Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Greece - Simply Buying Time

That is all there - to have more time so that rest of the weaker economies of Europe can be cordoned off and USA & global economy is spared of yet another shock. Greek default along with increasing Oil prices and heating of Iran confrontation; none of that would have helped anyone. Chinese economy continues its soft landing; meaning there is no spare 'spark' on the global economic landscape. To avoid Greek default is the right thing to do.

But boy, it comes as a huge cost and Europeans are not going to let G20 free riding that. It will be interesting to see how G20 backs up IMF request for additional resources, in part to cope with more resource demand from Europe.

Other than that, there is nothing good about this bailout. Universally folks believe, Greece will not be able to make it as the assumptions in the 'base line scenario' do not have any resemblance to reality; even granting the improving global economy backdrop. This is because in the end Greece has to have surplus in primary account (more tax collection than expenses except servicing debt) and that is not there. That is Achilles heel; Greeks are so dependent on government backed wages and the economy is so restrictive that neither new avenues of growth are likely to realize early nor government would find it easy to back off from dependent population. All this in the context of not having their own 'printing press' (i.e. their own currency to devalue debt and like that). 

Not only there is any realistic chance of Greece making through this bail out, it is practically going to give up any residual control left on it's fiscal autonomy. Troika will have permanent monitors on the ground and there will be escrow accounts to take part of the revenue to service debt. National humiliation combined with shocks of reform, chances of Greece population exploding for another revolution are not trivial. Even rest of the Europe may in the end revolt against Merkel vision of austerity.

All that means, the world has simply traded immediate blow up right now to a very likely contained bankruptcy of Greece down the line in the hope that global economy will be in a better shape then to deal  with eventual Greek default. 

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