Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Greece's Euro Exit Back on the Agenda Next Year, Economists Say

by Andre Tartar & Nikos Chrysoloras


July 21, 2015

Don’t pack away the currency presses just yet, Greece’s euro exit may be back on the table next year.

There’s still a danger that Greece will be forced out of the euro region by the end of 2016, according to 71 percent of respondents in a Bloomberg survey of 34 economists. Seventy percent said they reckon Greece should be safe for the rest of 2015, though almost half said they thought the 86 billion-euro ($93 billion) bailout package Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is targeting will prove to be too small.

While Tsipras is checking off the requirements to qualify for a third bailout, the flaws in the agreement he hammered out with euro-area leaders last week are fueling concerns that Greece will struggle to implement the three-year program.

The European creditors are refusing to firm up their commitment to restructuring Greece’s debts, a move the International Monetary Fund says is essential for the country to stabilize its finances. There are also doubts about the 50 billion-euro target for asset sales and, more fundamentally, the merits of forcing more austerity on a shattered economy.

“Without some form of debt relief, the package will never be big enough,” Peter Dixon, a global economist at Commerzbank AG in London, said in his response to the survey. “Loading additional loans onto a country which cannot afford to repay them corresponds to Einstein’s definition of insanity: Trying the same thing over and over again in the expectation of different results.”


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