Wall Street Journal
November 28, 2011
Companies that provide the plumbing for the $4 trillion-a-day foreign-exchange market are testing systems that could handle trading of previously shelved European currencies.
ICAP PLC, which operates the biggest system for enabling currency trades between banks, said Sunday that it is prepping electronic-trading systems for a possible exit by Greece from the euro zone and a return of the drachma, the country's previous currency.
CLS Bank International, whose platform enables banks to settle their currency trades, is running "stress tests" to prepare for a dissolution of the euro, people familiar with the matter said.
The moves are signs of deepening concern that at least one country might leave the euro. Banks, analysts and investors are preparing for what many of them say is an increasing likelihood of a euro-zone breakup, either completely or in parts, leading to the potential return of currencies such as the drachma, German mark or Italian lira. That scenario appeared far-fetched just a few months ago, but a growing number of analysts and investors now say they have no choice but to get ready, even if a breakup never happens.