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Monday, July 11, 2011

More Europe

by Calculated Risk on 7/11/2011 03:55:00 PM

Today was mostly about Europe.

As the Financial Times reported this weekend, European policymakers appear to be finally accepting some sort of default is inevitable for Greece. On Italy: the deficit is 4.6% of GDP (not horrible), but their debt is 120% of GDP - and their growth is slow.

From the NY Times: Italy Evolves Into E.U.’s Next Weak Link

In recent days, Italy has become Europe’s next weak link after Greece, Ireland and Portugal and Spain ... Italy’s banks are sound; they never speculated in a housing bubble. The current annual budget deficit is low, at around 4.6 percent of its gross domestic product. And while Italy issues the largest amount of bonds of any euro zone country, Italians own about half the debt, making it less vulnerable to the follies of financial markets.

But with interest rates rising, Italy’s economy is not growing fast enough to cover an accumulated debt load of 120 percent of gross domestic product, the second-highest in Europe, after Greece. The International Monetary Fund expects growth to rise only slightly, to 1.3 percent in 2012.
From the WSJ: Euro Zone Still Seeks Private-Sector Solution
Several European officials said Monday that a significant private-sector contribution to a second bailout package remained critical even if the rating agencies branded it a default.

"I am more searching for a solution than a rating," Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said before a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers here. "If it's with a negative reaction from the rating agencies, that's not a problem."
Earlier I posted the bond yields in Europe with record highs for several countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Italy).