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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Growing Doubts about Greece

by Calculated Risk on 1/15/2012 09:26:00 PM

From the NY Times: As Reforms Flag in Greece, Europe Aims to Limit Damage

As Greece and its lenders prepare for another week of tense negotiations, European officials now say that the task is less to help the country through its troubles than to avoid the sort of uncontrolled default that many experts fear could threaten the global financial system.

Officials from the so-called troika of foreign lenders to Greece — the European Central Bank, European Union and International Monetary Fund — have come to believe that the country has neither the ability nor the will to carry out the broad economic reforms it has promised in exchange for aid, people familiar with the talks say, and they say they are even prepared to withhold the next installment of aid in March.
As recently as November, Greece and its lenders were optimistic that the country’s newly installed prime minister, Lucas Papademos ... would stabilize Greece’s soaring debt and help nurse the country back to health.

But since then, his interim government ... has been paralyzed.
And more from Tim Duy at FedWatch: How's That Austerity Working?
Bottom Line: The actions of the European Central Bank greatly eased the immediate financial pressures in the Eurozone. But the underlying problem of internal imbalances remain, and the European response is still not addressing those imbalances. Instead, the commitment to the fixed exchange rate combined with Germany's failure to recognize that their current account surplus must turn to deficit if they ever hope to be repaid promises to lock the Eurozone on the path of ongoing recession.
We should know about the Greek debt deal over the next week or two. I suspect a deal will be reached, and that Greece will receive the March aid. But at some point the "pretending" will have to stop.

Summary for Week Ending January 13th
Schedule for Week of Jan 15th