Euro firewall could melt with Greek fall-out

Published on 15 May 2012 at 11:06


The eurozone seems not to be sufficiently equipped to face the consequences of a Greek default. According to theFinancial Times, “Fears that the euro zone’s firewall will prove insufficient to shield Spain and other embattled countries against the effects of a possible disorderly Greek exit from the currency union hit European markets on Monday.”

Spanish and Italian 10-year borrowing costs shot up to their highest levels this year, whilst German 10-year bonds yields hit a record low, exacerbating the differences in borrowing costs between European countries to a new high. European stock markets also suffered their largest one-day drop in three weeks.

Aggravating these problems, Moody’s downgraded 26 Italian financial institutions by one to four notches, on Monday night and the cost of insuring against Spanish default hit a record high.

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The financial firewall - the European Stability Mechanism – is a 500bn rescue system set up by European leaders. Some analysts are questioning whether this will be sufficient to rescue the larger economies at risk, such as Spain and Italy. Luke Spajic, a senior fund manager at Pimco bond investors told the Financial Times

It’s looking alarming right now. The market is effectively trying to price a disorderly exit for Greece.

The FT added that calls were mounting for decisive action from European policy makers to avoid more systemically important countries being "dragged down by concerns over Greece."

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