Παρασκευή, 12 Ιουνίου 2015

Θα δούμε...


Τα διαβάζω αυτά και θυμάμαι, σε χώρα μακρινή, πριν πολλά χρόνια, καλοκαίρι ήταν, που καθόμουν πάνω από ένα μηχάνημα "τηλέτυπο" το έλεγαν και έβγαιναν κάθε τόσο ειδήσεις, σε ξένη γλώσσα, για την χώρα μου. Δεν μου άρεσε τότε, δεν μου αρέσει τώρα, πώς έχει εξελιχθεί η χώρα μου. Αν φοβάστε ότι θα βγούμε από το ευρώ, εγώ φοβάμαι ότι δεν θα βγούμε... Και μάλλον όλοι φοβόμαστε αυτό που φοβόμαστε για τον λάθος λόγο.

STRATFOR:  June 12
 
Even amid worries that a Greek exit from the eurozone is becoming increasingly likely, Greece has bluntly refused help from the International Monetary Fund. On June 11, IMF negotiators returned to Washington from Athens with reports that their Greek counterparts had called the agency "not needed" and said that its contribution was "not constructive."

Meanwhile Bild, the well-connected German tabloid, said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not ruling out the possibility of Greece's exit — a change of tone on the part of the German leader, who until now has consistently trumpeted the message, "preserve the union at all costs," as a counterweight to the much more hardline views of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Reports have also emerged that the eurozone countries have been debating possible courses of action if Greece and the European Union should fail to reach an agreement. The German government has also been discussing capital controls for Greece. This violates what many consider to be the key rule of capital controls — that they should not be discussed publicly. Open discussion encourages market players to swiftly remove their funds before they get trapped, undermining the purpose of the controls.

All hope, then, may seem lost. Important players appear to have washed their hands of the talks, and previously conciliatory and influential parties have changed their stance. Therefore, the only thing left to do is prepare for the inevitable default, capital controls, a "Grexit" and the subsequent breakup of the eurozone, right?

Not quite. The Greek tragedy has now been ongoing for five years. By this stage, all the players know their roles very well, even more so on the creditor side, since the government led by Greece's Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, was elected only in January. The media now weaves back and forth between optimism and cynicism. Negotiations look promising one week and hopeless the next as both sides use the news to send messages in turn to the public, to each other, to the markets, and even to members of their own parliaments. The threat of negative news moving markets and causing problems, which would be so powerful in other countries, is somewhat nullified in Greece's case by two aspects: First, most of the country's debt is held by the public sector creditors with which Athens is currently in negotiations. Second, the European Central Bank has thus far shown itself to be happy to support Greece's banks, even while rivers of cash flow out of them. Earlier this week, for example, the European Central Bank raised its emergency liquidity assistance limit by the largest amount so far.

This is not to say that the situation will never get serious. A hard deadline and a soft deadline loom this month. The hard deadline arrives June 30, when Greece's current bailout program ends and the month's IMF payments are due. And on June 18, the Eurogroup meeting will offer an opportunity to strike a deal. Unfortunately, in this play, few actors base their decisions on whether it is "a good time." Chances are high that an agreement will be struck at the last possible moment. In the meantime, however, the media will no doubt continue to swing wildly been hope and despair.

We will see...


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