Wednesday, June 29, 2011

will Greece trigger a triple dip recession?

In April last year the Greek debt rating was decreased to the first levels of 'junk' status by Standard & Poor's and fears of default by the Greek government have increased since then; yields on Greek government bonds have risen to around 30%.  Standard & Poor's estimates that in the event of default investors would lose 30–50% of their money and that includes large amounts owed to French and German banks. Hopefully it will not be the experience of late 2007, caused by dodgy practices in the US - particularly bank executive bonuses - repeated with the collapse of Lehman Bros, again!

People are watching the Greek parliament's decisions on austerity anxiously. Greek public, i.e. Government, debt is at least 143% of its GDP.  In contrast, NZ's stands at 26% and Australia's at 23%, below the world average of 59% (both countries have high levels of private debt, though).

The Greek parliament has now passed the austerity measures by a handful of votes and financial markets have breathed a sigh of relief.  The country's problems are far from over, however; Greeks are not noted for paying their taxes and don't take kindly to the government withdrawing their generous benefits.

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