Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Greece: Select Company

Said Standard & Poor's: "It's preferred
You remember your bond is your word;
When changing the payments
You've promised to claimants,
'Selective default' is incurred."

Greece joined a select company indeed when it became the first euro-zone country to be given a default rating. Standard & Poor's cut the country's long-term rating from CC to "selective default," as it had promised to do if Athens amended the terms of its bonds to add collective action clauses. The Greek CAC effectively forces bondholders to accept a bond swap offering. The measure, which was approved by the Greek parliament last week, could potentially forces bondholders to take losses, but up to now the country has not missed any interest payments; hence, the "selective" qualifier. If a majority of bondholders accept the amended bonds, the rating agency has indicated that it will set Greece's rating at CCC.

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