Friday, October 28, 2011

A Greek Bondholder's New Haircut

To lessen the shame and defeat in it,
A bailout's got something to sweeten it,
So there's little regret
To sign away debt,
If, in any case, one would have eaten it.

Led by France and Germany, the euro zone has crafted the framework of an agreement to avoid a Greek default and provide a mechanism to stabilize the finances of its other overly indebted members. The announcement was greeted favorably by global equity markets, in spite of the provision that writes off 50% of Greece's foreign debt; proof that a certain loss is preferred to a general uncertainty. The "sweetener" in this case is an expanded European Financial Stability Facility, which is to be leveraged from €446 billion to €1 trillion. Such leverage would eventually require the participation of cash-rich outsiders such as China, but that is a crisis for another day.

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