining the new 30Y bond, 2Y EFSF add-on, and GDP warrant, BARCAP arrives at a price of around 26.6% of Par for PSI-able bonds - considerably above the current depressed price of GGBs and together with S&P's negative outlook change to the EFSF this morning,

it would appear that market participants are not expecting a deal to get done by March 20th.

Perhaps that is why hope is so high this morning for a quadrillion Euro LTRO2 to see them through? That should help oil prices!

The Greek Bond-CDS package - that theoretically pays off par if a credit event is triggered - is trading at its highest in six months - and given the yields/spreads involved,

the March 20th maturity of the closest bond AND the fact that this date is also a CDS rollover date,

suggests market participants are expecting an 'event' before this (retro CACs?).

The closer the value of the basis package gets to 100, the higher probability and/or sooner the credit event is expected to be.


GGBs trade well below the implied PSI valuations levels - implying very little belief in the deal being done as it stands - even with accrueds being paid in full.


It would appear that GGBs remain very much the bull-dog in the European china-shop and while hope remains high for the PSI deal to be done, market prices do not reflect this hope

Title: Moody's cuts Greece to lowest rating
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 03, 2012, 09:37:57 am
Moody's cuts Greece to lowest rating
2 March 2012, by Wallace Witkowski - San Francisco (MarketWatch)

Moody's Investor Service downgraded Greece's bond ratings to a C from Ca because of massive losses to bondholders expected under a debt restructuring.

"Moody's decision not to assign an outlook to the rating is based on the very high likelihood of a default by the Greek government on its bonds and the fact that C is the lowest rating on Moody's rating scale," the ratings agency said in a statement.

Moody's expects an investor haircut in excess of 70% as a result of the restructuring.

On Monday, Standard & Poor's downgraded the sovereign credit ratings of Greece to selective default.

Title: Greece may need more help: Austrian chancellor
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 04, 2012, 07:23:34 pm
FRANKFURT/VIENNA (Reuters) - Greece's second bailout may prove insufficient and a topping up of the euro zone's permanent bailout fund cannot be ruled out, the Austrian Chancellor was quoted as saying in a newspaper on Sunday.
"I would not trust anyone who says that (the help) for Greece is enough," Werner Faymann said in an interview with Austrian paper Oesterreich. "For Greece it depends on whether they can stick to these measures over several elections."
He also did not rule out extending the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), saying it "may be necessary."
The euro zone will decide whether to increase its debt crisis firewall before the end of March, probably at an informal gathering in Copenhagen set for March 30/31.



Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 05, 2012, 09:45:53 am


Greece: Bank deposits down euro70 bln since 2009

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Bank deposits in Greece have fallen by euro70 billion ($92.5 billion) since the start of the crisis in 2009, the finance minister said Monday, an indication of the massive loss of confidence in the economy as it repeatedly came close to bankruptcy.

Evangelos Venizelos said only euro16 billion of the funds withdrawn from Greek banks was sent abroad, mostly to the U.K. The rest is largely spent as families and businesses eat into their savings, or hoarded by households preparing for the worst case scenario — a debt default or Greece's exit from the euro.

"This money, if it existed in the banks, would allow for loans to be made to businesses, for the economy to move, for unemployment to be tackled," Venizelos said in an interview on Antenna Television.

He stressed the importance of restoring confidence in order to encourage the return of funds to the banks, insisting that a new bailout deal and a major bond swap designed to slash Greece's overall debt will strengthen the financial sector.



Title: Greek default looms as voluntary debt deal looks set to fail
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 05, 2012, 08:12:00 pm

Greek default looms as voluntary debt deal looks set to fail


European leaders are braced for the eurozone’s first ever sovereign default this week as Greece’s efforts to secure a €206bn (£172bn) “voluntary” bond swap looks increasingly unlikely.

Authorities in Athens are ready to enforce the controversial collective action clauses, or CACs, to impose the restructuring deal on all bondholders as the number of voluntary agreements look set to fall short of the required amount.
Credit rating agencies have warned they will declare Athens to be in default if the CACs are triggered which would be a dramatic culmination to a three-year rollercoaster ride for Athens, the eurozone and global markets.
While the markets have been ready for a Greek default for months, the move could leave Greece and its banks barred from funding from the European Central Bank (ECB). On Monday, Standard & Poor’s declared Greece to be in a state of “selective default” which led to the ECB announcing it would no longer accept Greek government bonds as security for new loans.
The rating agency said its decision had been prompted by the threat of the CACs and the actual use of them is likely to tip Greece into actual default. The agency said it regarded the process as a “distressed debt restructuring”.


Title: ECB Says Greece May Not Get Enough PSI Participation, Der Spiegel Reports
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 05, 2012, 08:15:36 pm
ECB Says Greece May Not Get Enough PSI Participation, Der Spiegel Reports

 By Brian Parkin - Mar 4, 2012 11:51 AM CT

Greece may fail to garner enough investors to participate in a voluntary writedown of its debt, Der Spiegel magazine reported, citing unnamed officials at the European Central Bank.

A second Greek bailout is partly tied to investors’ agreeing to the writedown by a March 8 deadline.

Title: Greek finance minister tells bondholders swap offer is final
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 06, 2012, 08:59:02 am


Greek finance minister tells bondholders swap offer is final

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos warned Athens' private creditors on Monday not to hold out but take the bond swap on which a second bailout of the debt-ridden country depends because it was the best deal they would get.

Venizelos told Reuters in an interview three days before the exchange offer expires, that the terms hammered out last month after months of tortuous negotiations were favorable and Greece would not hesitate to activate laws forcing losses on bond holders who did not willingly sign up.

"Whoever thinks that they will hold out and be paid in full, is mistaken," he said. "We are ready to activate CACs (collective action clause to enforce losses) if needed," he said.

The deal clinched by euro zone finance ministers in the early hours of February 21 involves investors taking a nominal 53.5 percent loss, which equates to a real 73-74 percent loss, on their Greek bonds in a deal aimed at rescuing Greece from a chaotic default by cutting its debt mountain by around 100 billion euros.


Title: Bondholder group sees 1 trillion euro Greek default risk
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 06, 2012, 09:00:04 am


Bondholder group sees 1 trillion euro Greek default risk

LONDON (Reuters) - A disorderly Greek default would cause more than a trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) of damage to the euro zone and could leave Italy and Spain dependent on outside help to stop contagion spreading, the main bondholders group has said.

Greek private creditors have until Thursday night to say whether they will participate in a bond swap that is part of a bailout deal to help it manage its finances and meet a debt repayment on March 20.

Investors will lose almost three-quarters of the value of their debt in the exchange. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told Reuters on Monday it was the best deal they would get and those who did not sign up would still be forced to take losses.

Analysts said the Institute of International Finance document, marked "IIF Staff Note: Confidential," may have been designed to alarm investors into participating in the exchange.


Title: Dow with a 200-point loss as worries build that Greece is headed to default
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 06, 2012, 01:33:53 pm
Fasten your seat belts...


Stocks tumble in market's worst loss of 2012

The Dow flirts with a 200-point loss as worries build that Greece is headed to default and Europe appears to be in a recession. Gold falls below 1,700, and crude oil drops under $105. Retail gas prices slip after 27 straight gains.

Updated: 2 p.m. ET.

Stocks were suffering their worst losses of the year on new worries about Europe and continued fears that Chinese growth will be lower than expected.

The Dow Jones industrial Average ($INDU -1.69%) has been off more than 200 points for much of the day and potentially headed to its first loss of more than 100 points this year. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX -1.70%) had fallen below 1,350, with some analysts seeing a decline to around 1,320 as a possibility. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX -1.60%) fell to as low as 2,901 before recovering slightly. 

The immediate issue was whether Greece and private bondholders will meet a Thursday deadline to complete a debt swap. Greece wants the bond holders to swap old bonds for new ones and take a write-down of some 70% in the process. Plus, there were continuing worries about recession spreading across Europe; Ford Motor (F -3.13%) warned its European operations may lose $500 million to $600 million this year.


Title: Wall Street drop indication the world’s financial pyramid still has a cracked gl
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 06, 2012, 06:00:21 pm
Wall Street drop indication the world’s financial pyramid still has a cracked glass floor


March 6, 2012 – NEW YORK – Stocks closed sharply lower Tuesday, with the Dow posting its first triple-digit decline in 2012, fueled by fears over a Greek default and amid economic growth concerns. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped -203.66 points, or 1.57 percent, to close at 12,759.15, logging its biggest decline since November 23, 2011. The Dow’s recent streak without a triple-digit decline was the longest since 2006. The S&P 500 erased 20.97 points, or 1.54 percent, to end at 1,343.36. The Nasdaq dropped 40.16 points, or 1.36 percent, to finish at 2,910.32. All 10 S&P sectors closed firmly in the red, led by financials and industrials. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, surged above 20 for the first time since mid-February. Meanwhile, open interest in the Vix index futures reached new all-time highs on Monday, hitting levels not seen since last June. Global woes have weighed on equities in recent trading sessions. On Monday, stocks ended lower after China cut its 2012 growth target to an 8-year low of 7.5 percent. The focus has since turned back to Greece as investors were jittery over the Greek debt swap deal. The bond swap plays an important role of a second bailout loan for the debt-ridden nation that aims to keep it from defaulting. –CNBC

Trillion Dollar black hole: Decision day for the Greek debt crisis is drawing near, and insiders are predicting that if things go awry it could cost the world economy $1.3 trillion. Holders of Greek bonds have to decide by this Thursday whether they will trade in their old Greek bonds for new bonds that are worth less. Bond holders have an interest in agreeing to the swap because if it doesn’t work, Greece is likely to default on its debt when it has scheduled payments on March 20. In a confidential memo that has just surfaced, the industry group representing bond holders has said that the consequences of such a default could be $1 trillion in losses. “When combined with the strong likelihood that a disorderly Greek default would lead to the hurried exit of Greece from the Euro Area, this financial shock to the [European Central Bank] could raise significant stability issues about the monetary union,” the International Institute of Finance’s memo said, according to a copy posted on a Greek news website. Even with the potential damage, it is not clear if all the bond holders will sign on, and Greece said it will only go ahead if it gets 75% participation. Many of the bonds are currently held by hedge funds who bought them up on the cheap and who are now disappointed with the level of the cuts that Greece is insisting they take. The IIF put out a statement Monday listing all the bond holders who are willing to take the deal. Bloomberg estimated that they only account for 20% of the total participants needed. Greece’s finance minister told Bloomberg Television this is the only chance bond holders will get. “This is the best offer because this is the only one, the only existing offer,” Evangelos Venizelos said. If they don’t take it, today’s stock market declines may look like small potatoes. –LA Times

Title: Greece closes in on target in bond swap deal
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 08, 2012, 11:39:47 am


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's race to slice €107 billion ($140 billion) off its debt entered the home stretch Thursday, with a government official saying participation in a bond swap deal was already above 75 percent and markets appearing confident of success.

Investors have until 10 p.m. local time (2000 GMT) to sign up to the deal which aims to lower Greece's national debt by having private creditors swap their Greek bonds for new ones with a 53.5 percent lower face value, lower interest rates and longer maturity dates.

The swap is a critical part of the country's second international bailout. If too few investors agree and it fails, the crisis-hit country will likely default on its debt in less than two weeks when a big bond repayment is due, prompting renewed turmoil in financial markets and knocking confidence in the global economy.

A government official said Thursday evening that as of Wednesday night, the takeup on the offer had already topped 75 percent. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the deadline for private creditors to sign up to the deal was still hours away.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 08, 2012, 11:45:12 am

Greece debt swap down to the wire
By CNNMoney staff@CNNMoneyMarketsMarch 8, 2012: 12:23 PM ET

The terms of the restructuring are not attractive for bondholders. They have been "invited" to voluntarily take part in a writedown and debt swap that could result in losses of up to 75%.

Title: Greece closes offer with bond swap set to pass
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 08, 2012, 02:16:30 pm


ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece closed a bond swap offer to private creditors on Thursday after clearing the minimum threshold of acceptance to push the deal through, moving closer to unlocking funds it needs to avoid a dangerous debt default.

Government officials said before the final deadline for declaring interest passed at 2000 GMT that more than 75 percent of eligible bonds had already been committed.

The biggest sovereign debt restructuring in history will see bond holders accept losses of some 74 percent on the value of their investments in a deal that will cut more than 100 billion euros from Greece's crippling public debt.

Preliminary results from the offer are expected to be announced officially at 0600 GMT on Friday before a conference call with euro zone finance ministers in the afternoon.


Title: Greek bond swap concluded successfully - Deal clears needed threshold, but some
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 08, 2012, 05:17:21 pm
Greek bond swap concluded successfully - Deal clears needed threshold, but some still fret over Europe’s debt
8 March 2012, by William L. Watts - Frankfurt (MarketWatch)


Greece completed a crucial debt swap with private creditors on Thursday, clearing the way for the country to substantially lower its debt burden and moving it closer to receiving a badly needed second official bailout, according to media reports.

Bondholders representing some 85% of Greece’s outstanding private-sector debt, well above the government’s minimum threshold, have signed up to take part in the swap, according to the reports.

The high rate of participation will allow Greece to force any holders of bonds regulated under Greek law to participate in the swap.

Bloomberg reported that €155 billion ($205 billion) of the €177 billion in bonds issued under Greek law were tendered.

Citing a banker briefed on the deal, it said €12 billion of non-Greek regulated bonds and €7 billion of state-owned company bonds were also tendered.

The success of the deal will cut Greece’s debt burden by more than €100 billion and remove one of the last hurdles keeping its official creditors from moving forward with an official bailout worth €130 billion.

The developments helped lift risk appetite in financial markets, boosting European equities and U.S. stock indexes, strategists said.

They warned, though, that the positive sentiment may prove fragile. Read more in Europe Markets.

The deal ... is just one more hurdle in a crisis that is still very likely to bring further bad news in the coming months,” said Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank International in London.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 08, 2012, 06:16:37 pm
Ultimately, whether they have "deals" in place or not, it's all a lose-lose when all is said and done. There are WAY too many costs for the deals that just went through, and they all know that Greece won't have the resources to pay it back.

Like Kilika said earlier in this thread, why can't the rest of Europe et al(and throw in the Vatican and the wealthy people of this world like Warren Buffet) CHIP IN and help pay for the debt ??? Yeah, sometimes we have to check our brains at the door when thinking things through.

Title: Euro zone finance ministers to assess Greek deal shortly: Germany
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 09, 2012, 11:06:13 am

BERLIN (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers will discuss the results of Greece's debt swap deal at a teleconference at around 1130 GMT on Friday and will then decide at a meeting next week on unlocking a second bailout for the country, a German government spokesman said.

Greece won strong acceptance from its private creditors on Thursday for the bond swap deal, which is a crucial requirement for the 130-billion-euro bailout.

"The high take-up rate among private creditors opens the way to the largest debt restructuring of a country in history," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news briefing, adding that Chancellor Angelea Merkel saw the result as "encouraging".

Title: ECB to again accept Greek bonds as collateral
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 09, 2012, 01:58:00 pm
ECB to again accept Greek bonds as collateral
8 March 2012, by William L. Watts - Frankfurt (MarketWatch)

The European Central Bank on Thursday said it would again accept Greek government bonds as collateral in its funding operations.

The bonds had been ruled temporarily ineligible for use as collateral last month after Standard & Poor's declared Greece to be in selective default.

The ECB said at the time that eligibility would be restored once a previously-agreed collateral enhancement program for Greece was formally activated.

In a news release Thursday, the ECB said its Governing Council acknowledged the activation of the buyback program and

"has decided that the aforementioned debt instruments will be again accepted as collateral in Eurosystem credit operations, without applying the minimum credit rating threshold for collateral eligibility until further notice."

Title: Greek Q4 GDP Slide Revised Downward From -7.0% To -7.5%
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 09, 2012, 04:08:39 pm
The Bad News Begins: Greek Q4 GDP Slide Revised Downward From -7.0% To -7.5%
9 March 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Not even 6 hours after the PSI exchange offer details, and already the true Greek problem rears its head.

Because it is not the crushing debt coupon that is the primary threat to Greece: cutting the cash coupon from infinity to 2.6% is welcome, but utterly meaningless if the debt load is still intolerable (as a reminder, just the Troika DIP is about 130% of Greek GDP, meaning all junior debt is worthless as confirmed by the trading price of the New Greek debt in the 15 cents on the euro region).

No - the true threat to the Greek economy is that nobody wants to work anymore.

Sure enough, the previously reported -7.0% contraction in Q4 GDP has just been revised to -7.5%.

From Reuters: "GDP contracted by 7.5% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2011, the country's statistics office said on Friday based on seasonally unadjusted provisional estimates.

The contraction, which followed a 5.0% GDP decline in the previous quarter, was deeper than a previous Feb. flash estimate of -7.0%."

And one can be absolutely certain that this number will be revised far further lower when all is said and done.

Also, with recently released Greek PSI data coming at an all time low, we wish Greece the best of luck in achieving that -1.0% GDP growth in 2013 as per the IMF's downside case.

Finally, this explains why the NEW Greek debt is trading with an implied redefault probability of 98%.

Here is how Greek GDP looks by quarter in 2011: Q1: -8.0%; Q2: -7.3%; Q3: -5.0%; and Q4: -7.5%

Title: Fitch Downgrades Greece From C To Restricted Default
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 09, 2012, 04:11:39 pm
Fitch Downgrades Greece From C To Restricted Default - Full Text
9 March 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Title: Greece Restructuring Plan Triggers $3 Billion in Default Swaps, ISDA Says
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 09, 2012, 04:21:42 pm
Greece Restructuring Plan Triggers $3 Billion in Default Swaps, ISDA Says
9 March 2012, by Abigail Moses (Bloomberg)

Greece’s use of collective action clauses forcing investors to take losses under the nation’s debt restructuring will trigger payouts on $3 billion of default insurance, the International Swaps & Derivatives Association said.



The determinations committee which decides whether a credit event has occurred consists of representatives from 15 dealers and investors. The group, which includes Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), Pacific Investment Management Co. and Morgan Stanley, rules after a request is made by a market participant.

In a restructuring credit event investors have the right to choose whether to settle their default swap contracts.

Auctions will set a recovery value on the bonds and swaps sellers will pay buyers the difference between that and the face value of the debt.

Title: Papademos Speaks - Point And Counterpoint
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 09, 2012, 04:26:21 pm
Papademos Speaks - Point And Counterpoint
9 March 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

The fearless ECB-plant leading the Greek people on an unelected basis has spoken. Here are the key points and counterpoints:


-> They can... but they won't because as the Greek gold is confiscated, so will the Greek private deposits.

In the meantime: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/greek-bank-deposit-outflows-soar-january-third-largest-ever


-> Yes indeed http://www.zerohedge.com/news/greece-not-happy-angela-merkel

That. And all those successful referendums...



-> Great opportunity indeed: Total Greek debt pre-restructuring: $1.20 Trillion; Total Greek debt post-restructuring: $1.233 Trillion.

Congratulations Greece - you now have more debt than ever in history following this historic "restructuring",

but at least your new foreign overloards have a first lien on everything and then some as the Troika's DIP alone is well 130% of GDP.

Including your gold. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/cost-combined-greek-bailout-just-rose-%E2%82%AC320-billion-secured-debt-or-136-greek-gdp

Title: Greece Default Is Official; Insurance Payouts Triggered
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 09, 2012, 05:56:58 pm

Published: Friday, 9 Mar 2012 | 3:18 PM ET

A group representing dealers in credit default swaps decided Friday that Greek's bond swap constitutes a "credit event" that entitles holders of Greek credit default swaps to compensation.

The "yes" vote by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association triggers roughly $3.2 billion in CDS, which are insurance policies that pay out if a bond issuer defaults. That amount is actually much smaller than many had feared.

The decision was widely expected, and stocks were slightly down after the announcement.

Greece pushed through a bond swap deal on Friday, forcing  bond holders to take a significant "haircut" on the return of their money. The swap was approved by about 84 percent of the holders, and Greece is moving to activate a rule forcing the rest of the bondholders to go along with the deal.


Title: Greek bailout protects Europe from financial risk but may not save Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 09, 2012, 09:20:58 pm
Buying time: Greek bailout protects Europe from financial risk but may not save Greece


WASHINGTON - Greece got the rescue. But it's the rest of Europe that's breathing easier.

A $172 billion (€130 billion) bailout isn't likely to keep Greece from eventually defaulting on its debts and abandoning the euro, many economists say.

The sad truth about the bailout is that it mostly just buys time. The breather allows European governments and banks to strengthen their financial defences, leaving them less vulnerable if Greece cracks up a few months or even a few years from now.

The bailout — plus an agreement endorsed Thursday by most private lenders to reduce Greece's debts — "does more to protect Europe from Greece than for Greece itself," says Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.


Title: Greece debt crisis triggers massive credit default contract swap worth billions
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 09, 2012, 10:40:28 pm

Greece debt crisis triggers massive credit default contract swap worth billions

March 10, 2012 – GREECE - It’s for real this time. The International Swaps and Derivatives Association determined today that Greece’s bond swap has triggered a credit event. That will lead to payouts of credit default swaps—essentially, insurance contracts on holdings of Greek bonds under Greek law—that investors purchased to hedge against the risk of holding Greek sovereign debt. While expected, this is the icing on the cake of the first developed market default in 60 years. An auction related to outstanding CDS transactions will be held on March 19. The committee asks that any investor wanting to participate in the auction notify ISDA immediately. Provocation of a credit event has been a contentious topic in Europe during the last few months. On one hand, sovereign CDS contracts are the only securities that allow investors to hedge and speculate directly against governments. Because the market is so opaque and because many financial institutions are on both sides of this trade, credit default swaps have compounded concerns about the contagion that would occur as a result of a financial shock. While the market for Greek CDS is relatively small, some traders and officials had been fearful that a credit event was still not fully priced in, and could have some negative consequences. On the other hand, attempts to subvert existing CDS contracts would have also compromised investors’ faith in EU leaders’ willingness to stick to market rules. Analysts had feared that this distrust for sovereign credit default swaps would have spread into the corporate CDS market, destroying a major industry with far-reaching consequences. It had become apparent in recent weeks that Greece was not going to significantly reduce its debt burden without forcing investors to participate in a structured default. Earlier proposals to keep the deal “voluntary” would likely not have received sufficient participation from investors to significantly reduce Greece’s outstanding public debt.–Business Insider

Title: Greece eyes 1 billion euro stimulus from EIB: PM adviser
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 10, 2012, 10:08:01 am


ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece hopes to get 1 billion euros ($1.31 billion) in financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB) this year as a stimulus for its ailing economy, a senior official said on Saturday.

Greece and the European Commission are pushing the EIB, the European Union's long-term investment arm, to disburse the funds, said Gikas Hardouvelis, top economic adviser to Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.

"I believe in the end it will happen," Hardouvelis told Greece's Mega television, adding the EIB might channel the money into the Greek economy through local banks.

After the success of a debt cut plan on Friday, which opens the way for a 130-billion euro international bailout, Athens is looking for ways to kick-start its stricken economy, now in its fifth year of recession.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 11, 2012, 02:44:12 pm


As we write, it appears that more than 75% of the holders of privately held Greek bonds have accepted the deal to exchange old bonds for new, and that the eventual acceptance rate could go over 90%.  For the U.S. stock market, this may take the Greek situation off the table temporarily, allowing investors to turn their attention, instead, to the rapidly declining EU economy, continuing sub-par growth in the U.S. and the gathering global slowdown.
The Greek government will announce the final tally at 1:00 AM Eastern Standard Time Friday.  At that time it probably will activate the clause that enables them to force all holdouts to accept the deal.  Under the terms of the agreement holders will accept a cut of 53.5% in face value of the old bonds as well as a sharply lower interest rate.  The goal is to reduce Greek debt from the current 165% of GDP to 120% by 2020.
The action does not mean that we’ve seen an end to the turmoil. The Greek economy has been in recession for five years and the current unemployment rate is over 20%.  The required severe austerity measures make it almost certain that the Greek economy will continue to contract and that the budget deficit could get even worse, threatening the nation’s ability to meet payments even on the reduced amount of debt.  Already, the   new bonds to be issued are selling at huge discounts to face value on the so-called gray market, meaning that the chances of another default are high.  We also note that elections are coming up soon that could result in new leadership inclined to pander to an upset public facing higher unemployment, lower wages and cuts in pensions
Moreover, the deal still leaves the EU economy in bad shape. The ECB said that the EU economy is likely to contract this year, marking the third consecutive quarter that they have revised down their growth rate.  German manufacturing orders in January fell for the fifth time in seven months while Spanish industrial production has been in a steep decline.  Consumption and exports have generally been falling throughout Europe.  The implementation of austerity is likely to make things even worse.

The bulls believe that the European problems are not a threat to the U.S. or global economies.  They point out that the decline of Japan in the 1990s did not prevent the rest of the world from prospering.  Unfortunately, however, this is no longer the 1990s, when the emergence of the desk-top computer and the internet triggered a world-wide boom.  Now, U.S. economic growth is sluggish while China, Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa are all slowing down at the same time.  China has officially reduced its 2012 growth target, and India’s fourth quarter growth rate was its lowest in two years.  Brazil’s economy grew at 2.7% in 2011, half the rate originally forecast.  China’s exports to Europe are slowing as are China’s own imports of commodities.  China is the largest trade partner of Brazil and most of the other nations primarily dependent on commodities exports.
In our view, the U.S. will not remain an oasis of tranquility in a world that is either slowing down or already in recessionThe stock market is already overbought and overvalued at a time when earnings estimates are being revised down.  The odds of a significant downturn remain high.

Title: Greek Youth Unemployment Broke The 50% Marker - 51.1%=2X as high as 3-years ago
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 11, 2012, 07:53:00 pm
Europe's Scariest Chart Just Got Scarier
10 March 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Edge)


Greek youth unemployment rose to 51.1%, twice as high as three years ago.

Greek youth unemployment is officially the second one in Europe after Spain to surpass 50%.

The number of people unemployed in the 11 million person country is now 41% greater than its was a year ago.

Title: The Greek €107 Billion Contingent Liability Gorilla Exposed
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 11, 2012, 08:05:57 pm
The Greek €107 Billion Contingent Liability Gorilla Exposed
10 March 2012, by Mark Grant (Zero Hedge)


With the addition of the new IMF/EU loans of $172 billion and the revelation of the guaranteed debt at $107 billion Greece now has $279 billion of new and hidden debts.

All of the meandering, all of the charades, all of the red nail polish applied will, in the end I forecast, not be able to hide the reality that the barking dog is a greasy Pig.

A Dose of Reality:

- If Greece borrows money from the IMF/EU which means that they have more debt now than they did before they defaulted then they are worse off and not better off as they have a larger debt.

- If Greece has an additional $107 billion in debt that has not been accounted for because it is not in the name of the Hellenic Republic but is guaranteed by the Hellenic Republic then how are they going to pay off this debt?

- If the goal of this entire exercise was to reduce Greece’s debt to GDP ratio to 120% then how will a larger debt accomplish this as it is fiscally impossible.

- If the “real REAL goal” was to pay off the European banks so they wouldn’t default then Europe has accomplished this goal but at a terrible cost to Greece and to the Greek people.

Title: Greece has Defaulted which country is next?
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 11, 2012, 10:03:14 pm
Greece has Defaulted which country is next?

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 11, 2012, 10:21:17 pm

Greek finance minister Venizelos set to be Socialist leader

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will run unopposed for the leadership of the Socialists, party officials said on Sunday, as the political focus shifts towards a parliamentary election now that Athens has secured a bond swap deal.

Venizelos, 55, won the backing of all the Socialist PASOK party's heavy hitters and looks a certainty to become leader in an internal ballot on March 18.

However, winning the parliamentary election, penciled in for late April or early May, will be far tougher with all opinion polls showing PASOK badly trailing the conservative New Democracy party.


Title: Border disorder: EU pressures Greece to get a grip
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 13, 2012, 04:41:27 pm


Several EU states have demanded Athens toughen its lax border controls to stem the tide of illegals pouring into the rest of Europe via Greece. Greece became the European gateway for illegal immigrants after the Arab Spring erupted last year.
­A group of seven EU justice and home affairs ministers said if Greece doesn't tighten its immigration controls, other European Union states may be forced to reinstate the border checks abolished in 1995 under the Schengen agreement.

A joint paper agreed upon by the seven countries, including Germany,UK and France, urges Greece to "live up to its responsibilities" and "keep its house in order" by securing its border with Turkey.

"The question is still open on what happens when a country is not in a position to sufficiently safeguard its borders – as we are currently experiencing in Greece," said Hans-Peter Friedrich, the German interior minister.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 14, 2012, 08:39:08 am
Santorini: history’s most dreaded volcano awakes and is rapidly inflating warns geologist


March 14, 2012 – GREECE – The British Broadcasting Company named it the world’s best island in 2011. Santorini is a tourist magnet, famous for its breathtaking, cliff side views and sunsets. It’s also a volcanic island that has been relatively calm since its last eruption in 1950. Until now. The Santorini caldera is awake again and rapidly deforming at levels never seen before. Georgia Tech Associate Professor Andrew Newman has studied Santorini since setting up more than 20 GPS stations on the island in 2006. “After decades of little activity, a series of earthquakes and deformation began within the Santorini caldera in January of 2011,” said Newman, whose research is published by Geophysical Research Letters. “Since then, our instruments on the northern part of the island have moved laterally between five and nine centimeters. The volcano’s magma chamber is filling, and we are keeping a close eye on its activity.” Newman, a geophysicist in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, cannot be certain whether an eruption is imminent since observations of such activity on these types of volcanoes are limited. In fact, similar calderas around the globe have shown comparable activity without erupting. However, Newman says the chamber has expanded by 14 million cubic meters since last January. That means enough magma has been pumped into the chamber to fill a sphere three football fields across. Should Santorini erupt, Newman says it will likely be comparable to what the island has seen in the last 450 years. “That could be dangerous,” notes Newman. “If the caldera erupts underwater, it could cause local tsunamis and affect boat traffic, including cruise ships, in the caldera. Earthquakes could damage homes and produce landslides along the cliffs.” –E Science News


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 14, 2012, 08:46:18 am


Title: Eurozone approves nearly 40 bn euros in Greek bailout cash
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 14, 2012, 05:33:21 pm
Eurozone approves nearly 40 bn euros in Greek bailout cash


The eurozone approved Wednesday the first wave of loans for Greece under a heavily-conditioned second bailout, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said.

"Euro area member states have today formally approved the second adjustment programme for Greece," the head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers said in a statement.

He specified that a "first installment" of 39.4 billion euros ($51.5 billion) would be "disbursed in several tranches."

"All required national and parliamentary procedures have been finalised," Juncker said.



Title: Cases of HIV, TB, and malaria explode in Greece, ‘health system near collapse’
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 15, 2012, 12:11:29 pm
When the money runs out: cases of HIV, TB, and malaria explode in Greece, ‘health system near collapse’

March 15, 2012 – GREECE -  The incidence of HIV/Aids among intravenous drug users in central Athens soared by 1,250% in the first 10 months of 2011 compared with the same period the previous year, according to the head of Médecins sans Frontières Greece, while malaria is becoming endemic in the south for the first time since the rule of the colonels. Reveka Papadopoulos said that following savage cuts to the national health service budget, including heavy job losses and a 40% reduction in funding for hospitals, Greek social services were “under very severe strain, if not in a state of breakdown. What we are seeing are very clear indicators of a system that cannot cope.” The heavy, horizontal and “blind” budget cuts coincided last year with a 24% increase in demand for hospital services, she said, “largely because people could simply no longer afford private healthcare. The entire system is deteriorating.”The extraordinary increase in HIV/Aids among drug users, due largely to the suspension or cancellation of free needle exchange program, has been accompanied by a 52% increase in the general population. “We are also seeing transmission between mother and child for the first time in Greece,” she said. “This is something we are used to seeing in sub-Saharan Africa, not Europe. There has also been a sharp increase in cases of tuberculosis in the immigrant population, cases of Nile fever – leading to 35 deaths in 2010 – and the reappearance of endemic malaria in several parts of Greece, notably the south.” According to Papadopoulos, such sharp increases in communicable diseases are indicative of a system nearing breakdown. “The simple fact of the reappearance of malaria, with 100-odd cases in southern Greece last year and 20 to 30 more elsewhere, shows barriers to healthcare access have risen,” she said. “Malaria is treatable, it shouldn’t spread if the system is working.” MSF has been active in Greece for more than 20 years, but until now has largely confined its activities to emergency interventions after natural disasters such as earthquakes, and providing care to the most vulnerable groups in the community, including immigrants. It is now focusing on supporting the public health sector, providing emergency care in shelters for the homeless and improving the overall response to communicable diseases. Papadopoulos, who spent 17 years abroad with MSF and returned to her native Greece three years ago, sees hope among the rubble. “What keeps me going is an increasingly strong sense of solidarity among the Greek people,” she said. “Donations to MSF, for example, have of course gone down with the crisis, but donors keep giving, they remain active.”  -Guardian

Reality check: If you want to know how quickly a civilization unravels when the money runs out, you need look no further than Greece. It’s a sobering lesson for the U.S. and the rest of the Western world when the day of reckoning finally comes from too much borrowing and when sovereign debt levels become unsustainable. Consider what I wrote in my book 2 years ago: “It took millennia to build civilizations on this planet but we will watch them unravel over the span of a few years.” -The Extinction Protocol, page 10


Title: Bond holders seek court date with Greek banks and state
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 15, 2012, 06:08:50 pm
Bond holders seek court date with Greek banks and state
12 March 2012, (Athens News)
Lawyers in Germany representing 110 Greek bond holders said on Monday they have formed a class action group and intend to sue banks and the Greek state following last week's Greek bond swap, which slashed more than €100 billion from Athens' debt.

The Hamburg legal firm said most of the investors had spent €100,000-€500,000 on Greek paper, although the highest investment reached €3 million.

It did not name any of the banks it might target.

The suit, likely to be filed in Washington, will claim banks failed to properly advise clients about the risks of Greek paper and seek compensation.

Separately, lawyers will argue that Greece, in orchestrating a debt swap, infringed against a German-Greek investment treaty intended to protect German investors from political risk.

Lawyer Matthias Groepper of legal firm Groepper Koepke said those who had agreed to the terms of the debt swap would be unable to claim compensation.

Greek Bonds Holders Are Suing Greece and the Banks
12 March 2012, (Money Talk)

German lawyers representing 110 of the Greek bond holders will sue the Greek state and the banks from the exchange of bonds which reduced the Greek debt with over €100 billion.

Most investors have spent €100,000 to €500,000 on Greek bonds, the largest investment being of €3 million, according to the law firm in Hamburg, which didn’t mention the banks included in this action.

Banks will be accused of not informing customers about the risks and they will be required to pay compensation.

Lawyers will also argue that Greece, through the exchange of bonds, violated a German-Greek treaty that protects investors from Germany from political risks.


Title: Greece Minimum Wage Cut Signals Deflation
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 17, 2012, 06:53:36 pm


A 22% cut in the minimum wage by the Greece government can signal only one thing, deflation, which is a sure sign we could see a Great Depression. The Greece government is telling us that there will not be enough money, or bank credit, in circulation to support the current minimum wages. If minimum wages are being cut, we’re being told that the banks plan on reducing the money supply.

This means that the money will be worth more. If money is worth more, everything else is worth less. If money is increasing value, the rich will become richer by doing nothing. Debts will become more expensive. The inputs into production will be more expensive than the outputs. There will be no incentive to invest, loan, and produce. There will be more incentive to do nothing if you have money.


Title: More Greeks apply to migrate as their economy collapses
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 17, 2012, 06:57:20 pm
More Greeks apply to migrate as their economy collapses
Esther Han, Kirsty Needham
March 17, 2012.

THE number of Greeks fleeing economic despair to settle in Australia on permanent skills and family visas has doubled, immigration data shows.
Reversing a decade-long trend, Greece's financial collapse also prompted 831 Australian residents living in Greece to return to Australia last year.
Stripped of their jobs, lifestyle and their sense of security, Christos Stathakopoulos, his wife, Effie Pantazis, and their daughter Stamatia, 9, moved to Sydney from Athens last April.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/more-greeks-apply-to-migrate-as-their-economy-collapses-20120316-1valp.html#ixzz1pQCbyR9o

Title: Greek hopes to form cheap food network in Europe
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 18, 2012, 10:07:10 pm


Greek hopes to form cheap food network in Europe

KATERINI, Greece (AP) — The man behind the recent direct sale of food from Greek farmers at low prices to consumers says he hopes to help build a European network that would bypass middlemen to the benefit of consumers.

Elias Tsolakidis says he has been in touch with organizations in France and Spain aiming at similar efforts.

Tsolakidis was in the northern Greek town of Katerini where he oversaw the sale of 101 tons of flour at cut-rate prices to more than 2,000 people earlier Saturday.

Beginning last month, potato farmers started selling their produce directly to consumers, claiming they were being forced to sustain losses so middlemen could make big profits. Sales have expanded across Greece forcing supermarkets to slash prices.

Tsolakidis has organized a group of volunteers in Katerini which takes orders from people and orders the food, overseeing their sale.

Title: Greek socialists pick finance minister as new leader
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 18, 2012, 10:15:30 pm


Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was elected leader of the socialist party PASOK on Sunday, and now faces a Herculean battle to avert disaster in upcoming elections.

The 55-year-old politician, the only candidate to run for the job relinquished by former prime minister George Papandreou, told supporters at party headquarters: "We have re-established the confidence for a new departure. We are starting."

According to Pasok estimates, some 200,000 party members or sympathisers took part in the nationwide vote.

But the task now facing Venizelos is a daunting one.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 20, 2012, 09:40:53 pm
Greek CDS payouts seen at $2.5 billion
19 March 2012, by William L. Watts - Frankfurt (MarketWatch)

An auction conducted Monday determined that investors and traders who sold instruments known as credit default swaps, or CDS, on sovereign Greek debt will have to pay buyers a total of around $2.5 billion to settle the contracts.

Payouts were triggered after the Greek government invoked clauses earlier this month forcing all private bondholders to exchange Greek debt at a loss.

The auction, conducted by Creditex and Markit, valued Greek government bonds at 21.5% of face value, leaving CDS sellers to make up the remaining 78.5%.

Analysts said net exposure to Greek CDS stood at near $3.2 billion, according to recent data from the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp.

Title: Greeks Adopt Alternative Currencies as Economy Implodes
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 23, 2012, 04:28:23 pm
Greeks Adopt Alternative Currencies as Economy Implodes
Written by Alex Newman   * Wednesday, 21 March 2012



As Greece’s economy and the euro continue to struggle, regular Greeks are increasingly taking matters into their own hands, creating informal underground barter markets and even alternative currencies. And the government is actually encouraging it.

Over a dozen non-euro trading networks are already believed to be operating in communities throughout the embattled nation, with more on the way. But one effort in particular — called Local Alternative Units, or “TEMs” in Greek — has attracted a great deal of international attention.
In the port town of Volos — where unemployment is above 20 percent, the economy is struggling, and tax rates are rising — a group of locals decided it was time to take action. The population still had the same skills and resources as before the crisis, just not the euros needed for commerce.

So, a handful of people got together and formed the alternative currency known as the TEM. It quickly took off. And major newspapers and media outlets around the world — from the United States to the United Kingdom — have taken notice as it continues to expand.

“Ever since the crisis there’s been a boom in such networks all over Greece,” University of Crete vice chancellor and political economy professor George Stathakis told the New York Times, adding that despite an enormous government sector, Greek “social services” were being overwhelmed. “There are so many huge gaps that have to be filled by new kinds of networks.”

The TEM system works by allowing people in the community to set up an account on an online network, connecting them with others in the area with various needs and a wide array of services to offer. Users also receive a sort of booklet allowing them to essentially write “checks” to pay for goods and services.

A real market where people can meet to trade in TEMS is also a key component of the emerging network. And efforts are currently underway to establish a daily market in an unused building for locals to engage in commerce using their system.
Babysitters, farmers, teachers, electricians, barbers, bakers, computer technicians, opticians, veterinarians, and more are all represented. Most traders accept both euros and TEMs, or some combination of the two.

Member accounts start with zero TEMs, although users are allowed to borrow up to 300 units if they agree to repay it over a certain time period. And to prevent “hoarding,” the system’s managers explained, no user is allowed to have over 1,200 units of the currency.

“It’s an easier, more direct way of exchanging goods and services,” German-born homeopathist and acupuncturist Bernhardt Koppold, an active member of the Volos network, told the UK Guardian. “It’s also a way of showing practical solidarity — of building relationships.”

Dozens of other users expressed similar sentiments about their budding system. Co-founders of the TEMs network also explained that if the crisis were to spiral further into the realm of cataclysm, the alternative-currency system could help take up the slack — ensuring that a functioning economy would allow people to continue trading for survival.

Even local officials are encouraging citizens to get involved. Volos Mayor Panos Skotiniotis, for example, told NPR that such initiatives are especially valuable during the economic crisis as the government struggles to pay its bills.

“This is a substitution for the welfare state, and that is why this municipality is encouraging it and wants it to grow,” he said. The local government has even printed leaflets explaining the system and helped promote panel discussions about it.

At the national level, politicians seem to support the idea, too. Late last year, the Greek Parliament even passed a law urging citizens to build non-traditional forms of “entrepreneurship and local development.” The legislation also granted the informal networks official non-profit status, helping to ease the tax burden on struggling Greeks saddled with massive debts imposed by national and international officials.
Read whole article, with embedded links, at original site:

Title: Greece extends foreign-law bond swap deadline
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 25, 2012, 04:30:22 pm
Greece extends foreign-law bond swap deadline


Greece Friday extended to April 4 a deadline for its creditors to swap 8.1 billion euros ($10.7 billion) in debt as part of a historic bond exchange which has already erased nearly a third of its debt mountain.

Holders of Greek debt issued under foreign law had until 2000 GMT to join the so-called Private Sector Involvement (PSI) which was hammered out in February after months of negotiations with global banks and eurozone states.

But as the deadline expired the Greek finance ministry issued a statement saying creditors would have two more weeks to decide.

"The Hellenic Republic has decided to extend to April 4 at 1900 GMT the deadline for holders of Greek foreign-law bonds and of bonds issued by state enterprises and guaranteed by the state," a statement said.

The first phase of the swap, involving bonds issued under Greek law, was completed on March 12, cancelling more than 94.8 billion euros in near and mid-term debt in return for incentives and longer-term maturities.



Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 26, 2012, 10:18:59 pm
26 March 2012, (The Slog)


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 29, 2012, 09:03:29 pm


Will Greece abandon the euro? Markets say yes, within 3 years.

There has been mounting speculation that Greece's economic woes will cause a breakup in the eurozone, the group of countries that share the euro as their currency. Like elections and sporting events, the online markets allow people to place bets on the likelihood that this will happen, giving us a means of predicting the odds.

Presently, the markets place an 83 percent likelihood on the odds that a country leaves the eurozone by 2015, adopting its own currency instead. Greece is the most likely country to cause this breakup, with Italy ranking a distant second:

The reason observers are so confident that Greece will leave the eurozone is easy to explain.

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have demanded that Greece adopt severe austerity measures as a condition for staying in the eurozone. The current government has implemented them, a move that correlates with Greece moving ever deeper into recession. Unemployment in the country is edging above 20 percent. Now more than a quarter of Greeks consider themselves "suffering."

According to the latest rumors, Greece will hold a parliamentary election in May. The current government, a coalition between the Socialist Movement and the conservative New Democracy party, is likely to lose its majority given such widespread displeasure with its policies. The coalition parties are expected to loose nearly half of their seats, giving them 47 percent, down from 84 percent of the parliament.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 01, 2012, 09:54:14 am
Papademos: Can't rule out third Greek bailout
30 March 2012, Frankfurt (MarketWatch)

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Friday said the country was working to ensure it won't need a third bailout but said the potential need for further aid couldn't be ruled out, news reports said.

"Some form of financial assistance might be necessary but we have to work intensely to avoid such an event," Papademos told Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper, according to Reuters.

The prime minister said exiting the euro would be a disaster.

"The return of the drachma would trigger high inflation, exchange instability and a fall in the real value of bank deposits," he said, according to the report.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 05, 2012, 09:51:40 am

Greek suicide a potent symbol before election


ATHENS (Reuters) - A Greek pensioner's suicide outside parliament has quickly become a symbol of the pain of austerity and has been seized upon by opponents of the budget cuts imposed by Greece's international lenders.

The 77-year-old retired pharmacist, Dimitris Christoulas, shot himself in the head on Wednesday after saying that financial troubles had pushed him over the edge. A suicide note said he preferred to die than scavenge for food.

The highly public - and symbolic - nature of the suicide prompted an outpouring of sympathy from Greeks, who set up an impromptu shrine where he killed himself with hand-written notes condemning the crisis. Some protested at night, clashing with riot police who sent them home in clouds of tear gas.

On Thursday, dozens of Greeks gathered around the shrine, leaving flowers and candles, and the "Indignant" protesters who held daily sit-ins for months last year said they would hold a second day of protests. A separate protest was planned in the northern city of Thessaloniki.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 11, 2012, 09:29:50 am

Greece offers "cop-for-hire" service to raise cash
Reuters – Tue, Apr 10, 2012.

ATHENS (Reuters) - In a bid to raise cash, Greek police are offering a 30 euro ($39) per hour "cop-for-hire" scheme for private companies or citizens seeking protection at special events.
Police said the service was provided only under special circumstances, such as cases of high-security risk, and that revenues would be used to fund police equipment and boost the state budget. It used to be available for free before a debt crisis hit the country.
"We will provide these services only in exceptional cases and only if we have the available assets and staff. We'll first make sure that no citizen is deprived of police protection," police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis said on Tuesday.
Hiring a police officer for an hour costs 30 euros, according to the law, which has entered into force. A police vehicle escort, for example for the transfer of art works or other sensitive material, will cost an additional 40 euros per hour and a motorcycle escort 20 euros.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 11, 2012, 05:47:08 pm


Greece calls May 6 poll that may create stalemate

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece called a snap election for next month on Wednesday, launching a campaign that may produce no clear winner and threaten implementation of the international bailout plan that saved the nation from bankruptcy.
Prime Minister Lucas Papademos announced the May 6 date after meeting the president and his interim cabinet, which he said had done its job by securing the bailout and a landmark debt restructuring last month.
"Greece is in the middle of a difficult path," he said in a televised address to the nation. "The choices we make will not only determine which government will be formed after the election but Greece's course in decades to come."
Papademos, a former central banker called in last year when a socialist government collapsed, told his ministers he hoped a new parliament, which must pass a slew of tough reforms to secure payments under the bailout, would convene by May 17.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 12, 2012, 01:15:30 pm

Greek unemployment hits 21.8 percent

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's unemployment rate increased to 21.8 percent in January, with nearly 350,000 people losing their jobs in the past year while the debt-strapped country's economy remains stuck in recession.

The Greek Statistical Authority said Thursday that 1,084,668 people were out of work in the first month of 2012 — with 344,913 people losing their jobs since January 2011 — nearly 1,000 per day.

Greece is suffering a fifth year of recession, largely due to harsh austerity measures demanded in return for international bailout loans required to avoid default.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 16, 2012, 09:11:47 pm

Magnitude-5.5 Quake Jolts Southern Greece, No Injuries Reported

    2012-04-16 20:44:21     Xinhua       Web Editor: Li

A moderate earthquake measuring 5.5 magnitude on the Richter scale jolted southern Pelopponese in Greece on Monday noon, local media cited the Euromediterranean Seismic Institute as saying.

No injuries or major material damages have been reported by local authorities.

The epicenter of the quake was traced at a distance of some 19 kilometres off the coast of the city of Methoni at a depth of about 40 kilometres, according to seismologists. The tremor was felt in a major part of Pelopponese.

Earthquake-prone Greece is regularly hit by moderate tremors and catastrophic ones many times in recent years. The earthquake in 1999 measuring 6 degrees on the Richter scale in Athens caused many deaths and extensive damages.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 21, 2012, 05:55:39 pm
Greek Banks Post $37 Billion Losses on Debt Restructuring
20 April 2012, by Marcus Bensasson, Maria Petrakis and Natalie Weeks (Bloomberg)

Greece’s four biggest banks reported a combined loss of €27.9 billion ($36.9 billion) for last year after participating in the country’s debt exchange, the largest sovereign restructuring in history.

The four, including National Bank of Greece, EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA (EUROB), Alpha Bank SA and Piraeus Bank SA, said they wrote down about €25 billion in the combined value of their Greek government bond holdings.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is trying to finalize a plan to recapitalize Greek banks, which wrote down more than half the face value of their government bonds and posted an increase in bad loan ratios after five years of recession.

Greece’s bank- recapitalization body yesterday got €25 billion in a first tranche of funds, or half the total assigned for the purpose, as part of a second bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

“Recapitalization is a necessary prerequisite to securely finance the real economy and in particular small- and medium- sized enterprises,” Papademos said at a conference today.

“It is also a necessary precondition for reinforcing trust in our bank system.”


National Bank, the nation’s biggest lender, had a net loss of €12.3 billion for 2011 after a €406 million profit a year earlier, the Athens-based lender said in a statement today.

The average estimate from three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a loss of €9.29 billion.

EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA, the second-biggest lender, had a €5.51 billion loss after a €68 million profit in 2010 and Alpha Bank SA, the third biggest, lost €3.81 billion after an €86 million profit in 2010.

Piraeus Bank SA (TPEIR), the fourth largest, had a €6.3 billion loss

National Bank took €10.8 billion of post-tax impairments on Greek government bond holdings after writing down their value by 75%.

Eurobank wrote down €4.6 billion of government bonds after taxes and Alpha Bank €3.8 billion.

Piraeus wrote down €5.1 billion.

The IMF, EU and European Central Bank, the so-called troika of agencies overseeing the Greek financing, plan to help capitalize banks with incentives for private investors.

The goal is to bring core tier 1 capital to 9% of assets by the end of September.

“The whole plan for the future is really not clear because the conditions for the recapitalization are not clear,” Alpha Bank General Manager Artemis Theodoridis said in a telephone interview.

“What we found out in the last few days is that they will not be clear, at least the legal framework, before the elections,” he said. The country is due to hold general elections May 6.

Buyback Offer

Alpha Bank SA offered to buy back a nominal €1.58 billion of outstanding securities in a bid to boost its capital.

If completed, the offer would generate a gain for the group’s Core Tier 1 capital, which the bank reported at 3% for 2011.

National Bank (ETE), Eurobank and Piraeus Bank did not disclose what their Core Tier 1 ratios would be without support from the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, the state recapitalization body.

National Bank reported a Core Tier 1 capital ratio of 6.3% after an injection of €6.9 billion from the HFSF.

Agricultural Bank of Greece SA and TT Hellenic Postbank SA (TT), two state-controlled lenders, were granted extensions and will report earnings by May 31, the banks said in exchange filings.

The bank recapitalization plan includes incentives for private investment such as rights for shareholders to purchase the government’s stake and safeguards for buyers of convertible bonds, according an IMF report released March 16.

The HFSF will continue to hold voting rights in the event of strategic decisions related to the banks to avert the risk of asset stripping by investment funds, according to the report.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 24, 2012, 08:29:36 pm

EU bank offers non-euro payment to Greek firms


BRUSSELS (AP) — The taxpayer-funded European Investment Bank has started including a new legal clause in its contracts with Greek companies that allows them to repay loans in a currency other than the euro.

A spokeswoman for the bank denies that the move indicates that it is preparing for an eventual Greek exit from the euro.

Helen Kavvadia said the clause, used for the first time in a €70 million ($92 million) loan agreement with Greece's Public Power Corporation, allows the company to repay the loan in a different currency.

But she said that including these clauses was a new standard procedure that would also be applied in other countries. She couldn't say for which other countries it would be applied.

The EIB gives low-interest loans to companies in and around the EU.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 24, 2012, 08:57:49 pm


More grief for Greece as recession seen deeper

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's economy will contract a deeper than expected 5 percent this year, the country's central bank chief said on Tuesday, piling more pressure on to a citizenry already battered by crippling austerity and record joblessness.
The projection topped a previous forecast the central bank made in March, when it projected the 215 billion euro economy would contract 4.5 percent after a 6.9 percent slump in 2011.
Twice bailed-out Greece is in its fifth consecutive year of recession.
Speaking to shareholders at the central bank's annual assembly, George Provopoulos, also a European Central Bank Governing Council member, urged strict adherence to reform and fiscal adjustment commitments Greece has agreed with its euro zone partners, saying they were needed to return the economy to sustainable growth.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 25, 2012, 07:08:50 pm
There Goes Greek GDP: Nazional Lampoons Greek Vacation Just Got Cancelled
25 April 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)
As if the Greeks haven't suffered enough from Northern European actions (admittedly in response to their own actions), it seems the anti-German sentiment is keeping the wealthy tourists away from the beaches.
As Reuters notes today, 'German tourists are in short supply in Greece these days, frightened away by reports of visceral anti-German sentiment in some places'. 
Data for the main summer holiday season shows pre-bookings from Germany down by some 30%.
We guess the pictures of Molotov cocktails being thrown, city-wide strikes, and cardboard cities full of unemployed youths was too much but as one Greek tourist-shop-owner clarified
"They're not coming because of the problems. But we don't have a problem with German people, only their government."
Tourism - the one remaining possibility for Greece to drag themselves out of the quagmire (aside from olive oil and yoghurt) - is now under pressure as The Germans ("That's just the way Germans are: if there's trouble in some country, then Germans just don't go there on their holidays.") wage "an economic war against Greece".
Sadly the xenophobic and nationalist tensions are indeed rising (as we warned many times in the past - and suggest will be the ultimate undoing of the political compact in Europe) as the crisis had revived anti-German sentiment from World War Two that most thought had long since disappeared.
"The Greeks moved on and tried to forget, then this. If you ask me, Germany owes Greece billions for all the murders and war crimes. Germany should pay Greece what it owes."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 27, 2012, 10:08:10 am
Greece was not ready for euro
27 April 2012
Greece should not have joined the euro, a former head of the German central bank, who was central to eurozone policymaking at the time, has said.

But Ernst Welteke, who was Bundesbank president from 1999-2004, told the BBC that none of the eurozone's problems would be solved if Greece left.
He added there should be greater transfer of wealth from richer parts of the eurozone to poorer parts.
He said he was confident measures were in place to ensure the euro's survival.

"The euro is not in as big a danger as is often recorded," Mr Welteke told Business Daily on the BBC's World Service.
"The euro has been stable [for] 10 years, inside and outside the European Monetary Union (EMU)."

He said that, in hindsight, it was clear that Greece was not ready for the euro.
"We can say that Greece should not have joined the EMU, but that doesn't help."
He said Greece only accounts for 3% of the economic output of the eurozone, so "if Greece leaves the EMU then monetary union will still work."
"But I don't think Greece leaving will solve any problems."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 30, 2012, 02:22:48 pm

Greece opens detention camp for immigrants as election looms


ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece opened its first purpose-built detention centre for illegal migrants on Sunday in Athens, a week before a national election where illegal immigration has emerged as a key issue.
About 130,000 immigrants cross the country's porous sea and land borders every year, the vast majority via Turkey, and the authorities are forced to release those who are arrested because of a lack of permanent housing.
With Greece in its fifth year of recession and worries over rising crime levels, illegal immigration has become a major issue in the run up of the May 6 election.
The once-obscure far-right Golden Dawn, which wants to deport all immigrants, is among the parties that has benefitted most from the mood among voters, and is expected to win its first seats in parliament. **Golden Dawn party? Wasn't CS Lewis a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn?


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 04, 2012, 11:05:42 pm

Austerity-weary Greece faces electoral impasse


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — After more than two years of financial crisis, international bailouts, a huge debt writedown and Europe's harshest austerity program, Greek voters have been given a chance to hit back at the parties that got them into this mess.

This Sunday, an electorate fuming at repeated income cuts, tax hikes and rapidly rising unemployment is to vote in parliamentary elections. It's expected to abandon old political loyalties and give no party an outright majority. But this could well leave Greece without a government at the time when it needs it the most — and jeopardize the program of international bailouts the country depends on to secure its place in Europe.

After years of profligate government spending and dismal fiscal stewardship, in 2010 Greece was priced out of the international markets from which governments borrow. To keep the country afloat, it took two separate rescue loan agreements with its European partners and the International Monetary Fund worth more than €240 billion ($317 billion), and the biggest debt writedown in history that wiped more than €100 billion ($132 billion) off private investors' holdings.

To secure the bailouts, the Greek government had little choice but to agree to a harsh round of austerity measures that cut everything from wages to pensions and healthcare. It also had to promise to dismantle the protected trades that choked up the economy.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 05, 2012, 05:10:06 pm
Greek economic downturn falls on small business


May 5, 2012

Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips visits his old neighbourhood in Greece where residents will go to the polls on Sunday.

But, the vote comes as the country suffers through tough economic times with small businesses, once considered the lifeblood of the country, especially hard hit.

Pointing out a corridor of closed shops once familiar to him, our correspondent reports that almost a third of shops in Athens have closed in the economic downturn.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 06, 2012, 08:52:20 am


Angry Greeks vote in cliffhanger election
By Karolina Tagaris and Renee Maltezou | Reuters – 37 mins ago.

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greeks enraged by economic hardship voted on Sunday in a deeply uncertain election that could reignite Europe's debt crisis and throw into doubt the country's future in the euro zone.
At stake in the first general election since Greece detonated a wider European crisis at the end of 2009 is whether it will stick to the terms of a deeply unpopular EU/IMF bailout or start down a path that could take it out of the euro.
Leaders from all sides emphasized the importance of the vote for the future of Greece, which is suffering one of Europe's worst postwar recessions.
"We all agree that these elections are perhaps the most crucial and today each of us is deciding not only who will govern the country but also Greece's path for the next decades," said outgoing technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, as he cast his vote in Athens.
But many voters expressed their rage at the ruling parties.
"My vote was a protest vote because they cut my pension and there are more measures waiting for us around the corner," said 75-year-old pensioner Kalliopi, her fists clenched in anger.
"I live in a basement but pay the same (property) tax as someone who lives in a penthouse," said Kalliopi after voting in Athens.
Opinion polls indicate voters hit by record unemployment, collapsing businesses and steep wage cuts will return an unprecedented number of small parties opposed to austerity and punish conservative New Democracy and socialist PASOK, who have ruled for decades.
They are the only major parties backing bailouts that averted bankruptcy but caused grinding hardship.
The prospect that they will fail to win enough votes for a coalition government, despite finishing first and second, has raised the risk of a prolonged period of uncertainty as they seek allies from anti-bailout parties.
Papademos said he thought a new government could be formed this week.
International lenders and investors fear success for up to seven small parties opposed to the bailout could lead to Greece reneging on its bailout terms, risking a sovereign default and dragging the euro zone back into the worst crisis since its creation.
Euro zone paymaster Germany has warned there would be "consequences" to an anti-bailout vote and the EU and IMF insist whoever wins the election must stick to austerity if they want to receive the aid that keeps Greece afloat.
But many voters shrugged off such threats.
"I don't think that voting for a small party will make us go bankrupt. We already are," said 53 year-old Panagiotis, a craftsman, after voting for the conservative Independent Greeks.
At another polling station, 37-year-old computer technician Giannis Papadopoulos said: "I am outraged and I have been angry for 2-1/2 years. Today I voted for one of the small parties and the only thing I can tell them is please don't repeat the mistakes the others have made so far."
But some voters, like 60-year-old housewife Mary, saw the bailout as the only possible course.
"I voted for tough but necessary measures. I'm sorry to say it but their blackmail has worked in my case. What I expect is only disaster, there is no hope. I believe it can only get worse but at least we'll stay in Europe," she said.
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said the vote was the most crucial since the end of a military dictatorship in 1974, but he was booed as he left a polling station in Greece's second city of Thessaloniki.
Alexis Tsipras, Greece's youngest political leader and head of the small Left Coalition, told reporters:
"We are certain that the people will send a message to all of Europe for a change of course. There is no place for the barbarity of bailouts in our common European path and we are certain that the Greek people will turn the page."
Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) and will close at 7 p.m., with many voters deciding at the last minute.
The first indication of the result is expected in exit polls immediately after voting stations close, but it could take many more hours to get the final outcome or even a clear picture under a complex electoral system that gives a 50-seat bonus to the first party.
Pollsters say this is the most unpredictable election in decades, as the traditional left-right divide gives way to pro- or anti-bailout supporters.
"All our tools are based on a society that does not exist anymore," said Costas Panagopoulos, at ALCO pollsters. "We cannot exclude any scenario."
The anti-bailout parties are too divided to rule together and even if New Democracy and PASOK scrape enough votes to renew a fractious coalition they set up in November to clinch a second, 130 billion euros bailout, the government could be too weak to weather public anger for long.
"The risk is high that after the elections, no stable coalition can be formed which would be willing to implement the next budget cuts and reforms," Berenberg Bank said in a note.
It said if Greece did renege on its commitments, it would probably have to leave the euro, something most Greeks oppose.
The acid test will come fast: the new government must next month get parliament to approve over 11 billion euros in extra spending cuts for 2013 and 2014 in exchange for more aid.
With an economy which is forecast to shrink by another five percent in 2012, that will be a tough task in a newly hostile parliament.
If no party wins outright, the president will give the biggest group - likely to be New Democracy - three days to form a government. If it fails, the next largest group gets a chance and so on down the line. If they all fail, new polls would be called in about three weeks.
The Greek ballot could well steal the limelight from the expected election of Socialist Francois Hollande as president in France, where anger over economic pain has also played a leading role.
"The wild card is Greece, and markets are starting to get nervous about it," said Sassan Ghahramani, CEO of New York-based hedge fund advisers SGH Macro. "We could see peripheral bonds and the euro pressured on Monday."
(Additional reporting by Ingrid Melander, Lefteris Papadimas, Dina Kyriakidou and George Georgiopoulos.; Writing by Barry Moody,; editing by Mike Peacock)

Title: DEBTOCRACY: For the first time in Greece a documentary produced by the audience
Post by: Charrington on May 06, 2012, 05:23:00 pm

Title: Angry Greeks reject bailout, risk euro exit
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 06, 2012, 09:07:31 pm


ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek voters enraged by economic hardship caused by the terms of an international bailout turned on ruling parties in an election on Sunday, putting the country's future in the euro zone at risk and threatening to revive Europe's debt crisis.
The latest official results, with over 61 percent of the vote counted, showed the only two major parties supporting an EU/IMF program that keeps Greece from bankruptcy would be hard pressed to form a lasting coalition.
Conservative New Democracy and Socialist PASOK, who have dominated Greece for decades, were holding less than 35 percent of the vote. That would mean they might only scrape the 151-seat threshold needed for even the most fragile majority in parliament.
Once mighty PASOK looked set to be pushed into third place by the anti-bailout Left Coalition party, in a stunning vote against austerity policies that have caused deep hardship in one of Europe's worst postwar recessions.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 07, 2012, 02:27:21 pm
Splintered Vote Throws Greek Politics Further Into Confusion


ATHENS — A day after Greece’s two dominant parties collapsed at the polls, the leader of the center-right New Democracy party announced Monday that he had failed to form a governing coalition, pushing the mandate to the second party amid growing uncertainty about Greece’s political stability and staying power inside the euro zone.

“We did everything we could but it just wasn’t possible,” the leader, Antonis Samaras, said in a televised statement. Greek law gives the front-runner three days to form a government before the baton passes to the runner-up. But a party official told the private television channel Antenna that Mr. Samaras had “not wanted to waste time at such a crucial moment for the nation.”

President Karolos Papoulias is to meet with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the second party, the Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

If Mr. Tsipras fails to form a coalition, the Socialist leader, Evangelos Venizelos, has a try.

If he fails, the president of the republic summons the leaders of all parties in Parliament and tries to broker a broad coalition. If that also fails, the president appoints an interim government to bring the country to new elections in 30 days.

On Sunday, the traditionally dominant parties, New Democracy and the Socialists, which both backed Greece’s latest loan agreement with its foreign creditors, did not get enough of the combined vote to form a majority in Parliament. Several smaller parties, whose fortunes rose on a rich harvest of protest votes, refused to join in a coalition with the larger parties.

The lack of a government could cast Greece’s loan agreement with its foreign creditors into turmoil, with a $4.3 billion refinancing looming this month and a requirement from its lenders to cut $15 billion from the budget in June. Beyond a popular rejection of Europe’s austerity recipe for Greece, the election results also marked the end of a political era for the Socialists and New Democracy.

“The established parties were collapsed — they had too much pressure from Berlin and Brussels and the I.M.F.,” said Nikos Xydakis, an editor at the Kathimerini daily and a political commentator, referring to Greece’s troika of foreign lenders. “We were expecting that, but not so violently and so quick, but they broke everything.”

With New Democracy getting the biggest share of the votes — a modest 18.8 percent — Mr. Samaras had met with a range of political leaders, including the biggest winner of Sunday’s elections, Mr. Tsipras of Syriza. That party eclipsed the Socialists for the first time to place second with 16.78 percent of the vote. The formerly dominant Socialists took just 13.1 percent, its worse defeat since its founding.

Mr. Tsipras said the results showed that the signatures on the loan agreement had been discredited and that they were “not a salvation but a tragedy.” After meeting with Mr. Samaras, he said he would not join with New Democracy but would seek to form a coalition “chiefly of forces of the left” that oppose the bailout terms, like his party does. That may prove difficult since the Communist Party, which received 8.48 percent of the vote, has said it will refuse to join any coalition.

The far-right, ultranationalist Golden Dawn party, whose members perform Nazi salutes at rallies and who routinely scuffle with illegal immigrants in downtown Athens, received 7 percent of the vote, enough to enter Parliament for the first time, with 21 seats.

After Mr. Venizelos met with Mr. Samaras, he called for a government of national unity whose “minimum goal” would be to keep Greece in the euro zone.

Mr. Venizelos, who was finance minister when Greece negotiated its second loan agreement in February, called for a four-party coalition to be led by a prime minister accepted by all sides, and who would renegotiate the terms of the loan agreement.

Mr. Venizelos suggested that the coalition be composed of New Democracy, the Socialists, Syriza and the Democratic Left, which was founded in 2010 by Fotis Kouvelis, a former Syriza member, as a more centrist offshoot. After his meeting with Mr. Samaras on Monday, however, Mr. Kouvelis ruled out joining a coalition with New Democracy and the Socialists, noting that his party had not changed its pre-election goals of ensuring that Greece remains in the euro zone, though under a new debt deal with its creditors.

But Mr. Kouvelis still could be the kingmaker, leaving the door open to a possible coalition with Mr. Tsipras. “We will wait to hear a precise and clear proposal, then we will comment,” he said.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 07, 2012, 09:16:15 pm

People of Greece Shake Europe

Costos Lapavitsas: The growing strength of the left shows the Greek people are getting ready to leave the Eurozone

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 08, 2012, 12:28:52 pm
Are Greece and Germany getting ready to leave Euro?
Germany has a plan B to ditch the euro, which they will benefit from, without the risk of holding the bag when the euro fails.

Greece is not ready to leave the euro zone

Should Greece ditch the euro and return to the drachma.
Greece banking system would collapse, inflation would explode and contagion could even kill the entire euro edifice.
The benefits of re-gaining control of its currency, such as increased competitiveness, would outweigh the costs of leaving the euro zone and defaulting on its debt.

Greek election: Far-left seeks anti-austerity coalition
8 May 2012  The leader of Greece far-left is to try to form a government after parties backing an international bailout deal failed to assemble a coalition.
Alexis Tsipras aims to put together a cabinet that will reject austerity measures imposed as part of the deal.
Voters in Greece, France and Italy voted in favour of anti-austerity candidates this week.
Hollande will seek an alternative to austerity.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said austerity measures were not negotiable.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 09, 2012, 12:25:07 am

Germans warns Greece: no cuts, no aid


BERLIN (Reuters) - Leading German politicians warned Greece on Tuesday that the country would not receive a cent more aid unless it fulfills all the conditions of its international bailout.

An election on Sunday in Greece failed to deliver a parliamentary majority for the two big pro-bailout parties, plunging the country into political limbo and increasing the risk that another vote may be required to resolve the impasse.

On Tuesday, the leader of the Left Coalition party, which benefited from rising anger over austerity to take second place in Sunday's poll, declared Greece's policy pledges under its EU/IMF rescue null and void.

As Europe's largest economy, Germany has contributed the biggest share of the financial guarantees under Greece's bailout, which is paid out in installments on the condition that Athens meets specific savings goals.

"The agreements must be respected. I don't think we can or should renegotiate," said Martin Schulz, a German politician and president of the European Parliament, on a visit to Berlin.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 10, 2012, 11:20:15 pm
As New Greek Bonds Tumble To All Time Lows, Is Greece About To Re-Default In 5 Days? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/new-greek-bonds-tumble-all-time-lows-greece-about-re-default-5-days

Popcorn Time.

Greece’s Jobless Soar By 42% As Unemployment Rises To Record, Industrial Collapse Accelerates http://www.zerohedge.com/news/greeces-jobless-soar-42-unemployment-rises-record-industrial-collapse-accelerates

Excerpt from: Bankia: The Failed Bank In The Coalmine http://www.zerohedge.com/news/bankia-failed-bank-coalmine

Greece-The Situation Grows Perilous: I pointed out that the total debts of this country stood at $1.1 trillion and, since then, have gotten bigger even after the PSI took place.

In fact, Greece borrowed $130 billion to pay off $105 billion and the ECB/EIB and the IMF refused to take the hits.

Now just the country, the sovereign, owes $517 billion to various parties both public and private which is not only an astronomical number for a country of this size, about the same as the total GDP of Switzerland,

but one that cannot be paid back by any stretch of anyone’s imagination.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 10, 2012, 11:22:35 pm
Taylor: “Greece will be out of money in June – Greece will exit euro this summer”
FX Concepts’ Tyler on Greece Debt Crisis, May 8 http://www.bloomberg.com/video/92198239/

May 8 (Bloomberg) — John Taylor, founder and chief executive officer of FX Concepts LLC, talks about Greece’s debt crisis and a potential exit from the Euro.

Taylor, speaking with Erik Schatzker and Sara Eisen on Bloomberg Television’s “InsideTrack,” also talks about the outlook for the U.S. dollar.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Greek Left Coalition Leaders Says Bailout Accord “Null And Void”, Demands Greek Debt Moratorium http://www.zerohedge.com/news/greek-left-coalition-leaders-says-bailout-accord-null-and-void

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 11, 2012, 04:13:01 pm

Greece hurtles towards new election; hard left leads
By George Georgiopoulos and Renee Maltezou | Reuters – 1 hr 47 mins ago

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's politicians failed on Friday to agree a new government, sending the country hurtling towards a new vote, with radical leftists leading in the polls and poised to scrap the 130 billion euro bailout that staved off bankruptcy.
The prospect of a new election just weeks after an inconclusive vote that paralyzed the most troubled country in the euro zone caused havoc in financial markets.
The European single currency hit its lowest point since January near $1.29, while the Athens stock exchange fell more than 4 percent to its lowest level since 1992.
Outgoing finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, leader of the Socialist PASOK party, acknowledged his failure to form a government after he was spurned by radical leftist Alexis Tsipras, who has sworn to tear up the bailout.
"The moment of truth is here. I will inform the president tomorrow afternoon. I hope everybody shows maturity and responsibility in consultations with the president," he said.
President Karolos Papoulias will now have a last chance to meet with all political leaders to convince them to agree a cabinet, although the odds of success are seen as scant. If he fails as expected, he must call a new election for mid-June.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 12, 2012, 12:14:01 pm

Greece lurches towards new vote, hard left leads


(Reuters) - Greece's president summoned party leaders on Saturday for one final attempt to avert new elections, but the effort looked doomed to fail after politicians deeply divided over austerity plans said they would stick to their guns.
Greece's political landscape is in disarray a week after an election left parliament almost equally divided between parties backing and opposing an EU/IMF bailout that keeps Athens afloat in return for pledges of deep spending cuts and tax hikes.
If President Karolos Papoulias fails in a final attempt to persuade leaders to form a coalition, he will have to call a new vote in June. Opinion polls predict the balance of power would tip decisively towards the bailout's radical leftist opponents, potentially jeopardizing Greece's membership in the euro zone.
Papoulias called the leaders of the three biggest parties for coalition talks on Sunday at 0900 GMT, after Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos became the third and last of them to acknowledge he had failed to assemble a coalition.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 12, 2012, 04:49:30 pm
Greece must ‘obey or get off euro train’ - EU
12 May 2012, by Vladimir Kremlev (RT News)

Top EU officials have decreed Greece should leave the eurozone if unable to stick to the austerity measures imposed by European creditors.

The political crisis in Athens is making this scenario not altogether impossible.

­The parliamentary elections in Greece on May 6 ended with no political party gaining the majority of seats needed to form a government.

Now it appears that their hopes of forming a ruling coalition are falling apart like a card-castle.

President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso told Italy’s SkyTG24 TV channel that since Greece is unable to fulfill its financial obligations towards the EU, it should leave the eurozone.

Barroso compared the single currency to a club, the rules of which are binding for members.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 12, 2012, 07:49:06 pm


Greece's Left Coalition turns down Socialist offer

ATHENS (Reuters) - The leader of Greece's anti-bailout Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party on Friday said he would not join a national unity government with Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos, who has been holding talks with various parties in a bid to form a coalition.
"It is not the Left Coalition that has refused this proposal, but the Greek people who did so with their vote on Sunday," leader Alexis Tsipras said after talks with Venizelos.



Greece's anti-bailout leftists lead in polls

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's radical leftist SYRIZA party has gained support since Sunday's inconclusive election to become the most popular party, but backing for the anti-bailout group is falling, the second opinion poll since the vote showed on Saturday.
The main pro-bailout parties, conservative New Democracy and socialist PASOK, were gaining support, according to the poll by Metron Analysis for the Epenenditis weekly.
Greece's political landscape is in disarray after voters humiliated the only parties backing an international bailout keeping the country afloat, leaving no bloc with enough seats to form a government to secure the next tranche of aid.
Backing for SYRIZA stood at 25.5 percent - almost 9 points up on its Sunday result, but down from 27.7 percent in the previous poll on May 10. New Democracy gained slightly, rising to 21.7 percent from 20.3 percent, while PASOK came third with 14.6 percent, up from 12.6 percent.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 13, 2012, 01:19:44 pm

Greece Exit, Euro-Zone Collapse, Spain and Portugal Will Follow Within 6 Months
Interest-Rates / Eurozone Debt CrisisMay 12, 2012 - 10:30 AM
By: Nadeem_Walayat

This analysis continues on from my last article in light of the recent French and Greek elections where voters rejected economic austerity in favour of money printing Inflation stealth debt default as politically an smoke and mirrors Inflationary depression is being seen as far more palatable for populations than a deflationary depression slow motion economic collapse. However to be able to print money inline with the true state of the respective competitiveness of euro-zone economies, then these countries governments have no choice but to exit the euro-zone, or be forced out as they one by one fail to follow through on agreed austerity measures.

Greece Slow Motion Economic Collapse in Progress
What may be lost in the noise that is the mainstream press is the fact that Greece has not been in a recession or even a depression, Greece has been in a state of slow motion economic collapse on the scale of past economic collapses such as that of Argentina but so far without the ability to default, devalue and inflate.

As the below graph illustrates that following the financial crisis of 2008, Greece had been following a similar economic trend trajectory to that of most western economies including that of the UK, US and Germany, however the real crisis began in late 2009 when the economic recovery from the pit of the Great Recession of 2008-2009 evaporated and the Greek economy began a slow motion collapse that has so far seen Greek GDP in real terms contract by 16% since the 2008 peak, with no end in sight Unlike the V shape of the more regular debt default economic collapses such as that of Argentina's of 2001 and more recently Iceland.


Title: Greece will run out of money in 6 weeks, warns deputy prime minister
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 13, 2012, 01:25:57 pm


Greece will run out of money soon, warns deputy prime minister

Greece's deputy prime minister has said the country will run out of money in six weeks unless it honours its bitterly-disputed EU bailout deal.

Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Telegraph, Theodoros Pangalos said he was "very much afraid of what is going to happen" after Greek voters rejected the deal in elections last Sunday.

"The majority of the people voted for a very strange mental construction," he said. "We want to be in the EU and the euro, but we don't want to pay anything for the past."
The main beneficiary of the election, the hard-Left Syriza coalition, came a startling second on a promise to tear up the deal, which promises EU loans to keep massively-indebted Greece afloat, but demands crippling spending cuts in return. Germany, the principal lender, has said it will stop payments if Greece breaks its promises on spending.
Mr Pangalos warned: "There is a school of thought that says the Germans are bluffing. They need Greece and will never throw us out of the eurozone. But what will happen, which is almost certain, is they will not give us the money to pay our debts.
"We will be in wild bankruptcy, out-of-control bankruptcy. The state will not be able to pay salaries and pensions. This is not recognised by the citizens. We have got until June before we run out of money.

Title: Greek government talks turn ugly
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 13, 2012, 01:27:21 pm


Athens, Greece (CNN) -- Greek politicians traded insults and accusations Sunday following an effort by President Karolos Papoulias to broker a coalition government, increasing the possibility of new elections in the debt-stricken country.
Papoulias called together the leaders of the three biggest parties on Sunday, a week after indecisive elections and three failed attempts to form a government.
After the meeting, the leader of the radical leftist Syriza coalition said other parties wanted Syriza to be their "partners in crime," adding: "We can't do that."
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras suggested the two other largest parties, New Democracy and PASOK, were going to form a coalition with a smaller group, the Democratic Left.


Title: Re: Greek government talks turn ugly
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 13, 2012, 01:45:34 pm


Greece mired in crisis cabinet talks

Emergency Greek cabinet talks yielded no clear progress on Sunday, raising the prospect of new elections that could scupper reforms and drive the country out of the eurozone.
President Carolos Papoulias held a day of last-ditch meetings with political leaders amid mounting threats of a loan freeze should Greece falter on promised structural reforms.
Papoulias initially met for 90 minutes with the heads of the three parties that topped last Sunday's inconclusive election -- conservative New Democracy, socialist Pasok, and radical left Syriza.
He was to meet with leaders of smaller parties later in the day.
If a cabinet cannot be formed by Thursday, when parliament convenes, new elections will have to be called in June.


Title: EU central bankers ponder Greece euro exit
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 13, 2012, 02:08:23 pm


European central bankers have been openly expressing views on the possibility of Greece leaving the eurozone as its leaders struggle to form a government.

Germany's top banker said it was up to the Greeks to decide, but if they did not keep to their bailout commitments, they would receive no new aid.

His counterpart in the Irish Republic said a Greek exit would be damaging but not necessarily fatal to the euro.

Greece is to make a final attempt at forming a government on Sunday.


Title: Greek efforts for coalition founder
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 13, 2012, 02:14:20 pm


Greek president's efforts for coalition founder; socialist leader says still limited optimism

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Critical last-ditch talks to form a coalition government in crisis-struck Greece foundered once more Sunday, leading the country one step closer to new elections, although the socialist party leader said he retained "existing but limited' optimism for a deal.

The political uncertainty has alarmed the international creditors who have given Greece billions of euros in bailout loans over the past two years, and has thrown the country's continued presence in the European Union's joint currency into serious doubt.

President Karolos Papoulias convened the heads of the parties that came in the top three spots in last Sunday's inconclusive elections, in an ultimate effort to broker an agreement after a week of talks led to deadlock.

The meeting ended without a solution. Papoulias also met later Sunday evening individually with the leaders of smaller parties that made it into parliament. Those included the extremist right-wing Golden Dawn, whose head, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, caused a furor by giving a fascist salute during an Athens city council meeting last year. The party won 7 percent of the vote in the elections.

Voters furious at the handling of Greece's financial crisis and two years of harsh austerity measures taken in return for billions of euros in international bailout loans punished the formerly dominant socialist PASOK and conservative New Democracy parties in the elections. The two saw their support crumble to the lowest point in decades, while Radical Left Coalition, or Syriza, made big gains to come in second place after campaigning on an anti-bailout platform.

The PASOK and New Democracy leaders could form a coalition with the smaller Democratic Left party of Fotis Kouvelis — combined they would have 168 seats in the 300-member parliament. New Democracy won 18.9 percent last Sunday while PASOK garnered just 13.2 percent, compared to nearly 44 percent in the last elections in 2009. Kouvelis' 6.1 percent put him in a kingmaker position, with 19 seats.

But all three insist any power-sharing deal must include Syriza, led by the 38-year-old Alexis Tsipras, given its strong showing at the ballot box.

Tsipras, however, insists he cannot join or even lend his support to a government that will continue implementing the terms of Greece's international bailout. In return for euro240 billion in rescue loans from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, Greece has imposed severe spending cuts, including slashing pensions and salaries in the public sector, and repeated rounds of tax hikes. The measures have left Greece mired in a fifth year of deep recession, with unemployment spiraling above 21 percent.

"The three parties that have agreed on a two-year government in order to apply (the bailout) have 168 seats in parliament," Tsipras said after the meeting. "Let them go ahead. Their demand that Syriza participate come what may in their own agreement is senseless and unprecedented."

Tsipras insists the terms of the bailout must be cancelled. PASOK head Evangelos Venizelos, who spent nine months handling the crisis as finance minister, and conservative leader Antonis Samaras, say that position is irresponsible and will force Greece out of the euro. Although Sunday's meeting convened by the president with the three top party leaders was inconclusive, Venizelos said that "I retain some limited but existing optimism that a government can be formed."

Samaras appeared more pessimistic.

"I made every effort for the cooperation of all," he said. "Syriza didn't listen to the mandate of the Greek people and does not accept not only the formation of a viable government, but not even the tolerance of a government which would in fact undertake to renegotiate the terms of the (bailout) and the loan agreement."

Tsipras, however, stuck to his position, insisting that supporting a pro-bailout government would be a betrayal of his pre-election platform.

"After today's meeting it is obvious they are demanding that Syriza become an accessory to a crime," he said after the discussions with the president. "In the name of democracy, of our patriotic duty, we cannot accept this shared guilt. We call on all Greeks to condemn once and for all the forces of the past and to realize that only one hope remains: unity against blackmail in order to prevent the continuing barbarity.

"Fellow Greeks, we can assure you of one thing: we will not betray you."

Tsipras will also have his eye on recent opinion polls which show his party would gain strength if Greeks go to the ballot box again next month.

A poll published by To Vima newspaper Sunday indicated Syriza would come first in new elections with 20.5 percent of the vote — less than the 28 percent an earlier opinion poll published Thursday gave him, but still well ahead of New Democracy. Although it would not be enough to form a government, it would put him in the dominant position to form a coalition with smaller anti-bailout parties.

To Vima's poll, carried out by Kappa Research, showed New Democracy in second place with 18.1 percent and PASOK losing yet more votes to reach 12.2 percent. The poll was carried out on May 9 and 10, and had a margin of error of 3.09 percentage points.

Attention Sunday night was focused on the president's meeting with Kouvelis.

Papoulias' mediation to broker a deal could in theory continue until May 17, the scheduled opening date for the new parliament, although they are expected to end sooner. If no agreement is reached, Greece will have to hold new elections next month, most likely on June 10th or 17th.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 14, 2012, 09:48:41 pm
Merkel tells Greece to back cuts or face euro exit



Greece may be forced to leave the euro if the country refuses to implement spending cuts agreed with the European Union, Angela Merkel warned.
Raising the spectre of a Greek exit, the German chancellor said “solidarity for the euro” was threatened by the ongoing political crisis in Athens.
Stock markets around the world fell sharply with fears mounting that a euro break-up could lead to renewed financial turmoil. The FTSE-100 index of Britain’s major companies fell by two per cent to 5465, with bank shares hit particularly hard.
The cost of Spanish government borrowing also hit a record high since the single currency was introduced because of concerns that the crisis will spread.
Today, François Hollande, the new French president, will be sworn in and, in an indication of the concern gripping Europe, will almost immediately travel to Berlin to hold talks with Mrs Merkel that will be dominated by Greece’s plight.
Attempts to form a new government in Athens have been thwarted for the past nine days, although the country’s president will meet all major parties this afternoon to discuss the forming of a “technocratic” administration rather than a coalition.
An outgoing Greek minister warned that the country could descend into “civil war” amid the chaos of a euro exit. “If Greece cannot meet its obligations and serve its debt the pain will be great,” Michalis Chrysohoidis was quoted as telling a local radio station. “What will prevail are armed gangs with Kalashnikovs and which one has the greatest number of Kalashnikovs will count … we will end up in civil war.”


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 15, 2012, 08:50:27 am
Euro Officials Begin to Weigh Greek Exit as Euro Weakens (Update 1)
14 May 2012, by Patrick Donahue (Bloomberg)


"We’re really getting to a denouement,” Michael O’Sullivan, head of portfolio strategy at Credit Suisse Private Banking, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview.

“We’re getting to the part where a decision has to be made” on whether Greece leaves the 17-nation currency union, he said.

Euro finance ministers meeting today in Brussels may discuss the bailout for Greece, as well as the situation in Spain, where the government last week made a fourth attempt to clean up banks.

Getting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to weaken her demand that debt cutting be the core of the crisis response will be a key objective of new French President Francois Hollande when the two meet tomorrow in Berlin.

The euro fell for the 10th day in 11, weakening 0.4% to $1.2872 at noon in Brussels, the lowest in three months.

Bonds in Italy and Spain tumbled, with Spanish 10-year yields climbing to more than 6.2% today for the first time since Dec. 1.

Each country’s spread against German 10-year notes jumped by more than 30 basis points.

Title: BREAKING NEWS: Bank Run in Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 15, 2012, 03:45:51 pm

Greeks Withdraw Nearly $1 Billion From Local Banks

Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS: Bank Run in Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 15, 2012, 05:33:41 pm

Stocks Post Loss on Greece, S&P at 3-Month Low
Published: Tuesday, 15 May 2012 | 5:16 PM ET

Stocks faded in the final hour of trading Tuesday to finish lower following news that Greek depositors withdrew 700 million euros from the nation's banking system and after Greece's leaders failed to agree on a coalition government.

The S&P 500 closed at 3-month lows, while the Dow logged its ninth loss in the last 10 sessions. Major averages are on pace for their biggest monthly losses since last September.

According to a transcript, Greek depositors recently withdrew 700 million euros from the nation's local banks, said President Karolos Papoulias, though the exact timing of the transfer was unclear.

"I think people need to prepare for the eventual removal of Greece from the EU and investors are getting ahead of that before they're forced to," said Matthew McCormick, vice president and portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel on CNBC's "Closing Bell." "It's a political market and an event-driven market."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 63.35 points, or 0.50 percent, to close at 12,632.00, led by Hewlett-Packard [HPQ  22.40    -0.565  (-2.46%)   ] and Home Depot [HD  48.67    -1.21  (-2.43%)   ].

The S&P 500 declined 7.69 points, or 0.57 percent, to end at 1,330.66. The Nasdaq erased 8.82 points, or 0.30 percent, to finish at 2,893.76.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, briefly spiked above 22.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 15, 2012, 06:30:37 pm

Title: Majority Of Neo-Normal Greek Cops Vote Neo-N@zi
Post by: Charrington on May 15, 2012, 10:09:04 pm
Majority Of Neo-Normal Greek Cops Vote Neo-****

In case anyone was wondering why such a fuss was made about a few far left and far right parties gaining ground in the Greek elections, here is the leader of the Greek Golden Dawn party - treating us to his world view. No commentary necessary.


In a somewhat stunning revelation, especially after our earlier note on the Golden Dawn leader's 'position' on the issues of the day, GreekReporter notes via the news paper To Vima, that more than half of all police officers in Greece voted for pro-**** party Golden Dawn in the elections of May 6th. It's not really for us to judge (well maybe it is) but when some polling stations report Golden Dawn receiving 19-24% of the votes, things are going from the dismal to the horrific (and potentially chaotic) very fast.


ANSAmed: Greece: More than half police officers voted Neo**** party

    Upsetting result revealed by newspaper "To Vima"


    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, MAY 11 - More than half of all police officers in Greece voted for pro-**** party Chrysi Avgi' (Golden Dawn) in the elections of May 6. This is the disconcerting result of an analysis carried out by the authoritative newspaper To Vima (TheTribune) in several constituencies in Athens, where 5,000 police officers in service in the Greek capital also cast their ballot.


    At some polling stations Chrysi Avgi' obtained 19 to 24% of votes.


    Others, like Agios Panteleimonas and Kypseli, traditional strongholds of the party, reached 15 to 18%. According to the newspaper, at the 11 polling stations (from 806 to 816) located near the police station (Ellas), Chrysi Avgi' received most votes, reaching 18.64% at station 813 and 23.67% at number 816.


    Other polling stations situated at a short distance from the ones mentioned before, where police officers do not vote, recorded 12-14% of votes for the Golden Dawn party.


    Moreover, the four polling stations located near the riot police station (MAT), used by the police, recorded percentages between 13 and 19 for Chrysi Avgi'.


    These figures, To Vima underlines, are impressive, considering the fact that other polling stations close to the riot police station reached 7-10% of votes for the pro-**** party. Based on the electoral lists, 550 to 700 people have voted at each of these voting stations, of which 20 to 30% police officers. This means, the newspaper worked out, that 45 to 59% of police officers have voted for Chrysi Avgi'. (ANSAmed).


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 15, 2012, 10:41:34 pm
Greece has a Golden Dawn party? Isn't there a secret society by the name of the Order of the Golden Dawn, which CS Lewis was a member of?

Guess none of this comes as no surprise - either way, look how elections have swayed in recent years all over the world. Yes, they are all rigged, but they are considerably less "conservative" voting. Gone are the so-called Reagan/Thatcher "conservative revolutions".

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 15, 2012, 10:46:54 pm
It's Official: Greece To Pay May 15 Bond Maturity
15 May 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Earlier, we reported on media speculation that this was a done deal. We now get confirmation.



In other words, just as Zero Hedge predicted in January, non-Greek law bondholders, who did not comply with the PSI, had all the leverage.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 16, 2012, 09:27:35 am

Judge to lead Greece to fateful June 17 vote

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece put a senior judge in charge of an emergency government on Wednesday to lead it to new elections on June 17 and bankers sought to calm public fears after the president said political chaos risked causing panic and a run on deposits.
European leaders who once denied vociferously that they were fretting over Greece leaving their currency union have given up pretence. Asked if he was concerned about a Greek exit, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said simply: "No comment".
Greeks have been withdrawing hundreds of millions of euros from banks in recent days as the prospect of the country being forced out of the European Union's common currency zone seems ever more real - although there has so far been no sign of a run on bank branches in Athens.
Political leaders failed to form a government following an inconclusive parliamentary election on May 6, leaving the state with its coffers almost empty and no elected cabinet in place to satisfy lenders it deserves the money needed to stay afloat.


Title: Debt crisis: Greek euro exit looms closer as banks crumble
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 16, 2012, 02:44:41 pm

A tsunami of capital flight from Greece threatens to overwhelm the authorities, forcing the country out of the euro before fresh elections in June.


Economists warned that the Greek financial system could crumble within weeks or days unless the European Central Bank steps up support.
President Karolos Papoulias told party leaders that banks had lost €700m in withdrawals on Monday alone as citizens rush to pre-empt capital controls and a much-feared return to the Drachma.
He cited central bank warnings that "great fear" might soon escalate to panic. The leaked details lend credence to claims that capital flight by both savers and firms have reached €4bn a week since the triumph of anti-bailout parties on May 6.
Steen Jakobsen from Danske Bank said outflows are becoming unstoppable, not helped by open talk in EU circles of `technical’ plans for Greek withdrawal.
"This has a self-fulfilling prophecy built into it and I don’t think we can get to June. The fuse is burning and the only two options now are a controlled explosion where Germany steps in to ensure an orderly exit, or an uncontrolled explosion," he said.


Title: Is This What a Run on Greek Banks Looks Like?
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 16, 2012, 06:20:41 pm



In the last few weeks, market analysts have ratcheted up fears about a run on Greek banks. Now, some experts say those fears are beginning to materialize.
Photographs of Greek citizens pulling cash from ATMs were captured today and yesterday by Reuters and Russian Market following an announcement by Greek Central bank head George Provopoulos that Greeks pulled 700 million euros ($891 million) from the country's banks on Monday. Does that huge sum equate to a run on the banks? It depends who you ask.

 This is the beginning of a run on banks. Zero Hedge blogger Tyler Durden fears the worst as he passes along pictures of ATM lines in Greece. "A Greek banking system which is now virtually shut out of any extrenal funding except for the ELA, where it has a few billions euros in access left, will be unable to deal with hundreds of millions in deposit outflows," he writes. "This may be the beginning of the end for Greece, just as Buiter and later JPM warned over the weekend." Similarly, Z6Mag editor Allan Soldner says the withdrawals this week show the first sings of a run, noting yesterday that the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq all ended down, along with the precious metals market. "ATM lines are often the hysteria that starts the ball rolling even worse in any bank run because people walking by start asking if they should be doing the same."
 This isn't a run on banks but it's scary. Crunching some numbers, Financial Times blogger Joseph Cotterill latches onto an FT report that says Athens bankers have voiced conern about a continued "outflow of deposits of more than 5bn since May 6." Conveying the severity of the withdrawals, he says "That would work out at an average of €700m per business day, up to May 15." Still, Cotterill is more surprised that these kinds of withdrawals haven't happened sooner. "The amazing thing about the Greek banking system since 2009 is not just the 25 to 30 per cent of deposits that have left, but the 70-75 per cent which have stayed."
Meanwhile, Greece's president Karolos Papoulias has taken a similar tone in that the withdrawals are frightening but not a sign of mass panic. "Of course there’s no panic but there’s great fear which can evolve into panic,” the president said. Not the most reassuring words but I guess that's how they do business in Greece.
 Things don't seem to be that bad. While quoting experts who say the risk of a bank run is "a very serious problem," Bloomberg's Natalie Weeks and Maria Petrakis downplay the idea of a mass panic in Greece. "Banks in downtown in Athens were open as normal today with no signs of unusual activity," they report. "Deposits by businesses and households held in Greek banks stood at 165.4 billion euros in March ... In 2011, deposits declined 35.4 billion euros, or 17 percent." Corroborating that view, a woman in Greece told MSNBC she had withdrawn 85 percent of "what's left" in her bank account but didn't notice lines when she did. "There are no lines to withdraw money, but maybe that's because many Greeks have precious little left in the bank," she said. "Many have been surviving on [$500] 400 euros a month, which has to cover tax, bills, food and medical costs."..

Title: Greece to hold new elections on June 17: reports
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 16, 2012, 07:04:48 pm
Greece to hold new elections on June 17: reports
16 May 2012, by Kim Hjelmgaard - London (MarketWatch)

Greece is to stage a repeat of its divisive May 6 election on June 17, according to media reports.

Reuters, citing a source from the Democratic Left party, said that Greek leaders have also appointed Panos Kammenos, of the Independent Greeks party, as the nation's caretaker prime minister pending the vote.

Russia Today, on Twitter, also reported that the election would be held in mid-June, citing Greek state TV.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 17, 2012, 12:34:49 pm

UK's David Cameron: Greece Is On The Brink, Survival Of The Euro In Question


MANCHESTER, England, May 17 (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron urged Europe's rulers on Thursday to do more to quell the euro zone debt crisis and raised the prospect of a Greek default to argue he must stick to his unpopular attempt to cut spending and reduce debt at home.

Warning that the survival of the euro was now in question, Cameron showed growing alarm and frustration that the crisis was spinning out of control, threatening Britain's $2.5 trillion economy and his own electoral prospects in 2015.

"Greece is on the brink, the survival of the euro in question," Cameron told business leaders on a grey and damp morning in the northern English city of Manchester.

"Faced with this, I have a clear task: to keep Britain safe. Not to take the easy course - but the right course," he added.

Echoing the words of Bank of England Governor Mervyn King, Cameron said the crisis in the European Union - Britain's biggest trading partner - had lasted more than two years but the "storm" was far from over.

"We are in unchartered territory which carries huge risks for everybody. As I have consistently said, it is in Britain's interest for the euro zone to sort out its problems."


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 17, 2012, 12:46:33 pm
ECB Bars Access to Four Greek Banks
The European Central Bank has reacted to uncertainty over Greece’s future in the eurozone by excluding four of the country’s banks from its regular liquidity providing operations.
The move raises the pressure on Greece to stick to its international bailout by highlighting the risk that eurozone central bankers could pull the plug on its financial system. It reflected ECB fears that a planned recapitalisation of Greece’s banks could be delayed.

The four Greek banks – which the ECB did not name – will have to rely instead on “emergency liquidity assistance” – a special temporary facility provided by the Greek central bank but subject to ECB approval. The ECB “continues to support Greek banks,” a spokesman said.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 17, 2012, 04:54:46 pm
Fitch cuts Greece to 'CCC' on possible EMU exit
17 May 2012, by Sue Chang - San Francisco (MarketWatch)

Fitch Ratings on Thursday downgraded Greece's sovereign rating to CCC from B- due to heightened risk that Greece may have to exit the Economic and Monetary Union.

The strong showing of political parties opposing austerity in the recent election and the failure of the parties to form a government underscores the lack of national support for the E.U.-IMF bailout program, Fitch said.

"In the event that the new general elections scheduled for June 17 fail to produce a government with a mandate to continue with the E.U.-IMF program of fiscal austerity and structural reform, an exit of Greece from EMU would be probable," said Fitch in a statement.

A Greek exit from the EMU is likely to result in defaults in the private sector as well as sovereign euro-denominated obligations, the ratings agency said.

Triple-C grade is categorized as "poor quality" with possibility of default.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 18, 2012, 02:53:09 pm


Europe thinks the unthinkable on Greece
By Sebastian Moffett and Mike Peacock | Reuters – 2 hrs 45 mins ago.

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) - European officials are working on contingency plans in case Greece bombs out of the euro zone, the EU's trade commissioner said on Friday, while Berlin said it was prepared for all eventualities.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, one of Greece's harsher critics, said market turmoil fuelled by the euro zone debt crisis could last another year or two.
"Regarding the crisis of confidence in the euro ... in 12 to 24 months we will see a calming of the financial markets," he said.
European shares hit their lowest level since December, depressed by the prospect of a Greek euro exit spreading a wave of contagion in the currency bloc which could engulf much larger economies such as Spain's.
Policymakers insist they want Greece to remain in the euro zone but European Union trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said the European Commission and the European Central Bank were working on scenarios in case it has to leave.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 23, 2012, 05:14:55 pm


War-Gaming Greek Euro Exit Shows Hazards in 46-Hour Weekend

Greece may have only a 46-hour window of opportunity should it need to plot a route out of the euro.

That’s how much time the country’s leaders would probably have to enact any departure from the single currency while global markets are largely closed, from the end of trading in New York on a Friday to Monday’s market opening in Wellington, New Zealand, based on a synthesis of euro-exit scenarios from 21 economists, analysts and academics.

Over the two days, leaders would have to calm civil unrest while managing a potential sovereign default, planning a new currency, recapitalizing the banks, stemming the outflow of capital and seeking a way to pay bills once the bailout lifeline is cut. The risk is that the task would overwhelm any new government in a country that has had to be rescued twice since 2010 because it couldn’t manage its public finances.

“Leaving is difficult and messy, so anyone who thinks it’s easy is just wrong,” said Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, who left the European Central Bank’s executive board last year, in a phone interview. “The Greeks must be rational and protect themselves from rash decisions that they will live to regret. Leaving the euro is not the answer to their problems.” He declined to say whether he thought an exit would occur.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 24, 2012, 10:19:23 pm
Italy, Spain insurers most exposed to Greece
24 May 2012, by Kim Hjelmgaard - London (MarketWatch)

Italian and Spanish insurers would have the most to lose were Greece to leave the euro zone, Fitch Ratings said on Thursday.

Fitch said the exposure was related to the potential "contagion effect it [the Greek exit] could have on Italian and Spanish sovereign and bank debt.

Insurers in Germany and the U.K., by contrast, are "well-insulated from rising risks in the euro-zone periphery, Fitch said.

Fitch said a Greek exit is not its "base-case scenario."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 25, 2012, 06:20:05 pm
FYI, interesting that the upcoming Greece election is on the same weekend when Egypt will either elect a Muslim Brotherhood candidate or someone from the previous regime(Mubarak) for President, June 16-17.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 26, 2012, 04:13:13 pm


No German money for Greek ''bottomless pit'': minister

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will not "pour money into a bottomless pit" and patience with Greece is growing thin ahead of a new election in the Mediterranean country, a conservative member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet was quoted on Saturday as saying.
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told the Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper that Germany, Europe's largest economy and the biggest contributor to rescue efforts, is glad to help Greece help itself but expects it to honor its agreements.
"We're not willing to pour money into a bottomless pit," he told the newspaper.
"Anyone who wants to see help and solidarity from us has to accept that we expect from that country a certain amount of seriousness and a certain amount of reasonableness."


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 26, 2012, 07:57:33 pm

Spain region, Greek exit warnings rattle euro zone


(Reuters) - Central banks and companies risk making a grave error if they do not brace for a possible Greek exit from the euro zone, Belgium's foreign minister said on Friday, rattling markets already alarmed by Spain's deteriorating finances.

Greek elections are scheduled for June 17 and could hasten the country's departure from the currency club should a government intent on ripping up the country's bailout program result.

Contrasting findings of opinion polls on Friday showed the outcome is too tight to call.

Greece accounts for little more than 2 percent of the euro zone economy but could pose a profound contagion threat if it quit the currency area, throwing the spotlight on Portugal, Spain and even Italy.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 27, 2012, 07:43:22 pm
Greece will run out of money by end of June, warns former PM Lucas Papademos
27 May 2012,  (AFP - Telegraph)


Former Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos has reportedly warned that Greece may run out of money by the end of June if international bailout funds are cut off following next month's election.

"From late June onwards, the ability of the government to fund its obligations fully depends on the approval of the subsequent installments of loans from the EFSF and the IMF ," To Vima newspaper quoted Papademos as saying in a leaked memo.

"The available funds in the Greek government will be reduced gradually from about €3.8bn [£3bn} on May 11 to about €700m on June 18 and from June 20 will enter negative territory at the level of around €1bn."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 29, 2012, 06:53:24 pm


Biggest Greek bank warns of dire euro exit fallout

May 29 (Reuters) - If Greece left the euro, living standards would plummet, incomes would be slashed by more than half, and inflation and unemployment would skyrocket, the National Bank of Greece warned on Tuesday.

In a report released ahead of an election on June 17 that may determine whether the country stays in the single currency, the country's biggest bank said the risk of Athens exiting the euro was no longer just a theoretical possibility, warning that the fallout from such a move would be dramatic.

"An exit from the euro would lead to a significant decline in the living standards of Greek citizens," the NBG wrote ahead of a vote which parties opposed to austerity measures that have kept Greece in the euro so far have a chance of winning.

The bank said per capita income would collapse by at least 55 percent, the new national currency would depreciate by 65 percent against the euro and a recession, now in its fifth year, would deepen by 22 percent.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 30, 2012, 10:31:46 am
Spain rattles markets, Greeks warned of catastrophe


MADRID/ATHENS (Reuters) - Spain's borrowing costs lurched higher and the Madrid stock market hit a nine-year low on Wednesday as investors rattled by deepening fears about its banking system fled to the relative haven of German bonds.

Spain's banking woes - the result of a burst property bubble aggravated by recession - have combined with growing uncertainty about Greece's survival in the euro zone to reignite Europe's sovereign debt crisis, driving the euro to a two-year low of $1.2454. European shares also extended their fall after Italy paid heavily to sell bonds.

Madrid said it will probably tap credit markets to inject funds into nationalized lender Bankia, but that looks expensive with 10-year borrowing costs at 6.67 percent near their euro era peak and close to levels at which Ireland and Greece sought international bail-outs.

The Economy Ministry played down a Financial Times report that the European Central Bank had rejected an initial plan to rescue Bankia, Spain's fourth biggest bank, by stuffing it with government bonds that could be used as collateral to borrow from the ECB. [ID:nL5E8GU39O]

more: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/spain-rattles-markets-greeks-warned-100300736.html?l=1

Title: Radical anti-bailout left regains Greek poll lead
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 30, 2012, 04:31:33 pm

Radical anti-bailout left regains Greek poll lead
Associated Press – 5/30/12

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A new survey indicates that Greece's radical left Syriza party, which opposes the loan-dependent country's bailout commitments, has regained the lead in opinion polls ahead of crucial national elections on June 17.

The VPRC poll for Epikaira magazine published Wednesday gives Syriza 30 percent of the vote, followed by conservative pro-bailout New Democracy at 26.5 percent.

While Syriza would lack enough seats to govern alone, it could form a coalition with the expected backing of two more anti-austerity parties.

Syriza, the surprise runner-up to New Democracy in the inconclusive May 6 election, came second to the conservatives in five polls published since Sunday.

If Greece reneges on its international bailout commitments, it could see the vital loans dry up, enter a death spiral and eventually have to abandon the euro.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 31, 2012, 03:22:11 pm
Greece needs boosted reform for future funding: EC
30 May 2012, by Stelios Bouras - Athens (MarketWatch)

Greece will need to pick up the pace of reforms in order to secure future funding from international creditors, the European Commission said Wednesday.

In a country report on Greece, the commission reiterated that the economy is seen contracting at an annual pace of 4.7% in 2012, with the potential risk for further deterioration, and that the country's medium-term economic performance will depend on the implementation of structural reforms.

"Comprehensive international financial assistance can continue to be provided only if policy implementation improves," the commission said in its report.

"The determination of the Greek authorities to stick to the agreed policies will be tested in the coming months when deficit-reducing measures to close the large gap for 2013-14 need to be identified," it said.

Under the terms of the country's latest €130 billion bailout, Greece must detail in June some €11.5 billion worth of spending cuts to close fiscal gaps in 2013 and 2014.


Greece Risks Trade Constraints as Insurers Cut Export Coverage
31 May 2012, by Howard Mustoe and Greg Viscusi (bloomberg)

Euler Hermes SA, the world’s biggest credit insurer, said it will no longer cover new shipments of goods to Greece because of the risks of the nation leaving the euro currency and customers defaulting on payments.

The insurer, a unit of Allianz SE, took the decision because exporting to Greece has become “significantly more risky,” Paris-based Euler Hermes said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

The insurer is still working under the assumption Greece will remain in the euro zone, it said.

“We will still cover those shipments under way and internal commercial transactions,” spokeswoman Bettina Sattler said by telephone today. Future shipments to the country won’t be covered, she said.

The lack of export insurance, which pays companies if a client defaults, raises the prospect that certain goods will no longer reach Greek companies and stores.

Austria’s OeKB Versicherung AG said on May 29 it will also drop coverage of new shipments to Greece and Coface SA of France said it’s only doing business with “the healthiest Greek companies.”


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 01, 2012, 10:32:07 pm


Moody's cuts Greek domestic rating ceiling on euro exit risk

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rating agency Moody's Investors Service said it had lowered its ratings ceiling on Greek domestic debt issuers due to the rising risk of the country exiting the euro zone, but added it did not consider that the most likely scenario for the country.

Moody's said it lowered its assessment of the highest rating that can be assigned to a domestic debt issuer in Greece to Caa2, below the highest existing rating by the firm on any Greek security, which is B1 for certain covered bonds.

"Any rating actions taken as a result of the new ceiling will be released during the coming week," Moody's said in a statement on Friday.

"Moody's indicated that although the risk of a euro exit by Greece is substantial it is still not what it considers its 'central case' or most likely scenario," it said.


Title: Euro Shorts Reach Record as Spain, Greece Concern Damp Demand
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 02, 2012, 11:29:38 am
Euro Shorts Reach Record as Spain, Greece Concern Damp Demand
1 june 2012, by Catarina Saraiva (Bloomberg)


Futures traders boosted bets that the euro will depreciate against the dollar to a record high as concern increased that Spain’s banking crisis will worsen and Greece may exit the 17-nation currency union.

Hedge funds and other large speculators increased wagers on a euro drop for a fourth straight week in the five days ended May 29, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed today.

The surge came during a week in which Greece’s anti-bailout political party gained in the polls and as Spanish leaders debated how to recapitalize Bankia group.

“Positions are getting more extended,” said Brian Kim, a currency strategist in Stamford, Connecticut, at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.

“It’s not just because of the crisis, but also data getting weak and expectations that the ECB could ease in the second half of the year.”

The [color]difference[/color] in the number of wagers on a decline in the shared currency compared with those on a gain, known as net shorts, was 203,415, the most since the euro’s inception in 1999.

It was the third consecutive weekly record.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on June 04, 2012, 06:41:26 am
10 Things That We Can Learn About Shortages And Preparation From The Economic Collapse In Greece

When the economy of a nation collapses, almost everything changes.  Unfortunately, most people have never been through anything like that, so it can be difficult to know how to prepare.  For those that are busy preparing for the coming global financial collapse, there is a lot to be learned from the economic depression that is happening right now in Greece.  Essentially, what Greece is experiencing is a low level economic collapse.  Unemployment is absolutely rampant and poverty is rapidly spreading, but the good news for Greece is that the global financial system is still operating somewhat normally and they are getting some financial assistance from the outside.  Things in Greece could be a whole lot worse, and they will probably get a whole lot worse before it is all said and done.  But already things have gotten bad enough in Greece that it gives us an idea of what a full-blown economic collapse in the 21st century may look like.  There are reports of food and medicine shortages in Greece, crime and suicides are on the rise and people have been rapidly pulling their money out of the banks.  Hopefully this article will give you some ideas that you can use as you prepare for the economic chaos that will soon be unfolding all over the globe.

The following are 10 things that we can learn about shortages and preparation from the economic collapse in Greece....

#1 Food Shortages Can Actually Happen

Most people assume that they will always be able to run out to their local supermarket or to Wal-Mart and get all of the supplies they need.

Unfortunately, that is a false assumption.  The truth is that our food distribution system is extremely vulnerable.

In Greece, many people are starting to totally run out of food.  Even some government institutions (such as prisons) are now reporting food shortages.  The following was originally from a Greek news source....

The financing for many prisons has decreased to a minimum for some months now, resulting in hundreds of detainees being malnourished and surviving on the charity of local communities.

The latest example is the prison in Corinth where after the supply stoppage from the nearby military camp, the prisoners are at the mercy of God because, as reported by prison staff, not even one grain of rice has been left in their warehouses. When a few days earlier the commander of the camp announced to the prison management the transportation stoppage, citing lack of food supplies even for the soldiers, he shut down the last source of supply for 84 prisoners. The response of some Corinth citizens was immediate as they took it upon themselves to support the prisoners, since all protests to the Justice ministry were fruitless.
#2 Medicine Is One Of The First Things That Becomes Scarce During An Economic Collapse

If you are dependent on medicine in order to survive, you might want to figure out how you are going to get by if your supply of medicine is totally cut off someday.

In Greece, medicine shortages have become a massive problem.  The following is from a recent Bloomberg article....

Mina Mavrou, who runs a pharmacy in a middle-class Athens suburb, spends hours each day pleading with drugmakers, wholesalers and colleagues to hunt down medicines for clients. Life-saving drugs such as Sanofi (SAN)’s blood-thinner Clexane and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s asthma inhaler Flixotide often appear as lines of crimson data on pharmacists’ computer screens, meaning the products aren’t in stock or that pharmacists can’t order as many units as they need.

“When we see red, we want to cry,” Mavrou said. “The situation is worsening day by day.”

The 12,000 pharmacies that dot almost every street corner in Greek cities are the damaged capillaries of a complex system for getting treatment to patients. The Panhellenic Association of Pharmacists reports shortages of almost half the country’s 500 most-used medicines. Even when drugs are available, pharmacists often must foot the bill up front, or patients simply do without.
#3 When An Economy Collapses, So Might The Power Grid

Try this some time - turn off all power to your home for 24 hours and try to live normally.

Sadly, most people simply do not understand just how dependent we are on the power grid.  Without power, all of our lives would change dramatically.

In Greece, authorities are warning of an impending "collapse" of the power grid.  If it goes down for an extended period of time in Greece, the consequences would be catastrophic....

Greece’s power regulator RAE told Reuters on Friday it was calling an emergency meeting next week to avert a collapse of the debt-stricken country’s electricity and natural gas system.

“RAE is taking crisis initiatives throughout next week to avert the collapse of the natural gas and electricity system,” the regulator’s chief Nikos Vasilakos told Reuters.

RAE took the decision after receiving a letter from Greece’s natural gas company DEPA, which threatened to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company.
#4 During An Economic Collapse You Cannot Even Take Water For Granted

If the power grid goes down, you will soon no longer have clean water coming out of your faucets.  That is one of the reasons why it is absolutely imperative that the power grid stay operable in Greece.

Sadly, most people don't understand just how vulnerable our water system is.  In a previous article, I quoted from a report that discussed how rapidly our water supply would be in jeopardy in the event of a major transportation disruption....

According to the American Water Works Association, Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water per day. For safety and security reasons, most water supply plants maintain a larger inventory of supplies than the typical business. However, the amount of chemical storage varies significantly and is site specific. According to the Chlorine Institute, most water treatment facilities receive chlorine in cylinders (150 pounds and one ton cylinders) that are delivered by motor carriers. On average, trucks deliver purification chemicals to water supply plants every seven to 14 days. Without these chemicals, water cannot be purified and made safe for drinking. Without truck deliveries of purification chemicals, water supply plants will run out of drinkable water in 14 to 28 days. Once the water supply is drained, water will be deemed safe for drinking only when boiled. Lack of clean drinking water will lead to increased gastrointestinal and other illnesses, further taxing an already weakened healthcare system.
What will you do when clean water stops coming out of your faucets?

You might want to start thinking about that.

#5 During An Economic Crisis Your Credit Cards And Debit Cards May Stop Working

Most people have become very accustomed to using either debit cards or credit cards for almost everything.

But what would happen if the financial system locked up for a period of time and you were not able to use them?

This is something that the citizens of Greece are potentially facing in the coming months, and this is something that all of us need to start thinking about.

#6 Crime, Rioting And Looting Become Commonplace During An Economic Collapse

Big corporations are already making extensive plans for how to protect their stores in the event that Greece switches from the euro to the drachma.

The following is from a recent Reuters article....

British electrical retailer Dixons has spent the last few weeks stockpiling security shutters to protect its nearly 100 stores across Greece in case of riot.

The planning, says Dixons chief Sebastian James, may look alarmist but it's good to be prepared.

Company bosses around Europe agree. As the financial crisis in Greece worsens, companies are getting ready for everything from social unrest to a complete meltdown of the financial system.
#7 During A Financial Meltdown Many Average Citizens Will Start Bartering

During this economic depression, alternative currencies have already been popping up in Greece.

When things fall apart on a global scale, will you have things to barter for the things that you need?

#8 Suicides Spike During An Economic Collapse

When you think of the Great Depression of the 1930s, what do you think of?

Many people think of images of people jumping out of buildings.

Well, something similar has been happening in Greece.  Suicide statistics in Greece have been absolutely soaring during the last couple of years.

Once prosperity disappears, many people feel as though life is not worth living anymore.

#9 Your Currency May Rapidly Lose Value During An Economic Crisis

Just remember what happened in Germany during the Weimar Republic and what has happened recently in places like Zimbabwe.

The truth is that it can happen anywhere.

Right now, Greeks are pulling their money out of the banks because they are worried that their euros will be turned into drachmas which would rapidly lose value.

If I was living in Greece I would definitely be concerned about that.  The return of the drachma seems to get closer with each passing day.  Just check out these screenshots.

#10 When Things Hit The Fan The Government Will Not Save You

Has the government of Greece come to the rescue of all of those that are deeply suffering right now?

Of course not.  The truth is that the Greek government can barely take care of itself at the moment.

History has shown us that governments simply cannot be counted on when things hit the fan.

Just remember what happened during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In the end, the only one that can be counted on to take care of you and your family is you.

So you better start preparing.

Unfortunately, as I wrote about the other day, time is rapidly running out for the global financial system.

Even some of the top economic officials in the world are warning that another major crisis could be on the way.

Just check out what World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the other day....

"Events in Greece could trigger financial fright in Spain, Italy and across the eurozone. The summer of 2012 offers an eerie echo of 2008."
He also compared a potential exit of Greece from the eurozone to the collapse of Lehman Brothers back during the last financial crisis....

"If Greece leaves the eurozone, the contagion is impossible to predict, just as Lehman had unexpected consequences."
So what are some things that the average person can do to get prepared?

Well, a recent article on SHTFplan.com entitled "The List: A to Z Survival for the Abysmal Times Ahead" contains hundreds of ideas for preparing for the chaotic economic environment that we are heading into.

Preparation is going to look different for every family.  No two situations are exactly the same.

But there are some practical steps that nearly all of us can take to better position ourselves for what is coming.  Now is the time to get educated and now is the time to take action.

Or you could be like all of those that laughed at Noah while he was building that big boat.

In the end, things did not work out too well for those folks.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 04, 2012, 07:21:45 am

But there are some practical steps that nearly all of us can take to better position ourselves for what is coming.  Now is the time to get educated and now is the time to take action.

Or you could be like all of those that laughed at Noah while he was building that big boat.


But with one exception...

Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Heb 11:7  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith

1Pe 3:18  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
1Pe 3:19  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
1Pe 3:20  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water

2Pe 2:4  For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
2Pe 2:5  And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Aside from 8 souls, NOONE REPENTED during Noah's days.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 04, 2012, 08:43:40 am
Majority of Finns want Greece out of the eurozone


A majority of Finns want Greece to leave the eurozone, a study conducted by Finnish pollster Think If Laboratories showed on Monday.
A total of 56 percent of the 1,819 people questioned said Greece should leave the euro while 21 percent opposed the idea, and 23 percent of respondents were undecided, according to the survey.
"Finns are clearly dubious about the way the ongoing crisis is being handled. The findings are indicative of a deep distrust in Greece's ability to manage its economy," Juhana Aunesluoma, the director of the University of Helsinki's Network for European Studies, told AFP.
According to Aunesluoma, "Greece's membership in the single currency will be costly. Finns understand that Greece's woes will have an impact on Finnish finances as well. However, Finns seem to like the euro, but take issue with some of its members."
A separate poll last week showed that 58 percent of Finns supported Finland's membership in the eurozone, 32 percent opposed it and 10 percent were undecided.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 06, 2012, 01:28:05 pm
Greece Warns of Going Broke as Tax Proceeds Dry Up

ATHENS — As European leaders grapple with how to preserve their monetary union, Greece is rapidly running out of money.
Government coffers could be empty as soon as July, shortly after this month’s pivotal elections. In the worst case, Athens might have to temporarily stop paying for salaries and pensions, along with imports of fuel, food and pharmaceuticals.
Officials, scrambling for solutions, have considered dipping into funds that are supposed to be for Greece’s troubled banks. Some are even suggesting doling out i.o.u.’s.
Greek leaders said that despite their latest bailout of 130 billion euros, or $161.7 billion, they face a shortfall of 1.7 billion euros because tax revenue and other sources of potential income are drying up. A wrenching recession and harsh budget cuts have left businesses and individuals with less and less to give for taxes — and growing incentive to avoid paying what they owe.

The budget gap is widening as the so-called troika of lenders — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission — withholds 1 billion euros in bailout money earmarked for government financing while it waits to see whether new leaders elected June 17 will honor Greece’s commitments.
Even if the troika delivers that money, Greece will struggle to cover its obligations. It underscored a harsh reality that is playing out in other troubled euro zone economies. Prolonged austerity is making it harder, not easier, for governments like Greece to become self-reliant again.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 07, 2012, 10:12:05 am
Greek unemployment hits record while French jobless rate reaches 10pc
7 June 2012, by Louisa Peacock (The Telegraph)

Eurozone unemployment marched higher on Thursday as Greek joblessness reached a new record and France's jobless rate hit the psychologically damaging 10% mark.

Greece's unemployment rate shot up to 21.9% in March, rising sharply from the 15.7% rate in the same month last year and up from 21.4%in February, the country's statistics agency said.

Almost 1.8m people were registered as unemployed in the nation of 11.3m, according to Greece's Ase statistics agency.

Elsewhere in the crisis-hit eurozone, France's unemployment rate rose to about 10% in the first quarter, up from 9.8% in the previous three months, according to Bloomberg.

French companies cut jobs in the face of faltering economic growth, statistics from Paris' Insee showed on Thursday, presenting newly elected President Francois Hollande with a fresh challenge.

Some of France's largest companies, including Air France , Peugeot and Carrefour SA have been looking to reduce costs, leading labour unions to urge Mr Hollande to make good on a campaign to prevent a wave of firings.

“The labour market is still fundamentally very weak,” said Dominique Barbet, an economist at BNP Paribas in Paris.

Bernard Thibault, leader of France’s CGT union, estimated last week that 45,000 French jobs are at risk in the coming months.

French jobless claims rose for a 12th month in April, with the number of people actively looking for work rising by 4,300 to 2.89m, the Labor Ministry said last month.

Greece's unemployment rate soared further in March to a new record, following deep spending cuts and major tax rises, leaving the country mired in a deep recession.

Greece has been struggling through a financial crisis for the past two years, and has been relying on billions of euros in international rescue loans from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund since May 2010.

The Greek statistics agency said there were 21,625 more people unemployed in March compared with February, a 2.1% increase.

Young people have been the most affected by the job losses, with more than half 52.8% of those in the 15-24 age group out of work in March, compared to 42% in the same month last year.

The figure dropped slightly from February, but experts said some of those classed as unemployed will be in full-time education.

Women have been hit harder by unemployment, with 25.8% unemployed opposed to 18.9% for men.

Greece's financial crisis has also triggered political turmoil. Voters furious at spending cuts that have led to reductions in pensions and salaries and ever increasing taxes punished the two main political parties,

the New Democracy conservatives and socialist Pasok, in May 6 elections, turning to smaller and more radical parties on the right and left of the political spectrum.

No party won an outright majority on May 6 and coalition talks collapsed after 10 days, forcing the country into new elections on June 17.

New Democracy has been running head-to-head with the radical left-wing Syriza party in recent opinion polls. Syrisza has vowed to pull Greece out of its bailout commitments if elected.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 08, 2012, 05:32:14 pm

The Greek crisis has gone too far and the country would be better off exiting Europe's single currency area, Harvard Professor Martin Feldstein told CNBC.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s says there is now a one in three chance that Greece will abandon the euro and markets are waiting for the outcome of a fresh round of elections in Greece that take place on June 17.

“I think Greece is beyond repair,” Feldstein told "Worldwide Exchange."

“The best situation for Greece is to leave the euro zone, devalue a new currency, and be able therefore to grow again,” he said.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 09, 2012, 11:44:26 am

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's economy shrank further in the first three months of 2012, shriveling at a yearly rate of 6.5 percent against a backdrop of painful wage cuts, tax hikes and record unemployment.

The data, released on Friday, will add fodder to politicians campaigning against terms of an international bailout ahead of a June 17 parliamentary election.

Painful budget austerity has deepened Greece's economic malaise, turning voters away from mainstream political parties that backed a European Union/International Monetary Fund rescue deal.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 09, 2012, 08:18:47 pm


Greece scrambles for bank loans to avert energy meltdown: sources

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek energy companies are seeking emergency bank loans to pay suppliers and avert widespread power and gas cuts during the vital tourist season, industry sources told Reuters on Friday.
A vicious cycle of shrinking power demand, bad debts and flawed regulation has created a 350 million euro hole in the finances of Greece's energy system, which depends heavily on imported electricity and gas.
The looming energy crisis is compounding the country's debt problems before a general election on June 17 that may decide its future in the euro zone. It also threatens to cause blackouts during the power-hungry summer holiday season, one of the few foreign exchange earners for the uncompetitive Greek economy.
Faced with disruptions, Greek power authorities and energy companies are about to seek the emergency bank loans until more permanent measures are taken later to fix structural flaws in the creaking system.
State-owned gas provider DEPA is talking to domestic banks to secure the cash it needs to pay for about 120 million euros of imports later this month, a company official said on Friday.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 13, 2012, 12:58:13 pm


Greeks Withdraw $1 Billion a Day Ahead of Vote

Greeks pulled their cash out of the banks and stocked up with food ahead of a cliffhanger election on Sunday that many fear will result in the country being forced out of the euro.

Greeks pulled their cash out of the banks and stocked up with food ahead of a cliffhanger election on Sunday that many fear will result in the country being forced out of the euro.

Bankers said up to 800 million euros ($1 billion) were leaving major banks daily and retailers said some of the money was being used to buy pasta and canned goods, as fears of returning to the drachma were fanned by rumors that a radical leftist leader may win the election.

The last published opinion polls showed the conservative New Democracy party, which backs the 130 billion euro ($160 billion) bailout that is keeping Greece afloat, running neck and neck with the leftist Syriza party, which wants to cancel the rescue deal.

As the election approaches, publishing polls is now legally banned and in the ensuing information vacuum, party officials have been leaking contradictory "secret polls".

On Tuesday, one rumor making the rounds was that Syriza was leading by a wide margin.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 13, 2012, 01:02:36 pm

Greek Bank Run Update: €100-€500 Million Per Day


Five days ahead of the Greek parliamentary re-vote, the media propaganda machine has gone mute due to the moratorium on the RAND() known as popular polling: forgotten are the days when Syriza' popularity rating would swing from -100 to +100 in the span of hours, Diebold notwithstanding. Which leaves the media machine just one tactic: updates on the economic collapse as a tacit suggestion of what may happen if situation is not fixed. And while at this point it is nearly impossible to distinguish propaganda from fact, the latest numbers out of Kathimerini are just stunning. As Bloomberg's Marcus Bensasson reports, citing Kathimerini, the Greek banking system has continued to hemorrhage deposits this month, amid uncertainty over the outcome of elections on June 17. "Many people are putting money in shares of mutual funds denominated in dollars because of the bureaucratic difficulty of taking money out of Greece, or are keeping cash at home, the newspaper said." How much? "Deposits are leaving the banking system at a rate of 100 million to 500 million euros ($125 million to $625 million) a day, Kathimerini said, without specifying over how long a period that rate of outflow has continued."

Considering that the Greece banking system has about €170 billion in total deposits, this is roughly 0.3% of the entire deposit base fleeing each day - those who understand the nuances of fractional reserve banking get why this could be an issue.

Putting this in the US context, which has over $8 trillion in various forms of deposits, this would be equivalents to about $25 billion getting withdrawn. Every day.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 13, 2012, 01:26:47 pm
Greece will probably need third aid package
13 June 2012, (MarketWatch)

Greece will probably need a third aid package soon, as the crisis-stricken country is falling behind on key reforms, German newspaper Die Zeit reports in a preview of an article to be published Thursday.

Germany's parliament could discuss further financial assistance for Greece as early as this summer, the newspaper reports.

But a third aid package will only be forthcoming if Greeks elect a new government Sunday that supports further reforms, the newspaper reports.

Since Greece can no longer finance itself in the markets, official lenders must fill the gap, the newspaper says.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 13, 2012, 01:31:39 pm
Fitch says Greece needs 'robust response'
13 June 2012, (MarketWatch)

Fitch Ratings believes Greece's hypothetical exit from the euro zone would have a modest direct impact on banks of other euro-zone countries, but the indirect fallout from a Greek redenomination could be severe for banks in neighboring countries, most notably Spain and Italy.

The ratings company said banks with units or branches in Greece would be most affected and the impact they face would depend on the extent to which they are funding Greek assets cross-border.

Fitch also said policy makers would need to make "a robust response," backed up by specific policy actions in order to prevent contagion from a Greek redenomination.

The firm said willingness to extend Spain a EUR100 billion credit line to support its banks is a clear sign of policy makers' willingness to do what is necessary.

Fitch said the impact on euro-zone banks' ratings would depend on the effectiveness of the policy response.

Banks in Portugal and Ireland are more vulnerable to contagion risks as these nations could be perceived as "next in line" for a euro exit.

On Tuesday, Moody's Investors Service lowered its ratings on the Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic Bank Ltd. one notch further into junk territory, noting the Cypriot banks' extensive operations in Greece make them vulnerable to an increased risk of a Greek exit from the euro zone.

Moody's also plasce the ratings on both banks on review for further downgrade.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 13, 2012, 08:04:33 pm
Greek Bank Run Update: Up To $1 Billion A Day Now
13 June 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

Yesterday, we did an update of the Greek bank jog, when noting that between €100-€500 million per day was being withdrawn from Greek banks based on Kathimerini reports.

24 hours later the jog has become a trot with the most recent estimate from Reuters now estimated at nearly double:

"Combined daily deposit outflows from the major Greek banks have reached 500-800 million euros over the past few days, with the pace picking up as the election draws closer and rising noticeably on Tuesday, two bankers said."

This is roughly $1 billion a day in the upper case, and a number that is approaching 0.5% of the entire documented €170 billion (now likely much less) deposit base.

Deposit outflows at smaller and medium sized banks were running at 10-30 million euros.

"This includes cash withdrawals, wire transfers and investments into money market funds, German Bunds, U.S. Treasuries and EIB bonds," said one banker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Fears that Greece may have to quit the single currency and return to a weak drachma have fuelled a steady stream of withdrawals by companies and businesses alarmed at the prospect of seeing the value of their deposits cut sharply.

The result of the election, called after a previous vote in May failed to produce a government, remains too close to call, with the conservative New Democracy party running neck and neck with radical leftist SYRIZA.

Both groups say they want Greece to remain in the single currency but SYRIZA has pledged to scrap a 130 billion euro bailout agreement signed in March which has imposed some of the toughest austerity measures seen in Europe in decades.


At the daily rate of doubling the "estimate" by Friday the trot will be an all out sprting and Greece will be experiencing a $4 billion in outflows. We wonder which banks will have any cash left at that point.

How much of this is fact, and how much pre-election rumormongering to scare people from voting against Syriza remains to be seen.

Due to the polling moratorium it is impossible to get any grasp of which is the most popular party in Greece currently, even if the polls that had been released had the accuracy of an Excel random number generator.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 14, 2012, 09:54:43 am
Why the Greek Vote Matters to America: Just Explain It



The elections are coming! The elections are coming!
Yes, it's an election year in America but the world is going to be watching another vote this weekend in Greece. Rarely does an election in a country as small as Greece have global implications -- Greece produces less than 2% of Europe's GDP. But we live in unusual times.
On Sunday, Greek voters will go to the polls to choose not just a new government but whether the country will stay in the Euro zone. The vote could have massive ramifications for the future of the European Union, the financial markets and, by extension, the U.S. economy. Fearing the worst, Greek citizens have been pulling money out of their banks and stocking up on food ahead of the vote, The WSJ reports.
What happens in Europe very much matters to America. The European Union is America's largest trading partner and its debt crisis is
 already hurting the global economy and crimping profits of big U.S. multinationals like McDonald's, which generates more than 40% of its revenues from Europe.
"In a worst-case-scenario this could precipitate a financial crisis way worse than Lehman Brothers," says Zanny Minton Beddoes, economics editor at The Economist. "That matters to jobs here; stock markets here. [It matters to] average Americans very dramatically."
In fact, it's not a stretch to say the Greek vote could help determine the outcome of America's Presidential election in November. That helps explain why President Obama spoke about the Greek election during his press conference last Friday:
"We've said that it is in everybody's interest for Greece to remain in the eurozone while respecting its commitments to reform. We recognize the sacrifices that the Greek people have made.... But the Greek people also need to recognize that their hardships will likely be worse if they choose to exit from the eurozone."


**Remember Romney visited the Bilderberg meeting last week

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 14, 2012, 10:54:51 am

The European Tipping Point: What Will Greece Do?

How is it that a small nation with only 11 million people and an economy not even one-tenth of the United States could be so important?

Because the stability of the global economy hangs in the balance as Europe awaits the results of the Greek presidential election on June 17. The election is seen as a proxy for a much larger question: Do the Greeks want to stay in the euro zone - or not?

Meanwhile this week European leaders are scrambling to come up with money and a plan for stabilizing Spanish banks.

Even in the midst of the U.S. election season when domestic politics would normally be paramount, President Obama discussed Greece at a recent news conference. "We recognize the sacrifices that the Greek people have made, and European leaders understand the need to provide support if the Greek people choose to remain in the euro zone," he said. "But the Greek people also need to recognize that their hardships will likely be worse if they choose to exit from the euro zone."

It is an unprecedented situation in modern economic times. "For the first time since it began in 1999, one of the 17 nations that use the euro will in essence be deciding whether they want it anymore or not," says Peter Boockvar of Miller Tabak.

If the answer is no, economists and leaders across the world fear a potential "Lehman moment" and the potential unraveling of the entire euro project. The cost to the European economy alone could be as much as Euro360 billion, according to one Wall Street analyst, Patrick Legland of Societe General. If there were a follow-on contagion effect in Italy and Spain, he says European stocks would fall as much as 50 percent, and the damaging results wouldn't be confined to the European continent.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 14, 2012, 07:05:41 pm
Greek Bank Run Update: Up To $1 Billion A Day Now

Want to make a comment on this - while I kind of emphathize with these Greece citizens(b/c the writing is on the wall), at the same time in your opinions, do you think that the NWO minions are doing all they can to instill fear, and ultimately getting them to play INTO THE HANDS of the ENEMY? B/c whatever the outcome will be after the election, having this huge bank run like this will only make matters worse. Less money in the banks mean less money for these banks to give out loans et al to small businesses et al and you know the rest of the story. It was kind of like in 2008 when Henry Paulson and his chronies threatened Congress over declaring Martial Law in America if they didn't pass this bank bailout bill. Guess what - the bank bailout bill only made things MUCH worse(ie-small businesses in particular found it much harder to get loans).

If I were a citizen of Greece, sure, I might do SOME preparation for the weekend, b/c 1Ti_5:8  But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. But going as far as WITHDRAWING EVERYTHING? Not so sure about that.

1Jn_4:18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

1Co 9:25  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
1Co 9:26  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
1Co 9:27  But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 14, 2012, 11:29:33 pm
Another thing - I don't know the % of born again Christians in Greece, however, it sounds like not many of them are putting their trust in the Lord(and believing in what he did on the cross).

While I agree we should all be adequately prepared - if you don't put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, it won't matter even if you stock up years worth of stuff.

And for that matter too - it won't matter who wins the Greek elections this weekend. It's all going to come down anyways.

Jer 17:5  Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
Jer 17:6  For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
Jer 17:7  Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
Jer 17:8  For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit

1Sa 8:1  And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
1Sa 8:2  Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.
1Sa 8:3  And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
1Sa 8:4  Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
1Sa 8:5  And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
1Sa 8:6  But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
1Sa 8:7  And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
1Sa 8:8  According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
1Sa 8:9  Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
1Sa 8:10  And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.
1Sa 8:11  And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
1Sa 8:12  And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
1Sa 8:13  And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
1Sa 8:14  And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
1Sa 8:15  And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
1Sa 8:16  And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
1Sa 8:17  He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
1Sa 8:18  And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
1Sa 8:19  Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
1Sa 8:20  That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
1Sa 8:21  And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD.
1Sa 8:22  And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 16, 2012, 05:01:31 pm


How shock waves will hit US if Greece drops euro

NEW YORK (AP) — The unthinkable suddenly looks possible.

Bankers, governments and investors are preparing for Greece to stop using the euro as its currency, a move that could spread turmoil throughout the global financial system.

The worst case envisions governments defaulting on their debts, a run on European banks and a worldwide credit crunch reminiscent of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008.

A Greek election on Sunday will determine whether it happens. Syriza, a party opposed to the restrictions placed on Greece in exchange for a bailout from European neighbors, could do well.

If Syriza gains power and rejects the terms of the bailout, Greece could lose its lifeline, default on its debt and decide that it must print its own currency, the drachma, to stay afloat.

No one is sure how that would work because there is no mechanism in the European Union charter for a country leaving the euro. In the meantime, banks and investors have sketched out the ripple effects.

They think the path of a full-blown crisis would start in Greece, quickly move to the rest of Europe and then hit the U.S. Stocks and oil would plunge, the euro would sink against the U.S. dollar, and big banks would suffer losses on complex trades.

more in link

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 16, 2012, 09:43:06 pm
1Th 4:13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words

Greece Sinks Into Despair: 'There's Nothing Here Anymore'
15 June 2012, by Catherine Boyle (CNBC)

Extreme political uncertainty, rampant corruption, queues forming at soup kitchens, and aid from non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—all these are more commonly associated with countries still developing Western-style economies.

Yet they are now a daily reality for many Greeks, prompting some to mutter that the country is in danger of regressing decades in its development.

“We are moving from being a Western country to a poor country,” George Protopapas, national director of international charity SOS Children’s Villages, told CNBC.

“I’m worried that it’s going to be like in Ceausescu’s Romania or Bulgaria in the early 1990s.”


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 17, 2012, 01:35:15 pm
Many have said that the Syriza party(anti-bailout party) would mean an (almost immediate)end to Greece being part of the EU, and ultimately the EU would break up. While others, interestingly enough, have said this party would have saved Greece b/c an exit out of the EU would actually be a fresh start for them and wouldn't hurt the EU.

Regardless of who "wins", it doesn't matter, b/c they are all rigged anyways.

Joh_16:33  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.



Greek polls: Pro-bailout conservatives in first

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Updated exit polls predict that Greece's conservative New Democracy party will come in first in an election that is crucial for Europe and the world.

Although no party appears to have won enough seats in Sunday's election to form a new Greek government on its own, the polls indicate the country's two traditional parties — New Democracy and PASOK — will have enough seats to form a coalition together.

The exit poll projected New Democracy as winning between 28.6 and 30 percent of the vote, giving it 127 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. That's ahead of the radical left Syriza party, which is projected to get 72 seats.

The Socialist PASOK party was projected in third with 32 seats.

New Democracy wants Greece to stay in the eurozone while the Syriza has vowed to pull out of Greece's international bailout commitments.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 20, 2012, 12:23:10 pm
Greek New Democracy, Pasok form coalition: reports
20 June 2012, by Sara Sjolin - London (MarketWatch)

A deal between the pro-bailout New Democracy party and socialist Pasok has been struck to form a new coalition government following parliamentary elections on Sunday, news reports said.

Details of who the ministers will be are expected to be finalized later Wednesday, according to the reports.

The BBC further said that the small Democratic Left party also is expected to be part of the governing coalition with New Democracy and Pasok.

As the winner of the majority vote in the elections on Sunday, New Democracy had until Thursday to form a government; otherwise the antiausterity Syriza would have had a chance, as it came in second.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 22, 2012, 08:43:52 am

Starving Greeks queue for food in their thousands as debt-wracked country finally forms a coalition government... but how long will it last?

Queues form as desperate people received food handouts from Crete's farmers
Antonis Samaras sworn in as prime minister as head of conservative-led three party coalition
New coalition vows to renegotiate crippling bailout agreement to ease burden on debt-crippled country
Greek stocks rose marginally in response to the coalition deal
Greece had been effectively ungoverned after two election in six weeks resulted in political stalemate
Country struggling through a fifth year of recession, with unemployment spiraling to above 22 per cent
Leader of Democratic Left says coalition will 'lift those measures that have literally bled society'

By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 09:56 EST, 19 June 2012 | UPDATED: 19:59 EST, 20 June 2012

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2161651/Starving-Greeks-food-thousands-politicians-finally-form-coalition-government--long-last.html#ixzz1yWsjo8Au

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 14, 2012, 01:31:04 pm
IMF says Greece 'missed' some bailout targets
12 July 2012, (AFP)

The International Monetary Fund said Thursday that Greece has failed to meet a number of targets in the IMF bailout program, insisting it is too soon to discuss revisions to the plan.

"So far, some targets were met, a number were missed and in some cases we don't have enough of the data to assess" whether different measures may be open to discussion, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said.

The IMF reiterated it was in discussions with the Greek authorities on the agreed IMF-EU program for €130 billion ($158.3 billion) in rescue financing.

"We're not in the position of negotiating the program's objectives.

They remain the basis for the discussion," the spokesman said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

"But if there are ideas how to better achieve those objectives, we are open to that, as we are in the case of any other program."

The IMF spokesman's comments came a day after the Greek coalition government reiterated its commitment to renegotiate the austerity plan agreed with its EU and IMF creditors.

Rice noted that an IMF fact-finding mission had just ended in Athens and a mission was expected to return to the Greek capital on July 24,

"to commence discussions on, again, how to bring the program fully back on track."

The IMF will issue a report following a review of the findings, he said.

"It's premature to get into which of the different measures might be open to discussion."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 17, 2012, 03:27:48 pm
Greece seeks bridge loan for Aug. bond redemption
17 July 2012, by Val Brickates Kennedy - Boston (MarketWatch)

Greece is seeking a bridge loan to cover an upcoming bond redemption next month, according to Dow Jones Newswires on Tuesday.

The roughly €3.1 billion bond, worth roughly $3.79 billion, matures on Aug. 20, and is held entirely by the European Central Bank.

Dow Jones added that euro-zone officials have indicated that Greece would be prevented from defaulting on the payment.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 20, 2012, 01:25:26 pm
ECB: Greek-backed bonds ineligible as collateral
20 July 2012, by William L. Watts - Frankfurt (MarketWatch)

The European Central Bank on Friday said debt issued or fully guaranteed by the Greek government will become "for the time being ineligible" for use as collateral in monetary policy operations due to the July 25 expiration of a buyback program.

The ECB said that, "in line with established procedures," its Governing Council would assess the potential eligibility of Greek bonds at the conclusion of an ongoing review of Greece's compliance with its bailout terms by the European Commission, the ECB and International Monetary Fund.

The ECB said liquidity needs may be addressed by the Greek central bank "in line with existing Eurosystem arrangements."

Title: Debt crisis: Greek economy is in a 'Great Depression' says Samaras
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 22, 2012, 11:52:32 pm


Mr Samaras's comments come two days before a team of Greece's debt inspectors arrive in Athens to push for further austerity measures if the debt-laden country wants to qualify for further rescue payments and avoid a chaotic default.
Athens wants to soften the terms of a €130bn euro bailout agreed last March with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, to soften their impact on an economy going through its worst post-war recession.
Greek GDP is expected by the end of this to have shrunk by about a fifth in five consecutive years of recession since 2008, hammered by tax hikes, spending cuts and wage reductions required by two EU/IMF bailouts. Unemployment climbed to a record 22.6pc in the first quarter.
"You had the Great Depression in the United States," Samaras told Clinton, who was visiting Greece as part of a delegation of Greek-American businessmen. "This is exactly what we're going through in Greece - it's our version of the Great Depression."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 26, 2012, 03:52:22 pm

Debt crisis: Greece to run out of money by August 20

 Greece may run out of money and go bankrupt by Aug 20, a British government analysis of the ongoing eurozone crisis has warned

The beleaguered country will have to refinance billions of euros worth of government bonds in less than a month and requires international assistance — which may not be forthcoming — to repay the money.
International inspectors arrived back in Greece on Tuesday to assess the country’s austerity programme with European officials warning that it was “hugely off track”.
David Cameron is now receiving daily written updates on the deteriorating situation and was warned earlier this week that a Greek bankruptcy in the next month is now a serious possibility.
Official economic figures to be published today are expected to show that Britain suffered from a third successive quarter of negative economic growth — suggesting that the country is still in recession. If the figures are negative, it will be the longest double-dip recession for more than 50 years.
Ministers are expected to blame the continuing economic turmoil in Europe for this country’s failure to recover from the last slump.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 26, 2012, 03:59:18 pm
Greece now in "Great Depression", PM says
22 July 2012, Athens (Reuters)

Greece is in a "Great Depression" similar to the American one in the 1930s, the country's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Sunday.


EU officials: International Monetary Fund to pull plug on Greece
By Katerina Nikolas
Jul 22, 2012 in World

Athens- Fears that Greece could be forced into bankruptcy in September have been raised by a report that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is about to pull the plug on providing additional finance to the debt-ridden Mediterranean country.
A report to be published in Monday's edition of Der Spiegel claims that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is considering ending financial aid to Greece. According to Bloomberg the information in the Der Spiegel report was provided by "unidentified European Union officials."

 The report states "High ranking officials at the Fund have informed the European Union that the IMF is no longer willing to provide Greece with more aid.” Apparently the patience of high-ranking IMF officials has worn thin.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/329109#ixzz21YpsMSOX

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 05, 2012, 09:17:05 am


Greece's new pledges will take epic battle to implement

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's latest fiscal and reform pledges may be enough to convince international lenders weary after years of broken promises to keep Athens hooked to a 130 billion euro lifeline, but the battle to implement it will be epic.
Few question the new coalition government's resolve but many doubt whether the cantankerous public sector can or will implement the measures or the Greek public, reeling from years of austerity, can take much more without putting up a fight.
"The political will is strong, but so are the obstacles - red tape, a demoralized and increasingly underpaid public administration are principal among them," said George Pagoulatos, professor of economics at Athens University.
Greek officials say 11.5 billion euros of fiscal measures roughly agreed this week - although more painful for the public - will be easier to implement than the structural changes.
Reforms such as liberalizing professions and markets including lawyers and pharmacies, have stumbled on strong union protests. Others, such as cutting red tape for setting up a business, have been stuck in a bloated and ineffective public administration incapable of change.
Since it was first bailed out two years ago, Greece has repeatedly fallen behind on reform pledges to its partners, who have threatened to cut off funding at the risk of unraveling the euro.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 05, 2012, 09:34:19 am


Greece eyes T-bills to cover funding squeeze: minister

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece is leaning towards issuing T-bills to plug a cash squeeze this month as resumption of its bailout funding hinges on a positive assessment by European Union and IMF inspectors, its deputy finance minister told Sunday's Kathimerini newspaper.
Cash-strapped and behind targets agreed under a 130 billion euro ($160.4 billion) financial rescue package, Athens faces a 3.2 billion euro bond maturity on August 20.
"The situation (with cash reserves) is borderline and will remain so until September when the (EU/IMF/ECB) report will be concluded," Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras told the paper in an interview.
"We are managing cash reserves carefully and exploring several solutions, such as an increase in the issuance of T-bills. We will choose the optimal solution in agreement with our partners," he said.
Shut out of bond markets, Greece issues T-bills on a monthly basis to refund maturing short-term paper. It needs to roll over 2.6 billion euros of six- and three-month T-bills this month.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 07, 2012, 10:50:01 pm
S&P revises Greece's outlook to negative


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ratings agency Standard & Poor's on Tuesday revised Greece's outlook to negative, saying the debt-ridden euro zone country could need more help from its international creditors.

"Following delays in implementing budgetary consolidation measures and a worsening Greek economy, we believe Greece is likely to require additional financing for 2012 under the EU/International Monetary Fund (IMF) program," S&P said in a statement.

"We are revising the outlook on the long-term ratings on Greece to negative, reflecting the possibility of a downgrade if Greece fails to secure the next disbursement of the EU/IMF Program," S&P said.

Greece has made progress in finding budget cuts needed to continue its bailout program, but international inspectors said this week that they will return in September to see if the remaining work is done.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 11, 2012, 05:05:48 pm
Greece to revive public servants dismissal plan - source
The government's economic team will present details of the plan, once a political taboo in Greece, to the political leaders supporting the ruling coalition

Greece's jobless rate climbed to a new record - underlining how austerity is hitting the economy
Latest data yesterday showed the jobless rate climbed to 23.1 per cent, with nearly 55pc of those aged 15-24 out of work

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 13, 2012, 08:09:05 pm
Greece sinks again, more cuts to save bailout in store


ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's economy shrank 6.2 percent on an annual basis in the second quarter, a slump that is expected to persist as the government scrambles to nail down billions in additional cuts to keep international bailout funds flowing.
Currently in its fifth consecutive year of economic depression, Greece is suffering record unemployment with nearly one in four Greeks without a job, undermining efforts to meet revenue targets and reduce the budge
Athens is keen to convince euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund of its will to bring an economic adjustment plan back on track before asking for modifications and more time to spread out the pain of more cutbacks.
But the fiscal drag caused by the pursued austerity policies coupled with liquidity constraints and lingering uncertainty is likely to keep recessionary headwinds in full force.
"We project GDP to contract by 7.1 percent in 2012 and by 2.4 percent in 2013, on the back of further significant declines in disposable incomes, rising unemployment and plummeting investment activity," Eurobank economist Theodore Stamatiou said.
Greece's jobless rate has already climbed to 23.1 percent, with nearly 55 percent of those aged 15-24 out of work, a desperate situation that fed into the popularity of anti-bailout parties in elections earlier this year.
The three-party coalition government that emerged after two rounds of polls is working to nail down 11.5 billion euros of savings and plans to revive a labor measure targeting 40,000 public servants for eventual dismissal.
Without the additional savings the government's budget will still show a primary deficit of 1 percent of GDP in 2014, well short of a targeted 4.5 percent surplus to help stabilize debt.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 14, 2012, 09:19:31 am

Senior Merkel ally sends stark warning to Greece

(Reuters) - A senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party issued a stark warning to Greece on Monday, saying Germany would not hesitate to veto further aid to the country if there were any signs it was not meeting the conditions of its bailout.

The comments, by the deputy parliamentary leader of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) Michael Fuchs, are a sign that frustration with Greece among ruling party lawmakers is nearing the breaking point.

The "troika" of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund is due to decide on the disbursement of the next tranche of money from Greece's 130 billion euro bailout package in September.

"Even if the glass is half full, that won't be sufficient for a new aid package. Germany cannot and will not agree to that," Michael Fuchs told German newspaper Handelsblatt.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 14, 2012, 07:57:46 pm
Greek nonperforming loans on rise
14 August 2012, London (MarketWatch)

The spread of bad loans because of Greece's long-running recession threatens the viability of the country's financial system and jeopardizes the already slim chances of success for the country's second bailout deal, senior Greek bankers warned.

Greece asks for more time for budget cuts: report
14 August 2012, by Deborah Levine - San Francisco (MarketWatch)

Greece wants two more years to implement its latest austerity program, and will formally ask European leaders for the extra time next week, according to the Financial Times on Tuesday.

The extra time would allow Greece to spread out budget cuts over a longer period as it tries to spur economic growth in order to be able to pay its debts, the report said, citing a document in its position or obtained by the newspaper.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 24, 2012, 12:10:10 pm
No, I don't think this is the case at all where Obama specifically wants this(ie-both parties are controlled by the NWO) - however, with Martial Law October rumors being reported recently, wouldn't surprise us if by October when the next meeting occurs, Greece may be deemed not to meet their bailout requirements, and then once it exits the euro, drastic things will subsequently happen around the world, that Obama may declare Martial Law in this country. I think that's what the context of this article may be talking about.

Yeah, doesn't matter who wins the next election if Greece exits the euro in October, b/c the damage will already be done.

Obama asks eurozone to keep Greece in until after election day



US officials are worried that if Greece exits the eurozone, it will damage President's election hopes

The Obama administration will pressure European governments not to let Greece fall out of the eurozone before November's Presidential elections, British Government sources have suggested.

Representatives from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission are due to arrive in Athens next month to assess Greece's reform efforts.

They are expected to report in time for an 8 October meeting of eurozone finance ministers which will decide on whether to disburse Greece's next €31bn aid tranche, promised under the terms of the bailout for the country.

American officials are understood to be worried that if they decide Greece has not done enough to meet its deficit targets and withhold the money, it would automatically trigger Greece's exit from the eurozone weeks before the Presidential election on 6 November.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 14, 2012, 06:28:09 pm


IMF, EU see more time, not more money, for Greece

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Greece may get more time to reach financial targets under its 130 billion euro rescue package but probably not more money, its international lenders signaled on Friday, saying a decision had to come by the end of October.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, leading a country in its fifth year of recession at a time of rising discontent at home, wants two more years to implement economic reforms tied to the bailout to soften their impact.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said lenders may now agree to some sort of extension.
"There are various ways to adjust: time is one and that needs to be considered as an option," Lagarde told a news conference following a meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Cyprus.
Greece's second bailout envisages Athens returning to international markets by 2015, but with two consecutive parliamentary elections in May and June after political parties struggled to form a coalition, the country has lost ground on its reform agenda. Deepening recession has also made the debt targets less attainable.
Although the extent of the shortfall will not be known until a report by lenders in October, Greece is unlikely to win back investor confidence quickly and meet its targets, which include a primary surplus of 4.5 percent of economic output in 2014.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 26, 2012, 01:02:35 pm


Markets Tumble on Unrest in Greece and Spain

LONDON — Clear signs of the political and social cost of the euro zone crisis sent stock markets tumbling Wednesday as debt-laden Greece faced a crippling 24-hour strike and Spain cleaned up after violent protests Tuesday near the country’s Parliament.

Spanish bond yields approached 6 percent for the first time in months, while European stocks and the euro fell sharply, as developments in Greece and Spain sent a new wave of anxiety through the ranks of international investors.

The Euro Stoxx 50, a measure of euro zone blue chips, closed 2.7 percent lower on Wednesday. National benchmarks were also down, led by the Ibex in Spain, which fell 3.9 percent, and the MIB in Milan, down 3.3 percent.

The euro was at $1.2863, down from $1.2950 late Tuesday in New York.

Spanish bond yields had fallen back from levels thought unsustainable after the European Central Bank announced a plan Sept. 6 to buy the sovereign bonds of debt-strapped euro countries, like Spain and Italy, in amounts sufficient to bring the cost of servicing their debt down to a manageable level.

The renewed spike in borrowing costs indicates that the E.C.B.’s pledge is losing its power to calm markets, at least in the case of Spain. Higher borrowing costs also put pressure on the Spanish government at a time when it is hoping to avoid a full-scale bailout.

The gap between the rates Spain and Italy must pay is growing, with Spain’s borrowing costs rising amid new challenges from disgruntled regional authorities and continuing uncertainty over the central government’s intentions concerning a possible bailout.

Spain’s benchmark 10-year government bond yield rose 30.1 basis points to 5.988 percent late Wednesday, while Italian 10-years rose 10.4 basis points to 5.181 percent. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percent.

Italy’s short-term borrowing costs fell Wednesday at an auction of debt. The Italian Treasury sold 9 billion euros, or $11.6 billion, of 6-month debt priced to yield 1.503 percent. That was down from the 1.585 percent it paid to move debt at the last such auction, and was the lowest it has paid for debt of that maturity since March.

Leaders in Greece and Spain are confronting difficult decisions on spending cuts designed to satisfy either international lenders, or the bond markets, and events in the two nations highlighted the growing European backlash against the politics of austerity.

In Greece, where political leaders are seeking to negotiate a new round of cuts to placate their creditors, protesters clashed with riot police in the first big anti-austerity strike since a new coalition government took power in June.

Several thousand people had converged on the Spanish Parliament on Tuesday, where clashes followed with more than 1,000 riot police. Police baton-charged protesters and some demonstrators broke down barricades and threw rocks and bottles.

The results of an independent assessment on the crisis in the country’s financial system are due to be released this week, along with next year’s budget and plans for new structural reforms.

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has said he is considering whether to seek a new rescue package for his troubled country to lower borrowing costs, but only if they stay too high for too long. He has already secured a promise of up to 100 billion euros to salvage the nation’s sickly banks.

Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussels, said the turmoil in Greece and Spain had added to bearish market sentiment that carried over from comments Tuesday in the United States by Charles I. Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Mr. Plosser said the Fed‘s latest effort to bolster the economy by buying bonds would probably be ineffective and said the central bank could risk its credibility.

“We have budget discussions in Spain, the troika decision in Greece and demonstrations in both places,” Mr. Gijsels said, referring to the trio of international lenders, known as the troika, that are negotiating aid to Greece. “That’s not helping things.”

“I would compare the current situation to August 2010, though,” he added, when the world economy was slowing and there were worries about recession and deflation. “This time all the major central banks are pumping money into the system, but back then it was only the Fed.”

That liquidity, Mr. Gijsels said, has to go somewhere, and if the real economy is moribund, it is likely go into the financial markets, bidding up prices for financial assets.

As a result, he said, he did not expect the current wave of selling to be sustained.

David Jolly reported from Paris.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 27, 2012, 11:38:58 am


Day of rage in Greece as more stringent cuts loom
With wages, pensions and healthcare under threat, protesters flood the streets of Athens

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on September 29, 2012, 11:04:16 am


Greece sure to get next aid tranche: German magazines

BERLIN (Reuters) - Greece will receive its next tranche of international aid despite budget shortfalls and slow progress on reforms because the euro zone does not want the country to leave the common currency, two German magazines reported on Saturday.
Athens will resume talks with the 'troika' of international lenders next week on a tranche worth 31 billion euros ($39.88 billion) needed to avert bankruptcy and a possible euro zone exit.
The Greek government needs a deal so it can push an austerity package through parliament before the next meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers on October 8.
"The Greeks will receive a list of reforms which must be approved by their parliament by a fixed date. The money will be released as soon as lawmakers have voted," a Eurogroup source told the Wirtschaftswoche business weekly.
It did not say what new reforms would be proposed but said the euro zone was now focused on avoiding a Greek exit.
"The fear of a 'domino effect' in the euro zone is too great (not to release the funds)," a senior EU official told the weekly, referring to possible contagion to other heavily indebted states such as Spain if Greece were to default.
A second report in the Focus magazine, citing sources in the European Parliament, also said Greece would receive its tranche.
"The report being drawn up by the 'troika' will turn out in such a way that the money can be paid out," it said.
The troika comprises the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
Asked to comment on the reports, a German finance ministry spokesman said there had been no change in the situation and that the Berlin government was still awaiting the troika report on Greece.
Germany, Europe's biggest economy and paymaster, has long criticized Greece's failure to sort out its public finances and restructure its economy, but Chancellor Angela Merkel and senior members of her center-right coalition have recently started to stress the dangers of pushing Athens out of the euro zone.
Greece, in its fifth year of recession, wants a two-year extension of its bailout plan, something its finance minister has said would cost up to 15 billion euros of extra funding.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on October 08, 2012, 11:35:19 pm
Euro zone, IMF mull 2-year extension for Greek bailout: Greek finance minister



LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - International lenders are considering giving Greece two more years to reach its budget deficit reduction targets, and the extra time could be financed without more money from the euro zone, Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said.
"It is now on the table by all members of the troika," Stournaras told reporters of the 2-year extension.
"All the exercises that we are doing now they assume that the program will last up to 2016, that ... 4.5 percent of GDP (for the budget deficit) will be achieved in 2016 rather than in 2014," he said .
"The implicit assumption is that the program will be extended despite the fact that it remains extremely frontloaded," he said.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on October 11, 2012, 03:08:14 pm


Greek unemployment rises above 25 percent

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Unemployment in Greece hit a record high of 25.1 percent in July as the country's financial crisis continues to exact its heavy toll, official figures showed Thursday.

All indications are that unemployment in Greece will continue to rise. The economy has shrunk by around a fifth since the recession started in 2008 and youth unemployment has pushed way above 50 percent. The economy is expected to enter a sixth year of recession next year.

"This is a very dramatic result of the recession," said Angelos Tsakanikas, head of research at Greece's IOBE economic research foundation.

The state statistics agency said Greece's unemployment rate rose from 24.8 percent in June. According to European statisticians, that would be the same rate as Spain's in August.

The two countries have the highest unemployment rates among the 17 that use the euro. In August, eurozone unemployment stood at an average 11.4 percent, itself the highest level since the single currency was launched in 1999.

Greece's statistical authority said 1.26 million Greeks were out of work in July, with more than 1,000 jobs lost every day over the past year. In the worst-affected 15-24 age group, unemployment was 54.2 percent. In July 2008, a year before Greece's acute financial crisis broke, there were only about 364,000 registered unemployed.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on October 24, 2012, 02:40:21 pm

Greece: We got an extension; EU: No you haven't
By The Associated Press | Associated Press – 4 hrs ago


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's Finance Minister said the country has been granted a long-sought extension to meet the terms of its bailout program — but the claim was swiftly shot down as "speculation" by the European Central Bank and lead lender Germany.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said the deal was struck as part of weeks-long negotiations with its international creditors over a €13.5 billion ($17.56 billion) package of new austerity measures for the next two years, required for continued emergency loan payments.

"What have we achieved today? We have achieved the extension," the minister told parliament. "If we had not been granted that extension, today we not only have needed to take measures worth €13.5 billion euros, but €18.5 billion ($24 billion)."

He added: "We have not gone bankrupt because we still have funds remaining from the previous installment."

One of the conditions of Greece's current €240 billion bailout program is that it reforms the economy so the country can eventually return to the bond markets to raise money.

Greece has asked for a two-year extension on its adjustment program, till the end of 2016, so that it ease the impact of further austerity measures and labor market reforms.

In Berlin, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble bluntly dismissed Stournaras' statement as "speculation"

"I can't confirm this," he told reporters.

"As far as the Federal Finance Ministry and the German government are concerned, there are no new developments."

Schaeuble said creditors were still awaiting a report on Greece's progress by the so-called troika of debt inspectors, from the European Union, the ECB and International Monetary Fund, before any decisions would be made.

ECB President Mario Draghi also poured cold water on the Greek statements.

"The review is not finished yet," he said. "I understand progress has been made but that some parts need to be defined, and I don't know anything more than that. I cannot comment on these rumors."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on October 26, 2012, 03:30:27 pm
If Elections Were Held In Greece Today
19 October 2012, by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

... Europe would be worried to quite worried:

- Anti-bailout Syria: 30.5%

- New Democracy: 27% - Currently ruling

- Golden Dawn (nationalists): 14%

- Pasok and Democratic Left: 5%

In other words, the anti-bailout party and the neo-nazis would have a near majority in parliament.


- 78% of respondents are opposed to new budget measures being agreed between the Greek government and troika

- 81% say country headed in wrong direction

Source: Poll conducted by VPRC for Greece Tomorrow; sample size of 1,003, conducted Oct. 16 - Oct. 17 and has a margin of error of 3.16 percentage point

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on October 26, 2012, 03:31:33 pm
Greece ‘off track,’ will badly miss debt target
26 October 2012, (Reuters - Financial Post)

Greece debt extension could cost up to 30 bn euros: Source
26 October 2012, (Economic Times)

One year after IMF bailout, Greece still big on military spending
26 October 2012, (RT)

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on October 28, 2012, 05:30:18 pm

Germany: No to new Greek debt haircut


BERLIN (AP) — Germany's finance minister has dismissed the idea of governments and other public creditors taking a hit on their Greek debt holdings, arguing that it wouldn't be legally feasible.

However, Wolfgang Schaeuble said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio broadcast Sunday that a debt buyback program — under which Greece would get loans that would allow it to pay off debts — might be possible. That, he said, "is not a trick; it is a consideration that can seriously be engaged in."

Greece is pushing for a two-year extension of the 2014 deadline to meet the terms of its bailout program, a move expected to incur substantial extra costs.

Private creditors agreed earlier this year to take a so-called haircut, or restructuring, on their Greek debt holdings — accepting a 53.5 percent loss on the face value of bonds.

Public-sector creditors were spared; however, German weekly Der Spiegel, without citing sources, reported Sunday that Greece's international debt inspectors are now proposing a new restructuring that would include them.

Schaeuble said guarantees were given at the time of the private-sector restructuring that "that will be all — so it's a bit unrealistic now to talk about further haircuts." He also argued that a new haircut would raise questions over whether other governments in the 17-nation eurozone could continue helping Greece.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on October 30, 2012, 04:31:35 pm

Greece delays austerity vote, warns of 'chaos'
By DEREK GATOPOULOS | Associated Press – 2 hrs 10 mins ago.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's coalition government will delay a vote on major new austerity measures by another week, warning Tuesday there would be financial chaos if a deal is not reached.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told reporters the austerity measures, worth €13.5 billion ($17.4 billion), would be submitted to parliament next week, as the three parties in government continue to disagree over new savings demanded by international bailout lenders.

Stournaras denied local media reports that the bill could be broken up to ease objections by a left-wing junior coalition partner. "All of the (draft legislation) will be submitted next week. I think there is no other way to do it," he said.

Greece's bailout creditors want the austerity package passed if they are to hand over more loans that Greece needs to avoid bankruptcy.

Greece's conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is at odds with the Democratic Left party, a coalition partner that is threatening to vote against the new austerity measures unless labor reforms included in them are scrapped.

Samaras formed a coalition with the traditional rival Socialists and the Democratic Left after general elections in June.

In a statement, the prime minister said he had "exhausted all the available time" to try and reach a consensus.

"The problem is not whether we (introduce) this measure or that measure. On the contrary: It is what we would do if no agreement is reached and the country is led into chaos."


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 07, 2012, 10:19:36 am


Greece to vote on austerity, protests intensify

(Reuters) - Greece's coalition government hopes to overcome its own divisions and defy protesters' fury at parliament's gates on Wednesday to push through an austerity package needed to secure an injection of aid and avert bankruptcy.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to narrowly win support for the cocktail of budget cuts, tax hikes and labor reforms. The smallest party in his conservative-liberal coalition will oppose the measures, leaving him with a margin of just a handful of votes.

Tens of thousands of union workers plan to descend on the assembly in a second day of a nationwide strike that has brought most public transport to a halt and shut schools, banks and government offices.

Backed by the leftist opposition, unions say the measures will hit the poor and spare the wealthy, while also deepening a five year recession that has wiped out a fifth of the Mediterranean country's output and driven unemployment to 25 percent.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 10, 2012, 10:01:54 am
Greek suicide epidemic continues: Debt-strapped pensioner hangs himself



A 61-year-old Greek pensioner has hung himself from a tree in a public park after succumbing to the pressure of crushing debt. A note in his pocket indicates he is merely the latest in a rash of economic crisis-induced suicides.

The pensioner’s lifeless body was found dangling by an attendant in a public park not far from his home in the suburb of Nikaia, Athens. The attendant also found a suicide note in the man’s pocket, The Athens news reports.

The man, identifying himself as Alexandros, said he was a man of few vices who “worked all day.”  However, he blamed himself from committing one “horrendous crime”: becoming a professional at the age of 40 and plunging himself into debt. He referred to himself as a 61-year-old idiot who had to pay, hoping his grandchildren would not be born in Greece, as the country’s prospects were so bleak.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 13, 2012, 11:28:54 am


EU, IMF clash over Greece revives debt crisis fears

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A public clash between Greece's international lenders over how Athens can bring its debts down to a sustainable level has reignited fears that Europe's troubles could flare up anew.

Euro zone finance ministers suggested Greece, where the euro zone debt crisis began, should be given until 2022 to lower its debt to GDP ratio to 120 percent but International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde insisted the existing target of 2020 should remain, in an unusually public airing of disagreement.

Beneath her sharp exchange with Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the Eurogroup of finance ministers, lies a rift over whether euro zone governments need to write off some of Greece's debt to them to make it manageable. IMF officials have pressed for such a "haircut" while Germany, the biggest contributor to euro zone bailout funds, has vehemently rejected it as illegal.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters on Tuesday that the 2020 deadline was "a little too ambitious".




Canada dollar weaker over Greece uncertainty

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was slightly weaker against the U.S. currency on Tuesday in choppy trade, with uncertainty over aid to Greece hurting the value of riskier assets.

European countries deliberating on the payment of delayed loans to Greece could decide to bundle several tranches together in a single transfer of roughly 44 billion euros, a German government source said.

The news lifted the euro, but investors remained concerned as Greece's international lenders clashed over the time frame Athens needs to bring its debt down.

"This morning has been a push and pull from risk appetite, with mostly weaker risk appetite prevailing as it relates to confusion about the next payment for Greece," said Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed income and currency strategy of Royal Bank of Canada.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 14, 2012, 09:58:33 am
Greece Seen Needing $41 Billion in Challenge to Creditors
12 November 2012, by Rainer Buergin, James G. Neuger and Brian Parkin (Bloomberg)


Greece may need as much as €32.6 billion ($41 billion) in extra financing through 2016, putting pressure on a German-led bloc of creditors to make concessions in order to prevent a renewed flareup of the European debt crisis.

Plans to give Greece two more years to meet deficit- reduction targets would open up financing gaps of €15 billion through 2014 and €17.6 billion in 2015-2016, according to an assessment by the country’s creditors that was obtained by Bloomberg News.

The report ahead of tonight’s meeting of euro-area finance ministers in Brussels gave a mixed review of Greece’s progress from debt to recovery, saluting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s coalition for “a significant catching-up,” while saying that “risks to the program remain very large.”

Greece’s recession-hit and debt-encumbered economy returns to the spotlight just as concerns mount over Spain and Cyprus and at a time when crisis management is clouded by forecasts that the 17-nation currency bloc’s economy will virtually grind to a halt next year.

Representatives of creditor governments said they won’t be rushed into easing up on Greece.

On his way into the meeting, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble of Germany, the biggest contributor to the European bailouts, said the priority is on “thoroughness” and added that Germany’s stance will be dictated by its parliament.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 14, 2012, 10:00:58 am
Europe Gives Greece 2 More Years to Reach Deficit Targets
13 November 2012, by James G. Neuger and Stephanie Bodoni (Bloomberg)


Euro-area finance ministers gave Greece two extra years to wrestle down its budget deficit, pledging to plug the resulting financing gaps in order to keep the country in the single currency and prevent a renewed flareup of the debt crisis.

Finance ministers granted Greece until 2016 to cut the deficit to 2% of GDP.

They put off until Nov. 20 a decision on how to cover additional Greek needs of as much as €32.6 billion ($41 billion) and left unclear whether the International Monetary Fund will continue to contribute.

In the latest compromise in three years of crisis fighting, creditors led by Germany opted to keep money flowing to Greece instead of risking a default that could lead to the nation’s exit from the euro and stir more turmoil for countries left in it.

“Greece has done a big part of what it was supposed to do, adopted an ambitious reform program and a budget for 2013 that’s impressive,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters in Brussels late yesterday after chairing the ministers’ meeting.

He said “a certain number of avenues” except the writedown of official loans are being looked at for filling the funding gap.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 14, 2012, 10:02:13 am
Greek economy shrank by 7.2 pct in Q3, pointing to worse than expected recession
14 November 2012, (Ekathimerini)

Greece’s economy contracted by 7.2% of GDP in the third quarter of this year, according to data published by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Wednesday.

“Available non-seasonally-adjusted data indicate that, in the third quarter of 2012, the GDP at constant prices of year 2005 decreased by 7.2% in comparison with the third quarter of 2011,” ELSTAT said.

This represents the deepest contraction so far this year, as the economy shrank by 6.7% in the first quarter and 6.3% in the second, according to revised figures presented by ELSTAT

The figure could yet be revised but puts in doubt the Finance Ministry’s estimate of a 6.5% overall contraction of the economy this year.

ELSTAT also revised figures for previous years’ contraction, leading to recession figures for 2010 and 2011 showing an even deeper recession than previously though.

GDP contraction for 2010 was revised to 4.9% from 3.5%. For 2011, it increased from 6.9% to 7.1%.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 14, 2012, 10:05:33 am
Greece government approves more austerity cuts

Capital Account: Greece back on the Brink, IEA Projects US Oil Bonanza and Betting on a Grand Fiscal Bargain! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZajQ7broos

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 14, 2012, 05:50:52 pm


Anti-austerity marches turn violent across southern Europe

MADRID/LISBON (Reuters) - Demonstrations turned violent in Spain and Portugal after millions took part in a mostly peaceful general strike on Wednesday in organized labor's biggest Europe-wide challenge to austerity policies since the debt crisis began three years ago.

In Lisbon, marches ended with a level of violence not seen since the crisis began, with police charging demonstrators who hurled stones and bottles, leaving nearly 50 people hurt.

Protesters in Madrid burned rubbish bins, filling the central boulevard with smoke, while in Barcelona demonstrators burned police cars.

Riot police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters in both cities, where more than 140 people were arrested, including two said by police to be carrying material to make explosives, while more than 70 were reported injured.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled, schools were shut, factories were at a standstill and trains barely ran in Spain and Portugal where unions held their first joint general strike. Stoppages in Belgium interrupted international rail services.

Workers also protested in Greece and France against austerity policies that have taken a heavy economic toll and aggravated mass unemployment.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 19, 2012, 08:09:01 am
Was pming with a brethren over this issue the other day - and we agreed that pretty much while yes, the MSM does a decent job reporting what's going on behind the scenes of this engineered collapse, at the same time, all of it is really a dog and pony show.

For example, even all of the independent news media sources will contradict each other. Like Zero Hedge will say one thing, while Infowars will say another. Bloomburg news will say one thing, while Russia Today will say another. Also, while Zero Hedge is actually a decent news source, one time they DID say collapsing the system may not be a bad idea after all b/c somehow we need a new system.  ::) Uhm...isn't that what the NWO minions want? A NEW system? And Russia Today endorses global warming(even though they classify themselves as a "truther" source). Go figure...

Pt being that this system will collapse when the NWO minions get permission to do so. Or on the flip side of the coin, this whole dog and pony show may be likely used as fearmongering to get the masses to buy into a Socialist dictatorship.(ie-on this same flip side of the coin, this global system collapsing may not happen until the 3rd seal in Rev 6 gets unleashed, which will then usher in the mark of the beast midway through the 7 year trib - obviously we're not in the tribulation yet)

Anyhow, yes, good to read these articles, but always discern all of these news articles you read and watch b/c some will contain non-facts while every source will contradict each other.

1Th 5:21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 21, 2012, 09:03:26 am
Well, this is pretty big b/c in previous times over the last couple of years, they've seem to have no problems in "reaching agreements" to give Greece whatever "aid" they need. Who knows if they "reach an agreement" ultimately(even though it won't be good for anyone either way). But nonetheless you have this in Greece, Spain, the entire Europe and here in the States, what's really escalating in the Middle East now...someone please pass us the popcorn...


Eurozone fails to reach deal on Greece aid

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union officials failed Wednesday to reach a deal on giving Greece more aid, prolonging uncertainty over the future of the debt-hobbled country and the 17-member eurozone.

Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the meeting of finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro, said the talks, which lasted nearly 12 hours, will reconvene on Monday. It was the second consecutive meeting at which the ministers failed to agree on a deal, highlighting the depth of their divisions over how to handle Greece's huge debt problem without reaching more deeply into the pockets of their own taxpayers.

Juncker, however, said he was optimistic that a deal could be reached.

"We are very close to a result. We see no major stumbling block," he said. There are technical issues and calculations to be made in coming days, he said.

But Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, which gives Greece bailout loans alongside the eurozone, sounded a more cautious note, saying only "we have narrowed the positions."


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Boldhunter on November 25, 2012, 08:21:03 pm
On another thread someone requested checking facts re: Merkel's genetic relationship to Hitler..
 But 50K Grecian's are VERY unhappy with her:


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 29, 2012, 09:02:42 am
When will any of this end...


Staying afloat: Europe releases more money for Greece
After a 12-hour meeting lasting into the wee hours last night, Greece's creditors agreed to cut its debt and release more bailout funds, staving off yet another Greek bankruptcy.

After weeks of struggling in marathon meetings, Eurogroup finance ministers have finally come up with another bailout package for Greece, removing from Athens the imminent threat of a state bankruptcy and a Greek exit from the common currency, the euro.

Ministers from the 17 eurozone countries and officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) agreed after another 12-hour meeting in Brussels last night to cut Greek sovereign debts by €40 billion ($52 billion) and to release another tranche of €44 billion ($57 billion) of bailout loans. The money will be used to refinance Greek banks and to pay salaries and pensions for state employees.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 06, 2012, 07:54:14 pm


Greek jobless rate up to record 26 percent

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's unemployment rate rose to a new record of 26 percent in September, underscoring the economic plight in the country as it heads toward a sixth year of recession.

The Greek Statistical Authority said Thursday that 1.295 million people — more than one-fourth of the workforce in this nation of 10 million — were recorded as unemployed in September. Unemployment rose from 25.3 percent the previous month and 18.9 percent a year earlier.

Greek unemployment has surged to the highest since the 1960s as a result of harsh austerity measures imposed in return for vital international rescue loans.

The conservative-led coalition government is finalizing a major tax reform bill, demanded by international rescue creditors as one of several conditions for continued payments. It has promised to try to stem the country's recession, despite being forced last month to introduce another round of deeply unpopular austerity measures that are part of Greece's bailout commitments.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 06, 2012, 07:55:37 pm


S&P cuts Greece to 'selective default'
S&P lowers Greece's credit rating to 'selective default' on auction plans

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's has lowered Greece's credit rating to "selective default" in light of its offer to buy back bonds at well below their face value.

Greece has announced plans to spend up to $13 billion on the buyback in a bid to bring its staggering debt load under control.

S&P says it sees the buyback as essentially a distressed debt restructuring tantamount to a default. The rating agency says it may raise its long-term credit rating on Greece back to junk-grade "CCC" once the buyback is complete.

Greece has fallen under S&P's default rating before. It returned to junk status this spring after it completed a major debt writedown with private creditors.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 10, 2013, 09:14:47 am

Unemployment in Greece reaches record highs


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Unemployment has reached new highs in Greece, with October 2012 figures showing the jobless rate at 26.8 percent, a major increase from the same month in 2011.
The country's Statistical Authority said Thursday that unemployment increased from the 26.2 percent in September 2012, and marked a significant jump from the 19.7 percent of October 2011. The young are the worst affected, with 56.6 percent of those aged between 15 and 24 out of work in October 2011.
Greece has been struggling through a severe financial crisis since late 2009, and has been dependent on international rescue loans since May 2010. In return, the government has imposed strict austerity measures that have slashed salaries, increased taxes and plunged the country into a recession. Tens of thousands of businesses have shut down.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 10, 2013, 12:27:00 pm
Bad loans increase by 50 percent in 2012
2 January 2013, by Yiannis Papadoyiannis (Ekathimerini)

Nonperforming loans soared in 2012, with bank officials estimating the rise at some 50% on an annual basis.

Officials say that NPLs came close to 24% of all loans at the end of December, from 16% in December 2011, while all bad loans come to a considerable €55 billion.

This means that the sum of NPLs exceeds the total of the funds set aside for the recapitalization of the local credit system, which amount to €50 billion.

Nevertheless, there has been a notable improvement in economic conditions that is reflected in the significant slowdown in the rate of creation of new bad loans.

However, unless the growth of new NPLs is contained, banks may need yet another recapitalization process at the end of 2013, the same sources say.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 16, 2013, 04:45:34 pm
IMF Approves 3.2 Billion-Euro Disbursement for Greece
16 January 2013, by Sandrine Rastello (Bloomberg)

The International Monetary Fund agreed to disburse €3.2 billion ($4.3 billion) to Greece after the country made new budget cuts, received more favorable aid terms from European nations and conducted a bond buyback.

The IMF board made the decision during a meeting today, it said in a press statement.

The funds are part of a joint €130 billion package with European nations, which unblocked their share last month.

“The situation on the Greek front is improving,” Thomas Costerg, an economist at Standard Chartered in London, said in an e-mail.

“This said, the situation remains fragile, and despite the buyback Greece’s huge debt is still an issue.”

The loan had been frozen since June as a recession and domestic opposition to the program drove Greece away from measures agreed to just three months earlier.

While European policy makers now turn their attention to reviving growth in the 17-country monetary zone and to bailing out Cyprus, Greece may yet again creep back on their agenda.

The government has to deliver on its commitments to earn each future payout and European finance ministers committed to “additional measures” if the country’s debt reduction veers off track.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 12, 2013, 09:27:29 am


Greece raises 1.3 billion euros in T-Bill auction

Greece raises 1.3 billion euros in T-Bill auction, interest rate roughly unchanged

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece has raised €1.3 billion ($1.74 billion) in a Treasury bill auction, with the interest rate paid on the three-month loan roughly unchanged from the last such auction.

The Public Debt Management Agency said the 13-week bonds were sold Tuesday at an interest rate of 4.05 percent, compared with 4.07 percent paid at a Jan. 15 auction.

Greece has been relying on emergency loans from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund since losing access to long-term debt markets in 2010 but it has maintained a market presence with regular Treasury bill auctions.

Tuesday's sale was oversubscribed 1.76 times.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 12, 2013, 12:28:43 pm


News Summary: Metal robbers on the rise in Greece

News Summary: Metal robberies more frequent and more brazen in crisis-struck Greece

THE OLD: When Greece adopted the euro, it poured billions into modernizing its infrastructure, building spectacular bridges, highways, and a brand new rail transit network for Athens.

THE NEW: Now, locked in recession and crushed by debt, Greeks are targeting many of those projects, gouging out the metal and selling it for scrap to feed ravenous demand driven by China and India. Authorities say mainstream Greeks, not just those on the margins of society, are increasingly turning to metal robbery.

THE IMPACT: Thefts of industrial cable, power-line transformers and other metal objects have triggered blackouts and massive train delays.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 14, 2013, 09:11:55 am


Greek unemployment hits record as poverty spreads

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Unemployment in Greece rose to a record 27 percent in November as separate surveys on Thursday showed the country remains stuck in recession and predicted nearly a third of the population would be in poverty by the end of the year.
The Statistics Agency said unemployment increased from a rate of 26.6 percent in October and 20.8 percent in November the previous year. More than 30,000 people lost their job in November, the agency said, with the jobless rate accelerating from earlier in the year.
Worst affected are the young, with 61.7 percent of those in the 15-24 age group without a job.
Greece is mired in the sixth year of a recession, and has been relying for nearly three years on international rescue loans to keep it afloat. In return for the bailout, the government has imposed major spending cuts and tax hikes which have hammered the economy, causing an increase in poverty and forcing thousands of businesses to close.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 19, 2013, 08:50:04 pm


Anti-austerity strike to bring Greece to a standstill

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek workers walk off the job on Wednesday in a nationwide anti-austerity strike that will disrupt transport, shut public schools and tax offices and leave hospitals working with emergency staff.
Greece's two biggest labor unions plan to bring much of the near-bankrupt country to a standstill during a 24-hour strike over the cuts, which they say only deepen the plight of a people struggling to get through the country's worst peacetime downturn.
Representing about 2.5 million workers, the unions have gone on strike repeatedly since Europe's debt crisis erupted in late 2009, testing the government's will to implement necessary reforms in the face of growing public anger.
"The (strike) is our answer to the dead-end policies that have squeezed the life out of workers, impoverished society and plunged the economy into recession and crisis," said the private sector union GSEE, which is organizing the walkout with its public sector sister union ADEDY.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 20, 2013, 11:30:41 pm


News Summary: Greece's workforce starts to crack

News Summary: Greeks going unpaid as jobs vanish, president warns of 'societal explosion'

NO-PAY DAYS: Not only are Greece's 1.35 million unemployed unable to make ends meet, but a growing number of those in work are struggling as more and more companies can no longer make regular salary payments.

TAXING TIMES: As well finding it harder to feed, heat and clothe themselves and their families, Greek workers also have to pay increasingly hefty taxes the government is relying on to turn the economy around.

DARK ROAD AHEAD? Union and independent analysts are worried Greece will face further years of economic struggle and protest as too many demands are placed on a shrinking workforce.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 21, 2013, 04:42:03 pm


Crisis forces Greeks to skimp on weddings, funerals

ATHENS (Reuters) - Fewer Greeks are walking down the aisle as their country's deep economic crisis takes a toll on their famously lavish weddings, an age-old ritual that has become an unbearable cost for those struggling to make ends meet.
Religious wedding ceremonies in bell tower chapels overflowing with flowers, meter-high candles and candy wrapped in tulle, are a deeply ingrained tradition in Greece, where the powerful Orthodox Church plays an influential role in society.
But as recession slides into its sixth year, unemployment rises and poverty spreads, a church wedding is a luxury many couples can no longer afford.
For 28-year-old bride Nafsika Koutrokoi, who works at a butcher shop, fulfilling her dream of marrying her fiancé, a cable technician, in church was a difficult decision that required huge sacrifices.
"Things are quite tough right now," she said after the wedding. "We cut down on many things, from invitations to the reception, on everything."
The number of Greek couples who tied the knot in church tumbled to 28,000 in 2011, two years into Europe's debt crisis, compared to the pre-crisis level of 40,000 in 2008, according to the country's statistic service ELSTAT.
In contrast, the number of low-key civil unions skyrocketed to 26,000 in 2011 from about 8,000 a decade earlier.
As Greece's crisis deepens and successive governments are forced to impose wage cuts and tax rises in exchange for the foreign aid keeping the economy afloat, the wedding industry's countless shops and planners are also feeling the pinch.
"They want whatever is cheapest, which often is not possible because the cost of everything is rising," said wedding shop owner Anastasia Theophanopoulou, whose family business has sold wedding supplies for decades. "There is a drastic drop."
The downturn has also had an unexpected effect on another ceremony revered by many Greeks - funerals.
With more and more Greeks having trouble paying for funerals, municipal authorities in Athens have reduced the cost of burial in the capital's cemeteries.
"There was always money for the deceased, but now people are in a very bad state," said Athens City Councillor Nikos Kokkinos, who is responsible for cemeteries.
Some Greeks do not collect their dead loved ones from the hospital to avoid having to pay for the funeral. Others can no longer afford a traditional marble tombstone and so leave plots as simple dirt mounds overgrown by weeds, a cemetery official said.
Funeral home director Vassilis Tranou has been forced to lower prices at his family-run business and sometimes will do a funeral - which costs at least 1,500 euros - for free.
"People don't have the money anymore or they don't spend like they used to, and Greeks are usually people who take great care with the people they have lost," Tranou said.
"It makes your hair stand on end," he said, recounting the story of a man who was only able to bury his mother by selling a family heirloom of four gold coins.
(Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Roger Atwood)

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 11, 2013, 12:14:13 pm
Suffering Greece's economy shrank again at end of last year

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's economy shrank at an annual 5.7 percent in the last quarter of 2012, combining for a 20 percent slump in real terms since 2008.

It would have been worse but for a 17.5 percent drop in the country's fourth quarter trade gap, the country's statistics service ELSTAT said on Monday

The revised gross domestic product data showed a slightly a milder contraction than a 6 percent flash estimate made in February, but Greece is still expected to contract for a sixth straight year this year.

The government and the central bank both project a 4.5 percent 2013 contraction.

"The preliminary data confirmed the continuing contraction of domestic demand, with lower imports providing a positive influence," said Eurobank economist Platon Monokroussos.

Consumption, the main driver behind Greece's gross domestic product (GDP), fell 9 percent year-on-year, continuing to weigh on output.

Gross capital investment fell 10.3 percent in the fourth quarter, its rate of decline slowing compared to previous quarters.

The latest figures bring the full-year 2012 contraction to 6.4 percent, broadly in line with government projections.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 11, 2013, 06:38:16 pm
Cash-strapped Greece puts govt buildings on block

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's cash-strapped government detailed Monday its plans to sell 28 state-owned buildings on long-term lease, including tax offices, ministry buildings, and the main police headquarters in Athens. A government privatization fund said it hoped to make €30 million ($39 million) annually from the lease agreements lasting 20-25 years. Included on the list of buildings for sale are the main properties used by the ministries of justice, education and culture, 12 tax offices and the greater Athens police headquarters. Potential investors should express their interest by April 19, according to a statement by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund. Greece is under pressure to speed up its privatization program by its rescue lenders, the other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund, who have been providing bailout funds since 2010 that are set to total €240 billion ($312 billion).

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on March 12, 2013, 05:37:18 pm
Greek bailout program review hits snag

Greece: Debt inspectors delay meeting with PM after talks stall on tax arrears, state jobs

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Inspectors from Greece's rescue lenders delayed a meeting with the prime minister which had been scheduled for Tuesday after talks stalled over tax collection difficulties and promised reductions in public sector staff.  The talks between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the inspectors from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund — known as the Troika — were postponed by one day until Wednesday, following hours of negotiations involving members of his Cabinet.  "We are working to finalize as many issues as we can ... I don't think we'll get to all of them," Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said.

Officials in the conservative-led government had aimed at resolving differences with the Troika ahead of a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. Greece is due to receive its next bailout loan installment of €2.8 billion ($3.65 billion) later this month, but Finance Ministry officials say deficit-reduction talks have been held up by creditors' demands for faster implementation of programs for public sector staff cuts and tax arrears payments. The country has been surviving on rescue loans for nearly three years and is struggling to collect additional taxes levied on the recession-hit population as part of austerity measures imposed in return for the bailout money.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on April 27, 2013, 06:42:39 pm
Greece starts firing civil servants for first time in a century
The Greek government began its first mass-firing of public-sector workers in more than 100 years this week, part of an effort to lay off 180,000 by 2015 under Europe-imposed austerity.

By Nikolia Apostolou, Correspondent / April 26, 2013

Pushed by its European creditors amid its crippling economic crisis, Greece began this week to do something it hasn't done in more than 100 years: fire public-sector workers en masse.

Following weeks of tough negotiations with its lenders – the "troika" of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the European Central Bank – the Greek government started laying off public-sector workers in an effort to implement the austerity that the troika has demanded. The first two civil servants were let go on Wednesday under a new law that speeds up the process – one, a policeman, for stealing debit cards, and the other for 110 days of unexcused absence.

The mass layoffs were announced last week in a televised address by the Greek prime minister himself, Antonis Samaras. Despite the massive unemployment in Greece, the goal of the government has become the laying off of 180,000 civil servants by 2015. “This is not a human sacrifice," said Prime Minister Samaras. “It’s an upgrading of the public sector and it’s one demand of Greek society.”

Samaras though, promised new positions to be created: “An equal number [of employees] will be hired on merit,” he added.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on January 03, 2015, 03:00:18 pm
Germany believes euro zone could cope with Greece exit: report

(Reuters) - The German government believes that the euro zone would now be able to cope with a Greece exit if that proved to be necessary, Der Spiegel news magazine reported on Saturday, citing unnamed government sources.

Both Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble believe the euro zone has implemented enough reforms since the height of the regional crisis in 2012 to make a potential Greece exit manageable, Der Spiegel reported.

"The danger of contagion is limited because Portugal and Ireland are considered rehabilitated," the weekly news magazine quoted one government source saying.

In addition, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the euro zone's bailout fund, is an "effective" rescue mechanism and was now available, another source added. Major banks would be protected by the banking union.

The German government in Berlin could not be reached for comment.

It is still unclear how a euro zone member country could leave the euro and still remain in the European Union, but Der Spiegel quoted a "high-ranking currency expert" as saying that "resourceful lawyers" would be able to clarify.

According to the report, the German government considers a Greece exit almost unavoidable if the leftwing Syriza opposition party led by Alexis Tsipras wins an election set for Jan. 25.

The Greek election was called after lawmakers failed to elect a president last month. It pits Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' conservative New Democracy party, which imposed unpopular budget cuts under Greece's bailout deal, against Tsipras' Syriza, who want to cancel austerity measures and a chunk of Greek debt.

Opinion polls show Syriza is holding a lead over New Democracy, although its margin has narrowed to about three percentage points in the run-up to the vote.

German Finance Minister Schaeuble has already warned Greece against straying from a path of economic reform, saying any new government would be held to the pledges made by the current Samaras government.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on February 18, 2015, 06:48:39 am
Greece Rejects Bailout Deal – Deadline To Avoid Financial Chaos In Europe Is March 1st

Europe is on the verge of a horrifying financial meltdown, and there are only a few short weeks left to avert total disaster.  On Monday, talks that were supposed to bring about yet another temporary “resolution” to the Greek debt crisis completely fell apart.  The new Greek government has entirely rejected the idea of a six month extension of the current bailout.  The Greeks want a new deal which would enable them to implement the promises that have been made to the voters.  But that is not going to fly with the Germans, among others.  They expect the Greeks to fulfill the obligations that were agreed to previously.  The two sides are not even in the same ballpark at this point, and things are starting to get very personal.  It is no secret that the new Greek government does not like the Germans, and the Germans are not particularly fond of the Greeks at this point.  But unless they can find a way to work out a deal, things could get quite messy very rapidly.  The Greek government has about three weeks of cash left, and any changes to the current bailout arrangement would have to be approved by parliaments all over Europe by March 1st.  And the stakes are incredibly high.  If there is no deal, we could see a Greek debt default, Greece could be forced to leave the eurozone and go back to the drachma, the euro could collapse to all time lows, all the banks all over Europe that are exposed to Greek government debt could be faced with absolutely massive losses, and the 26 trillion dollars in derivatives that are directly tied to the value of the euro could start to unravel.  In essence, if things go badly this could be enough to push us into a global financial crisis.

On Monday, eurozone officials tried to get the Greeks to extend the current bailout package for six months with the current austerity provisions in place.  Greek government officials responded by saying that “those who bring this back are wasting their time” and that those negotiating on behalf of the eurozone are being “unreasonable”…

    A Greek government official said that a draft text presented to eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday spoke of Greece extending its current bailout package and as such was “unreasonable” and would not be accepted.

    Without specifying who put forward the text to the meeting chaired by Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the official said: “Some people’s insistence on the Greek government implementing the bailout is unreasonable and cannot be accepted.”

Most observers have speculated that the new Greek government would give in to the demands of the rest of the eurozone when push came to shove.

But these new Greek politicians are a different breed.  They are not establishment lackeys.  Rather, they are very principled radicals, and they are not about to be pushed around.  I certainly do not agree with their politics, but I admire the fact that they are willing to stand up for what they believe.  That is a very rare thing these days.

On Monday, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis shared the following in the New York Times…

    I am often asked: What if the only way you can secure funding is to cross your red lines and accept measures that you consider to be part of the problem, rather than of its solution? Faithful to the principle that I have no right to bluff, my answer is: The lines that we have presented as red will not be crossed.

Does that sound like a man that is going to back down to you?

Meanwhile, the other side continues to dig in as well.

Just consider the words of the German finance minister…

    Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German finance minister, accused the Greek government of “behaving irresponsibly” by threatening to tear up agreements made with the eurozone in return for access to the loans which are all that stand between Greece and financial collapse.

    “It seems like we have no results so far. I’m quite skeptical. The Greek government has not moved, apparently,” he said.

    “As long as the Greek government doesn’t want a program, I don’t have to think about options.”

Global financial markets are still acting as if they fully expect a deal to get done eventually.

I am not so sure.

And without a doubt, time is running short.  As I mentioned above, something has got to be finalized by March 1st.  The following comes from the Wall Street Journal…

    Any changes to the content or expiration date of Greece’s existing €240 billion ($273 billion) bailout have to be decided by Friday, to give national parliaments in Germany, Finland and the Netherlands enough time to approve them before the end of the month. Without such a deal, Greece will be on its own on March 1, cut loose from the rescue loans from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund that have sustained it for almost five years.

So what happens if there is no deal and Greece is forced to leave the eurozone?

Below, I have shared an excerpt from an article that details what Capital Economics believes would happen in the event of a “Grexit”…

    The drachma would be back. The euro would be effectively abandoned, and Greece would return to the drachma, its previous currency (it might take a new name). The drachma would likely tumble in value against the euro as soon as it was issued, and how much the government could print quickly would be a big issue.
    It would have to be fast, with capital controls. There would be people trying to pull their money out of Greece’s banks en masse. The Greek government would have to make that illegal pretty quickly. The European Central Bank drew up Grexit plans in 2012, and might be dusting them off now.
    European life support for Greek banks would be withdrawn. Greek banks can currently access emergency liquidity assistance from the ECB, which would be removed if Greece left the euro.
    Likely unrest and disorder. Barclays expects that this sudden economic collapse would “aggravate social unrest”, and notes that historically similar moves have caused a 45-85% devaluation of the currency. Capital Economics suggests that the drop could be more mild, closer to 20%, and Oxford Economics says 30%.
    Greece would resume economic policymaking. Greece’s central bank would probably start doing its own QE programme, and the government would likely return to running deficits, no longer restrained by bailout rules (though investors would probably want large returns, given the risk of another default).
    Inflation would spike immediately, but both Capital Economics and Oxford Economics say that should be temporary. It might look a bit like Russia this year — with the new currency in freefall until it finds its level against the euro, prices inside Greece would rise at dramatic speed. The inflation might be temporary, however, because with unemployment above 20%, Greece has plenty of spare labour slack to produce more.

That certainly does not sound good.

And once Greece leaves, everyone would be wondering who is next, because there are quite a few other deeply financially troubled nations in the eurozone.

David Stockman believes that Spain is a prime candidate…

    In spite of the “recovery” in Spain, close to 24% are still unemployed. That statistic explains Pessimism in the Streets.

    The crisis is here to stay according to significant majority of Spaniards. The general perception is that the current situation in which the country is negative and far from getting better, can only stay stagnant or even worse.

    A Metroscopia poll published in El País makes it clear that the Spanish are unhappy with the current state of the country. Five out of six (83%) see the economic situation as “bad”, while more than half of the remaining perceive “regular”.

Right now, Europe is already teetering on the brink of an economic depression.

If this Greek debt crisis is not resolved, it could set in motion a chain of events which could start collapsing financial institutions all over Europe.

Yes, we have been here before and a deal has always emerged in the end.

But this time is different.  This time very idealistic radicals are running things in Greece, and the “old guard” in Europe has no intention of giving in to them.

So let’s watch and see how this game of “chicken” plays out.

I have a feeling that it is not going to end well.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on February 20, 2015, 09:58:31 am
It’s Germany vs. Greece, And The Very Survival Of The Eurozone Is At Stake

Is this the beginning of the end for the eurozone?  On Thursday, Germany rejected a Greek request for a six-month loan extension.  The Germans insisted that the Greek proposal did not require the Greeks to adhere to the austerity restrictions which previous agreements had forced upon them.  But Greek voters have already very clearly rejected the status quo, and the new Greek government has stated unequivocally that it will not be bound by the current bailout arrangement.  So can Germany and Greece find some sort of compromise that will be acceptable to both of them?  It certainly does not help that some Greek politicians have been comparing the current German government to the Nazis, and the Germans have fired back with some very nasty comments about the Greeks.  Unfortunately for both of them, time is running out.  The Greek government will run out of money in just a couple of weeks, and without a deal there is a very good chance that Greece will be forced to leave the euro.  In fact, this week Commerzbank AG increased the probability of a “Grexit” to 50 percent.  And if Greece does leave the eurozone, it could spark a full blown European financial crisis which would be absolutely catastrophic.

What the Greeks want right now is a six month loan extension which would give them much more economic flexibility than under the current agreement.  Unfortunately for the Greeks, Germany has rejected this proposal…

    Germany rejected a Greek proposal for a six-month extension to its euro zone loan agreement on Thursday, saying it was “not a substantial solution” because it did not commit Athens to stick to the conditions of its international bailout.

    Berlin’s stance set the scene for tough talks at a crucial meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Friday when Greece’s new leftist-led government, racing to avoid running out of money within weeks, will face pressure to make further concessions.

    As the biggest creditor and EU paymaster, Germany has the clout to block a deal and cast Greece adrift without a financial lifeline, potentially pushing it toward the euro zone exit.

Even though Germany is already saying no to this deal, Greece is still hoping that the Eurogroup will accept the deal that it has proposed…

    “The Greek government submitted a letter to the Eurogroup asking for a six-month extension of the loan agreement. Tomorrow’s Eurogroup has only two options: either to accept or reject the Greek request,” a government  official said. “It will then be clear who wants to find a solution and who doesn’t.” Earlier on Thursday, the German finance ministry rejected Athens’ request for an extension by saying it fell short of the conditions set out earlier this week by the euro zone.

At this point, the odds of a deal going through don’t look good.

But there is always next week.  It is possible that something could still happen.

However, if there is no deal and Greece is forced out of the euro, the consequences for Greece and for the rest of the eurozone could be quite dramatic.

The following is how the Independent summarized what could happen to Greece…

    An immediate financial crisis and a new, deep, recession. Without external financial support the country would have to default on its debts and, probably, start printing its own currency again in order to pay civil servants. Its banks would also lose access to funding from the European Central Bank.

    To prevent these institutions collapsing Athens would have impose controls on the movement of money out of the country. The international value of the new Greek currency would inevitably be much lower than the euro. That would mean an instant drop in living standards for Greeks as import prices spike. And if Greeks have foreign debts which they have to pay back in euros they will also be instantly worse off. There could be a cascade of defaults.

That doesn’t sound pretty at all.

The most frightening part for those that have money in Greek banks would be the capital controls that would be imposed.  People would have to deal with strict restrictions on how much money they could take out of their accounts and on how much money they could take out of the country.

In anticipation of this happening, people are already pulling money out of Greek banks at a staggering pace…

    In the midst of the dramatic showdown in Brussels between the new Greek government and its European creditors, many Greek depositors—spooked by the prospect of a Greek default or, worse, an exit from the euro zone and a possible return to the drachma—have been pulling euros out of the nation’s banks in record amounts over the last few days.

    The Bank of Greece and the European Central Bank won’t report official cash outflows for January until the end of the month. But sources in the Greek banking sector have told Greek newspapers that as much as 25 billion euros (US $28.4 billion) have left Greek banks since the end of December. According to the same sources, an estimated 900 million euros flowed out of Greek banks on Tuesday alone, the day after the talks broke up in Brussels, sparking fears that measures will be taken to stem the outflow. On Thursday, by mid-afternoon, deposits had shrunk by about 680 million euros (US $77.3 million).

    “If outflows reach 1 billion euros, capital controls might need to be imposed,” said Thanasis Koukakis, a financial editor for Estia a conservative daily, and To Vima, an influential Sunday newspaper.

And if we do indeed witness a “Grexit”, the rest of Europe would be deeply affected as well.

The following is how the Independent summarized what could happen to the rest of the continent…

    There would probably be some financial contagion as financial investors wake up to the fact that euro membership is not irreversible. There could a “flight to safety” as depositors pull euros out of other potentially vulnerable eurozone members such as Portugal, Spain or Italy to avoid taking a hit. European company share prices could also fall sharply if investors panic and divert their cash into the government bonds of states such as Germany and Finland.

    The question is how severe this contagion would be. The continent’s politicians and regulators seem to think the impact would be relatively small, saying that Europe’s banks have reduced their cross-border exposure to Greece and that general confidence in the future of the eurozone is much stronger than it was a few years ago. But others think this is too complacent. The truth is that no one knows for sure.

To be honest, I think that the rest of the eurozone is being far too complacent about what Greece leaving would mean.

There are all kinds of implications that most people are not even discussing yet.

For example, just consider what a “Grexit” would mean for the European interbank payment system known as Target2.  The following comes from an article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard…

    In normal times, Target2 adjustments are routine and self-correcting. They occur automatically as money is shifted around the currency bloc. The US Federal Reserve has a similar internal system to square books across regions. They turn nuclear if monetary union breaks up.

    The Target2 “debts” owed by Greece’s central bank to the ECB jumped to €49bn in December as capital flight accelerated on fears of a Syriza victory. They may have reached €65bn or €70bn by now.

    A Greek default – unavoidable in a Grexit scenario – would crystallize these losses. The German people would discover instantly that a large sum of money committed without their knowledge and without a vote in the Bundestag had vanished.


And in a previous article, I discussed some of the other things that are at stake…

    If there is no deal, we could see a Greek debt default, Greece could be forced to leave the eurozone and go back to the drachma, the euro could collapse to all time lows, all the banks all over Europe that are exposed to Greek government debt could be faced with absolutely massive losses, and the 26 trillion dollars in derivatives that are directly tied to the value of the euro could start to unravel.  In essence, if things go badly this could be enough to push us into a global financial crisis.

At the end of the day, there are essentially only two choices for Europe…

#1) Find a way to make a deal, which would maybe keep the current financial house of cards together for another six months.

#2) A horrifying European financial crisis starting almost immediately.

In the long-term, nothing is going to stop the economic horror which is coming to Europe, and once it starts it is going to drag down the entire planet.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on March 12, 2015, 05:45:09 am
This is getting interesting, especially with the guy running Greece

Greece threatens to seize German property, Berlin refuses to pay WWII reparations.

Germany says it won’t pay Greece World War 2 reparations after Greek PM Alexis Tsipras said Berlin is using legal tricks to avoid paying compensation. Germany says it’s honored its obligations, while Greece says it may start seizing German property.

Germany once again dismissed Greek demands to pay reparations for the 1941-44 Nazi occupation of Greece.

"It is our firm belief that questions of reparations and compensation have been legally and politically resolved," said Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"We should concentrate on current issues and, hopefully, what will be a good future," Reuters reported him as saying.

A spokesman for the finance ministry said there was no point in holding talks with the Greek government concerning the issue of reparations. The spokesman also added that the demands from Athens were just trying to distract attention away from the serious financial problems the country is facing.

 With Germany refusing to budge from its position concerning the payment of war reparations, Greece’s Justice Minister said Wednesday that Athens could start seizing German assets.

Nikos Paraskevopoulos said he was “ready to approve” a Greek Supreme Court ruling in 2000 that would allow the appropriation of assets belonging to Germany’s archaeological school and the Goethe Institute. Proceeds from the property would be used to compensate the relatives of 218 civilians who were massacred by Nazi troops in a village in central Greece in June 1944.

"The law states that the minister must give the order for the Supreme Court ruling to be carried out.... I am ready to give that order," Paraskevopoulos told Antenna TV, AFP reported.

 On Wednesday, Berlin rejected the renewed demands.

"It is our firm belief that questions of reparations and compensation have been legally and politically resolved," said Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A spokesman for the finance ministry also said there was no reason to hold talks with Athens about reparations and called the demands a distraction from actual financial issues facing Greece.

The issue of war reparations dating from the 1941-44 Nazi occupation of Greece is likely to increase already heightened tensions between Athens and Berlin. The two countries are already squabbling over Greek demands to renegotiate the terms of a €240 billion ($260 billion) bailout. However, with Germany showing few signs of leniency, the new left-wing Syriza government has decided to raise the issue of war reparations again with Berlin.

rest: http://rt.com/news/239593-germany-greece-war-reparations/

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on April 03, 2015, 05:41:50 am
Greece draws up drachma plans, prepares to miss IMF payment
'We are a Left-wing government. If we have to choose between a default to the IMF or a default to our own people, it is a no-brainer,' says senior Greek official

 Greece is drawing up drastic plans to nationalise the country's banking system and introduce a parallel currency to pay bills unless the eurozone takes steps to defuse the simmering crisis and soften its demands.

Sources close to the ruling Syriza party said the government is determined to keep public services running and pay pensions as funds run critically low. It may be forced to take the unprecedented step of missing a payment to the International Monetary Fund next week.

Greece no longer has enough money to pay the IMF €458m on April 9 and also to cover payments for salaries and social security on April 14, unless the eurozone agrees to disburse the next tranche of its interim bail-out deal in time.

“We are a Left-wing government. If we have to choose between a default to the IMF or a default to our own people, it is a no-brainer,” said a senior official.

“We may have to go into a silent arrears process with the IMF. This will cause a furore in the markets and means that the clock will start to tick much faster,” the source told The Telegraph.

Syriza’s radical-Left government would prefer to confine its dispute to EU creditors but the first payments to come due are owed to the IMF. While the party does not wish to trigger a formal IMF default, it increasingly views a slide into pre-default arrears as a necessary escalation in its showdown with Brussels and Frankfurt.

The view in Athens is that the EU creditor powers have yet to grasp that the political landscape has changed dramatically since the election of Syriza in January and that they will have to make real concessions if they wish to prevent a disastrous rupture of monetary union, an outcome they have ruled out repeatedly as unthinkable.

rest: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11513341/Greece-draws-up-drachma-plans-prepares-to-miss-IMF-payment.html

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on April 20, 2015, 07:43:53 pm
Greek banks ‘close to collapse’ as debt soars

Greek debt costs leapt yesterday as the French central bank warned that the banking sector in Athens is on the verge of collapse. The euro fell 0.6 per cent to $1.074 after International Monetary Fund and G20 meetings in Washington held out little progress on the prospect of Greece satisfying creditors to unlock €7.2 billion in financial aid by the end of the month.

rest: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/markets/europe/article4417577.ece

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 14, 2015, 07:47:33 pm
Greece and creditors fail in 'last attempt' to reach deal

BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) - Talks on ending a deadlock between Greece and its international creditors broke up in failure on Sunday, with European leaders venting their frustration as Athens stumbled closer toward a debt default that threatens its future in the euro.

European Union officials blamed the collapse on Athens, saying it had failed to offer anything new to secure the funding it needs to repay 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the International Monetary Fund by the end of this month.

Greece retorted it was still ready to talk, but that EU and IMF officials had said they were not authorized to negotiate further. Athens insists it will never give in to demands for more pension and wage cuts.

"This is very disappointing and sad. It was a last attempt to bridge our differences but the gap is too large. One can discuss a gap, but this is an ocean," said a person who was close to the talks.

Both sides acknowledged the talks had lasted less than an hour, although even here accounts differed: Greece put the length at 45 minutes, EU officials at half an hour.

Following what it called this "last attempt" at a solution, the EU's executive Commission said euro zone finance ministers would now tackle the issue when they meet on Thursday.

With no technical deal apparently possible, the ministers are likely to have to make difficult political decisions on Greece's membership of the currency bloc.

Failure to keep Greece in the euro, after years of arduous negotiations and two emergency bailouts totaling 240 billion euros, would send it lurching into the unknown and mark a historic blow to the EU's most ambitious project.

Last Friday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had indicated he would accept painful compromises on demands for austerity and reform in return for debt relief.

But the Commission said after the talks, which also involved the European Central Bank, that "the Greek proposals remain incomplete".

"While some progress was made, the talks did not succeed as there remains a significant gap between the plans of the Greek authorities and the joint requirements of Commission, ECB and IMF," it said. These amounted to up to 2 billion euros a year in permanent budget savings.

EU officials said Athens had moved closer to the lenders on the size of Greece's primary surplus - the budget balance before its debt repayments - but had not said how it intended to achieve this. Otherwise the Greek delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis, had offered nothing new, they added.

Dragasakis said the Greek delegation remained ready to resume talks but blamed European lenders for insisting on pension cuts and value-added tax hikes to close the projected budget gap.


European leaders have piled pressure on Tsipras to offer major concessions in the search for a deal with the EU and IMF as the country faces a debt default in just over two weeks.

The talks' failure followed signs of an increasingly confrontational line by Greece's European Union partners. The toughest language came not from Greece's long-standing conservative critics but from German Social Democrat chief Sigmar Gabriel, who until recently had been regarded as sympathetic, at least by Berlin standards.

He wrote in Bild newspaper that he wanted to keep Greece in the euro. "But not only is time running out but so too is patience across Europe. Everywhere in Europe, the sentiment is growing that enough is enough," said Gabriel, who is vice-chancellor in Angela Merkel's grand coalition government.

"The shadow of an exit of Greece from the euro zone takes on ever clearer shape," he said. "Repeated apparently final attempts to reach a deal are starting to make the whole process look ridiculous. There is an ever greater number of people who feel as if the Greek government is giving them the run-around."

Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, also reputed to have been more sympathetic to Greek views, warned Tsipras about the risk of "Grexit" - a Greek exit from the euro - when they met last week.

Tsipras says imposing yet more austerity on a country whose economy has shrunk by a quarter in recent years is futile, and will only deepen the suffering of Greeks whose living standards have already dived while unemployment soared.


U.S.-based economic analyst Jacob Funk Kirkegaard cast doubt on the Athens government's longevity. He said Europe seemed to be giving up on trying to coax Tsipras toward the political center, opting for confrontation that might lead to "a new more realistic government".

"It is increasingly obvious he is not even a closet centrist but largely seems to agree with the left wing of his party. The euro area thus has no real choice but to seek regime change in Athens," he said on the website of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Tsipras still seems to have some support in his quest for debt relief. A person familiar with the negotiations told Reuters that discussions were under way on the issue.

Athens faces immediate problems in repaying debts as the EU and IMF have not paid any money from Greece's bailout programs since the middle of last year. On top of the IMF loan, it must also repay 6.7 billion euros when Greek bonds held by the ECB fall due in July and August.

Even if this short-term hump can be overcome, Greece still faces the daunting prospect of eventually repaying the bailout loans, something that will hang over its enfeebled economy for decades unless a relief deal is achieved.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on June 28, 2015, 06:41:29 am
More than a third of Greek ATMs run dry for a while on Saturday

More than a third of automated teller machines across Greece ran out of cash on Saturday before they were replenished as Greeks pulled out money on fears their country was set to crash out of the euro, three banking sources said.

Anxious Greeks lined up outside ATMs after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made a surprise call for a referendum on austerity terms demanded by lenders, throwing talks with lenders in disarray and putting Greece on the verge of a default.

About 35 percent of the ATM network - some 2,000 out of the 5,500 ATMs across Greece - ran out of euro banknotes at one point during the day and were being replenished, the bankers said. Banks were working in coordination with the central bank to keep the network fed with cash, they said.

Replenishing ATMs usually takes one to two hours per ATM, leading to the long lines, one banking source said.

Around 600 million euros was withdrawn from the banking system on Saturday, one senior banker at one of Greece's four big lenders told Reuters. A second banker estimated the outflow at more than 500 million euros.

Though that was below the level of over 1 billion euros seen on some days over the past two weeks, the figure was almost exclusively from ATM withdrawals, where the average daily limit of cash that can be taken out is 600 to 700 euros, bankers said.

"Demand for cash is definitely higher than what you see on a normal Saturday," one of the bankers said.

"This does not mean that there are lines everywhere but we are trying to keep ATMs fed with banknotes."

Minutes after Tsipras's address to the nation, small lines could be seen at some ATMs in Athens. In addition to lines at various ATMs across the country on Saturday, a line of about 40 people could be seen at an ATM inside the Greek parliament.

Greece's government has insisted that banks will reopen as normal on Monday and denied the country will have to impose capital controls to prevent the banks collapsing.

The banks depend on emergency liquidity from the European Central Bank to stay open, and senior government officials held talks with the ECB chief Mario Draghi on Saturday to ensure continued support to banks amid the crisis.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on June 28, 2015, 04:19:00 pm
This isnt good....

Greece imposes capital controls, banks to remain shut

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Greece's five-year financial crisis took its most dramatic turn to date Sunday, with the prime minister announcing Greek banks would remain shut indefinitely and restrictions would be imposed on cash withdrawals. The decision came on the recommendation of the Bank of Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during a televised address to the nation. He didn't immediately say what types of capital controls would be imposed.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on June 29, 2015, 07:38:50 am
And So It Begins – Greek Banks Get Shut Down For A Week And A ‘Grexit’ Is Now Probable

Is this the beginning of the end for the eurozone?  For years, European officials have been trying to “fix Greece”, but nothing has worked.  Now a worst case scenario is rapidly unfolding, and a “Grexit” has become more likely than not.  On Sunday, the European Central Bank announced that it was not going to provide any more emergency support for Greek banks.  But that was the only thing keeping them alive.  In order to prevent total chaos, Greek banks have been shut down for at least a week.  ATMs are still open, but it is being reported that daily withdrawals will be limited to 60 euros.  Of course nobody knows for sure if or when the banks will reopen after this “bank holiday” is over, so needless to say average Greek citizens are pretty freaked out right about now.  In addition, the stock market in Greece is not going to open on Monday either.  This is what a national financial meltdown looks like, and the nightmare that has been unleashed in Greece will soon start spreading to much of the rest of Europe.

This reminds me so much of what happened in Cyprus.  Up until the very last minute, politicians were promising everyone that their money was perfectly safe, and then the hammer was brought down.

The exact same pattern is playing out in Greece.  For example, just check out what one very prominent Greek politician said on television on Saturday…

    “Citizens should not be scared, there is no blackmail,” Panos Kammenos, head of the government’s coalition ally, told local television. “The banks won’t shut, the ATMs will (have cash). All this is exaggeration,” he said.

One day later, the banks did get shut down and ATMs all over the country started running out of cash.  The following comes from CNBC…

    Despite a tweet from Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis that his government “opposed the very concept” of any controls, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said later Sunday that he had forced the country’s central bank to recommend a bank holiday and capital controls.

    The Athens stock exchange will also be closed as the government tries to manage the financial fallout of the disagreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Greece’s banks, kept afloat by emergency funding from the European Central Bank, are on the front line as Athens moves towards defaulting on a 1.6 billion euros payment due to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday.

So what is the moral of this story?

Never trust politicians – especially when a major financial crisis is looming.

All over Greece, people are taking photos of very long lines at the ATMs that actually do still have some cash.  Here are just a couple of examples…

Of course those that were smart enough to see this coming took their money out of the banks long ago.  And even as late as last week, people were pulling more than a billion euros out of the banks every single day.  Without direct intervention by the European Central Bank, most Greek banks would have totally collapsed by now…

    Customers have been withdrawing money in vast quantities ever since Syriza came to power, fearing that if Greece is thrown out of the single currency their euro savings will be converted into drachma – likely to be worth far less.

    In the last week, the sums being taken out have risen to well over one billion euros a day, moved either to foreign banks or stashed in notes under mattresses.

    It has been a slow and steady run on Greece’s banks which is now speeding up – for the finish line may well be in sight. Until now, the country’s banks have been kept afloat by €88 billion in loans from the European Central Bank.

So now that the banks are shut down, what happens next?

Needless to say, economic activity in Greece is going to come to a grinding halt.  In addition, very few foreigners are going to want to travel to Greece or deal with Greece financially until this crisis is resolved somehow…

    An extended bank shutdown and tough capital controls will likely wreak further havoc on the Greek economy by scaring away tourists and chilling commercial activity.

    And with Greece unable to borrow from financial markets, and apparently unwilling to strike a deal with the only institutions prepared to lend it money, it will find itself sliding rapidly towards exit from the euro.

When the Greek banks finally do reopen, which of them will still be solvent?

Will some of them need “bail-ins”?

Will account holders be forced to take “haircuts” like we saw in Cyprus?

For the moment, what we do know is that the banks will all be shut down until at least July 6th.  Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a national referendum to be held on July 5th.  The Greek people will get a chance to vote on whether or not the latest creditor proposals should be accepted.  But the funny thing is that Tsipras and the rest of Syriza are already encouraging the Greek people to vote no…

    Greece’s parliament has voted in favor of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ motion to hold a referendum on the country’s creditor proposals for reforms in exchange for loans, the Associated Press reported. Tsipras and his coalition government have urged people to vote against the deal, throwing into question the country’s financial future.

    The vote is to be held next Sunday, July 5. It has raised the question of whether Greece can remain in Europe’s joint currency, the euro.

So why hold a referendum if you just want everyone to vote no?

It is because Tsipras does not want to solely shoulder the blame for what comes next.  A “no vote” would essentially be a vote to leave the euro and go back to the drachma.  The following comes from the Daily Mail…

    Should Greeks vote against the new bailout, most economists believe Greece will be forced to quit the single currency and return to the drachma. The country could even eventually be forced out of the EU, though Greek politicians have long argued a Grexit would not be the automatic result of default.

    However, next week’s referendum is likely to be billed as, in effect, an in-out vote on the euro.

If Greece does default and ends up leaving the euro, the short-term economic consequences for Greece will be catastrophic.

But the rest of Europe will feel a tremendous amount of pain as well.  In fact, we are already getting a sneak peek at coming attractions.  As we approach Monday morning in Europe, Asian stocks are crashing big time, and European futures are absolutely cratering.  It should be very interesting to see how Monday plays out.

In addition, the euro is already way down in early trading.  If Greece does ultimately leave the euro, the value of the euro is going to plunge like a rock.  As I have warned repeatedly, the euro is heading for parity with the U.S. dollar, and at some point it will drop below parity.

And once Greece is out, everyone is going to be speculating who the “next Greece” will be.  Expect bond yields for Italy, Spain, Portugal and France to go skyrocketing.

Just a couple of days ago, I issued a red alert for the second half of 2016.  We are entering a period of time when the global financial system is beginning to unravel.  Most people still have a tremendous amount of faith in the system and assume that those running it are fully capable of keeping it from collapsing.  In fact, many have accused me of being crazy for suggesting that the global financial system is in imminent danger of imploding.

A very wise man once said that “pride goeth before destruction”.  Our arrogance and our blind faith in the fundamentally flawed systems that we have established will contribute greatly to our undoing.

Events are starting to accelerate greatly now, and it is just a matter of time before we see who was right and who was wrong.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 30, 2015, 04:24:20 pm
The Latest: Fitch downgrades Greece further into junk status

11.30 p.m.

Greece has suffered its second sovereign downgrade in as many days, as its bailout program was due to expire after five years.

Fitch ratings agency has slashed the country's rating further in junk status, from CCC to CC — following a similar action Monday by Standard & Poor's. The rating is one notch above the level where Fitch says default is inevitable.

Fitch said: "The breakdown of the negotiations between the Greek government and its creditors has significantly increased the risk that Greece will not be able to honour its debt obligations in the coming months, including bonds held by the private sector."

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 30, 2015, 06:14:14 pm
Breaking news: Greece is first advanced nation to formally default to IMF


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 05, 2015, 03:24:55 pm
Greeks defy Europe with overwhelming referendum 'No'

By Karolina Tagaris and Lefteris Papadimas
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greeks voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to reject terms of a bailout, risking financial ruin in a show of defiance that could splinter Europe.

With nearly half of the votes counted, official figures showed 61 percent of Greeks rejecting the bailout offer. An official interior ministry projection confirmed the figure as close to the expected final tally.

The astonishingly strong victory by the 'No' camp overturned opinion polls that had predicted an outcome too close to call. It leaves Greece in uncharted waters: risking financial and political isolation within the euro zone and a banking collapse if creditors refuse further aid.

But for millions of Greeks the outcome was an angry message to creditors that Greece can longer accept repeated rounds of austerity that, in five years, had left one in four without a job. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has denounced the price paid for aid as "blackmail" and a national "humiliation".


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on July 07, 2015, 01:43:28 pm
ECB tightens squeeze on Greek banks

More bad news for Greece this evening, and again it is from the European Central Bank.

It has told Greek banks they have to lodge more collateral or assets with the Bank of Greece as security against the €89bn of emergency lending or ELA (emergency liquidity assistance) provided to the banks.

What does this mean?

Well it reduces the spare cash-raising capacity of the banks from €17-20bn to between €5-7bn. Or so I am told, by well-placed sources.

Now in one sense this is academic, because the ECB has also announced that the freeze on the total amount of ELA it will allow the Bank of Greece to do, which was announced on June 26 - and forced the Greek government to close the banks - will stay in place.

Or to put it another way, the tap of additional central bank support for the banks remains firmly turned off.

But I understand that one of the Big Four Greek banks has already almost run out of cash. So the ECB statement means that bank has no ability to replenish its dwindling cash stocks.

In other words, the ECB has brought forward the fateful moment when the Greek banking system ceases to function in any meaningful way, for want of cash.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on August 20, 2015, 04:17:19 pm
Tsipras resigns, paving way for snap Greek election

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned on Thursday, hoping to strengthen his hold on power in snap elections after seven months in office in which he fought Greece's creditors for a better bailout deal but had to cave in.

Tsipras submitted his resignation to President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and asked for the earliest possible election date.

Government officials said the aim was to hold the election on Sept. 20, with Tsipras seeking to crush a rebellion in his leftist Syriza party and seal public support for the bailout program, Greece's third since 2010, that he negotiated.

"I will go the president of the republic shortly to submit my resignation, as well as the resignation of my government," Tsipras said in a televised address before he met Pavlopoulos.

Faced with a near collapse of the Greek financial system which threatened the country's future in the euro, Tsipras was forced to accept the creditors' demands for yet more austerity and economic reform - the very policies he had promised to scrap when he was elected in January.

"I want to be honest with you. We did not achieve the agreement we expected before the January elections," he told the Greek people.

"I feel the deep ethical and political responsibility to put to your judgment all I have done, successes and failures."

His decision deepens political uncertainty on the day Greece began receiving funds under its 86 billion-euro ($96 billion) bailout program, five years after a previous government took the first bailout from the euro zone and IMF.

But a snap election should allow Tsipras to capitalize on his popularity with voters before the toughest parts of the latest program - including further pension cuts, more value-added tax increases and a "solidarity" tax on incomes - begin to bite. This may allow him to return to power in a stronger position without anti-bailout rebels in Syriza to slow him down.

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on August 22, 2015, 06:57:49 am
Shockwaves In Greece As Alexis Tsipras Set To Resign As Prime Minister Today

Greece’s firebrand Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is set to resign today – clearing the way for early elections next month.

Alexis Tsipras, who only became Prime Minister in January, is expected to make a televised state address to the nation this evening. It comes after the hard-line Syriza chief lost his majority in Parliament after a rebellion by hardliners in his own party who oppose the bailout agreement struck with international lenders last month.

Mr. Tsipras met senior party officials and ministers to discuss the his next move and had been expected to call a confidence motion to shore up his position. But the hard-left Greek leader has called snap elections for September 20 instead, in a move designed to give him the authority to implement the bailout programme’s tough measures.

Earlier today, Greece made a crucial €3.2billion debt repayment using newly released bailout funds as a senior minister argued for rapid elections following a rebellion in the ruling party. The repayment to the European Central Bank marked another step for Greece away from near financial collapse, but Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must now tackle a political crisis after rebels robbed his government of its parliamentary majority.

Athens repaid the debt using money from the first instalment of its new bailout after the programme cleared its final hurdle on Wednesday night, with the ESM European bailout fund approving the €86 billion ($96 billion) deal.

‘The payment was made, the funds are on their way,’ said an official. Greece came close to the economic abyss and exit from the eurozone in late June as Tsipras tried to extract concessions which the bloc’s finance ministers refused to grant.

Tsipras backed down last month, accepting terms that are so onerous that the hard left wing of his Syriza party refused to back the bailout in parliament last Friday and is threatening to break away. Energy Minister Panos Skourletis, a close Tsipras adviser, said the split had to be dealt with. ‘The political landscape must clear up. We need to know whether the government has or does not have a majority,’ he told state TV channel ERT.

Tsipras got the bailout through parliament only with the support of opposition parties, who said they did so merely to save the nation from financial ruin. The prime minister has talked about calling a Syriza congress to resolve differences.

But, expressing his personal opinion, Skourletis said Tsipras should move faster. ‘I would say elections first, then the party congress,’ he said.  Tsipras is mulling whether to call a vote of confidence in his government after a big rebellion among his radical left Syriza party over the bailout.

Alexis Tsipras as the Antichrist? Pope Francis as the False Prophet? It certainly is pretty interesting, wouldn’t you say?

The government had to close the banks at the end of June for three weeks as panicked savers pulled out billions and imposed capital controls strictly limiting withdrawals from the banking system.

While these have since been eased, they remain in force, hurting businesses and raising the risk that unemployment will rise from its current 25 per cent. Tsipras, who came to power only in January, has remained silent over the election issue.  source


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Mark on September 20, 2015, 02:37:13 pm
Update: Alexis Tsipras wins Greek vote by clear 33-35 percent, according to exit polls - @AFP

Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on February 13, 2016, 11:31:49 am
‘Greeks will have to become migrants’: 10,000 farmers protest EU-imposed reforms in Athens
Published time: 13 Feb, 2016 04:27

Edited time: 13 Feb, 2016 04:36

Thousands of Greek farmers set up a protest camp in central Athens to speak out against tax and pension reforms required by the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Earlier, hundreds clashed with police at the Agriculture Ministry.

The protesting farmers, who have come from across the country, were joined by worker unionists on Syntagma Square. Police estimated that around 10,000 demonstrators were in attendance. The mass then carried flags in a procession that was led by 20 tractors honking their horns.


Title: Re: Watch Greece
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on December 06, 2016, 07:08:12 am
Euro zone grants Greece short-term debt relief; no deal with IMF

Euro zone finance ministers agreed on Monday some debt relief for Greece but were divided on reforms it must undertake to reach fiscal targets, leaving it unclear if the International Monetary Fund will join the Greek bailout program.

The 19 ministers of the currency bloc gathered in Brussels to discuss how far Greece has advanced with reforms needed for the release of the next tranches of loans in the up-to 86 billion euros ($92 billion) rescue program.

They also wanted to convince the IMF to participate in the plan, the third one for Greece since 2010. The IMF says it can only do so if this will be the last bailout for Athens, and that would entail either debt relief or more reforms by Greece.

Ministers agreed to grant Greece short-term debt relief measures, to be applied before 2018, that could reduce the country's debt to gross domestic product ratio by around 20 percentage points in 2060.

But they did not agree with Athens how to implement various reforms, in particular an overhaul of labor market rules that would make it easier to fire workers.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on leaving the meeting that calls for reforms had to take into account the political situation in the country, where Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is increasingly unpopular after applying a range of austerity measures agreed with EU creditors.

The ministers also left open for now how long after 2018 they want Greece to maintain a primary fiscal surplus of 3.5 percent, a factor considered crucial by the IMF.

"We agreed the primary surplus (which excludes debt-servicing payments) goes up to 3.5 percent of GDP in 2018 and beyond for the medium term," the chairman of the meeting, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, told a news conference.

But he said ministers' views on the length of "medium term" ranged from three to 10 years, and they would seek a compromise on that only in 2018.

Talks to more substantially reduce Greek debt - at about 180 percent of GDP the highest in the euro zone - through an extension of maturities would not be held until 2018 either.


The IMF believes that with the current set of reforms agreed with Athens, Greece will only reach a primary surplus of 1.5 percent of GDP in 2018 and, in consequence, the euro zone should grant Athens relief or demand more reforms.

By the end of the year, IMF staff were expected to recommend whether the Fund should join the latest bailout on the basis of a debt sustainability analysis, to be carried out after Greek reforms were agreed.

But Dijsselbloem said a deal on Greek reforms was now unlikely before the end of the year, effectively postponing the IMF decision.

Austria's Finance Minister Hans Jorg Schelling said the IMF would decide in the first quarter of next year whether to participate.