ATHENS | By Nick Malkoutzis via MacroPolis | When Greece returned to international bond markets in April this year after a four-year exile, it was trumpeted by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as another step towards the crisis exit door. “Confidence in our country was confirmed by the most objective judge – the markets,” he said after investors snapped up three billion euros of five-year bonds with a coupon of 4.75 percent. Exactly seven months later, though, the yield on those bonds shot up to almost 10 percent. Suddenly, the markets do not seem so confident. So, what went wrong?
ATHENS | By Jens Bastian via MacroPolis | According to its Wikipedia article, Waiting for Godot by Irish writer Samuel Beckett is an absurdist play, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot. The current situation in Athens has remarkable similarities with this classic piece of European literature.
ATHENS | By Jens Bastian via MacroPolis | The reprofiling of Greece’s sovereign obligations makes any future debt restructuring an exercise that would almost entirely impact the official sector of Greece’s international creditors. Among these creditors, European institutions such as the ECB, the EFSF and eurozone member states would be affected most prominently.
ATHENS | By Damian Mac Con Uladh at The Agora | Like thousands of citizens, Nikolas Elliniadis had left it to deadline day to go to his bank, in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, to pay the first of six instalments of Greece’s new property tax, the latest levy to hit a population beleaguered after five years of austerity.
MADRID | By Julia Pastor | ECB’s Mario Draghi brought put the bleak panorama that the Eurozone’s economy is facing on the table, and we saw it again reflected in the not-so-promising September manufacturing PMI. The index came in at 50.5 compared to 50.7 in the prior month, whereas EZ Services PMI accelerated at 52.8 for September versus 53.1 in August. Even the composite index plummeted to its lowest fee in the last nine months and reached 52.3. In Germany, both manufacturing and services indexes have also decreased; while in France only manufacturing improved, although it is still contracting.
ATHENS | By Nick Malkoutzis via MacroPolis | As the Greek general elections of May (and then June) 2012 approached, every poor unfortunate European politician attempted to grab a moment in the spotlight by pontificating on whether Greece should or should not be in the single currency. While the euro vultures picked at Greece’s carcass, thousands of fear-stricken Greeks withdrew their money from local banks. Who knows, maybe in our strange world of acute fiscal adjustment and extreme political polarisation it is a sign of progress that Greece no longer needs foreigners to encourage a bank run. Local politicians can do the jobs themselves.
ATHENS | By MacroPolis | The impact of austerity measures on Greek citizens has been devastating, according to the last official data. The average monthly expenditure of households dropped 7.8 percent year on year (YoY) to 1,509.39 euros in 2013, according to the 2013 Household Budget Survey published by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).
ATHENS | Via Macropolis | In a much-anticipated speech, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras unveiled the main pillars of his party’s economic policy platform on Saturday, focusing on debt relief from the eurozone, the use of European Union funds to boost employment, a reduction in taxes and an increase of wages and pensions.
BRUSSELS | By Alexandre Mato | EU finance ministers are meeting in Milan on Friday to focus on Ireland, Greece and Cyprus exit plan to leave their IMF-EU financial assistance programs. The much-needed debate about economic stimulus and growth is not on the agenda, nor will be Scotland, despite the thorny economic implications of an eventual yes vote in the upcoming referendum.
ATHENS | via MacroPolis | The first round of the new review of Greece’s Economic Adjustment Program (EAP) is kicking off in Paris today and will last until September 4. The IMF spokesman has recently clarified that the aim of these meetings is to “discuss the way forward on the forthcoming review and is expected to be followed by the full mission to Athens in late September” for the full review.