Thursday, March 8, 2012

What Is It About Greece?

by Matina Stevis

Wall Street Journal

March 8, 2012

The Greek debt restructuring, now in its final stretch, is “being as closely watched as a U.S. presidential election,” a market participant quips. But, why, one might ask, are people prepared to put themselves through the process of memorizing acronyms, learning about complicated legal maneuvers and following what has been an exhausting process, if they’re not getting paid to do so or have some financial interest at stake?

For one thing, the Greek PSI–“private-sector involvement”, a euphemism for “banks and funds admitting finally that they have lost lots of money”–is important. Here are a few reasons why:

At €207 billion, it is the largest sovereign-debt restructuring in the colorful history of such undertakings.

It also gets a lot of (bad) firsts: It’s the first restructuring in the history of the euro zone and the first non-war-related restructuring in an advanced economy.


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