Friday, May 28, 2010

It's the Bailout of the Banksters Before Greece Is Taken Down

WSJ has a remarkably to the point story explainning why Greece will end up restructuring, but that there will be a delay until the banksters are protected:

Even as investors grapple with the short-term economic impact of the European debt crisis, an important longer-term issue lingers in the background—the likelihood that Greece will have to restructure its debt...

While a restructuring may not take place for another year or two, it's a move that Greece may be unable to avoid, many say, despite assurances to the contrary from officials at the EU and IMF.

Restructuring is essentially a default, under which Greece would renegotiate its debt with bondholders, either lengthening its maturities or reducing the amount it owes, causing bondholders to take a loss...

The EU and IMF's bailout plan, which involves €80 billion ($99 billion) in loans from the 15 other euro-zone countries and 30 billion from the IMF, is designed to keep Greece afloat for a few years while the country enacts giant cuts and fiscal reforms...

One reason a near-term restructuring isn't likely, analysts say, is that much of Greece's debt remains in the hands of European banks and a restructuring could inflict sizable losses.

But because the European Central Bank has been aggressively buying up government debt, Greece will eventually have fewer private debtholders to persuade, making a later restructuring easier to engineer.

The basic problem is that even with aggressive fiscal belt tightening, the outlook for the Greek budget deficit is grim.

The Greek government had €273.4 billion in debt at the end of last year, equivalent to 115.1% of the country's gross domestic product. That ratio will rise sharply through 2012 toward 150% of GDP, since a yawning budget gap adds more to the tab each year. There are few signs that the stagnant Greek economy will grow anywhere near fast enough to catch up.

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