Saturday, May 15, 2010

>Who is next? (NATIXIS)

The help from European countries and the IMF may give Greece time to reduce its fiscal deficit by paying "reasonable" interest rates. But the case of Greece is very particular: Greece’s public finance problems are not the result of economic difficulties, but of bad public management, which must be corrected.

Other European countries are struggling with their public finances because of their economic problems: productive specialisation generating a too low long-run growth to reduce deficits in the wake of the crisis. If the financial markets become aware of the scale of the economic and financial difficulties of these countries (Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom), the danger is that banks and investors will sell the public debts issued by these countries and that the rise in their interest rates will accelerate their problems.

It has to be pointed out that the risk is far more related to sales due to risk aversion among investors and banks (which now hold huge bond portfolios) than "speculation" by funds.

Are euro-zone countries more threatened than the United Kingdom? On the one hand, the segmentation of sovereign issuers in the euro zone promote crises; we do not know whether the bailout of Greece will persuade investors that other euro-zone countries would also be saved, or that the euro zone has exhausted its capacity for solidarity. On the other hand, the depreciation of the pound sterling is bolstering the British economy, but it may also worry investors.

To read the full report: WHO IS NEXT