Per Bloomberg: “European Union officials may require Greece to provide collateral for aid as policy makers struggle to prevent the euro area’s first sovereign debt restructuring, said a person with direct knowledge of the situation.”
From Dow Jones:
The ECB, the European Commission, France and others remain opposed to any rescheduling of Greek debt, fearing it could spark worsening capital flight from other indebted euro members and damage the Greek banking system.
“There is strong opposition to this by Trichet,” one euro-zone official said, adding that the Greek issue will be “extensively discussed” at the May 16-17 meeting of European Union finance ministers.
These meetings precede the June audits of the Greek government’s budget to measure the sustainability of the country’s debt load, seen as a key hurdle for Greece’s recovery plan.
The Eurogroup’s Juncker told journalists after the Luxembourg meeting Friday night that it was decided that Greece needs a further adjustment program, but he excluded restructuring the country’s sovereign debt.
The president representing the 17 countries using the euro joined other officials in firmly denying press reports that Greece was considering a withdrawal from the euro zone altogether.
But Juncker said Greece needs a further adjustment program, without furnishing details.
“We are not discussing the exit of Greece from the euro area, this is a stupid idea and an avenue we would never take,” Juncker said Friday.
Asked if rescheduling Greek debt to extend maturities also had been excluded, Juncker said: “we have excluded any restructuring of Greek debt.”
Some more from Bloomberg with the quote du jour:
“We’ll just have to bite the bullet,” Barthle said in an interview today from his district in the state of Baden- Wuerttemberg. “We need to help Greece help itself. What’s the alternative? We don’t want to be pushed over the edge into restructuring.”
And just how will Greece be helped? Why by collateralizing any new supersenior debt with bits and pieces of its sovereign holdings:
Expanding the 110 billion-euro ($158 billion) lifeline Greece received last year may mean that assets or revenue from asset sales are used to secure extra funds, the person said. Demanding collateral, an idea floated last year by Finland, may help avoid a political backlash against bailouts.
Increasing aid may run into opposition in Germany and Finland, where bailouts have sparked a backlash. Finnish Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen, who suggested seeking collateral for Ireland for its November bailout, is leading talks to form a government that may include the euro-skeptic True Finns party.
As to the whole abandoning the eurozone lunacy: that will never voluntarily happen until Greece has even a cent of taxpayer funded bailout money:
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said the report of a possible euro exit was made up and the government was handling the country’s debt in the best way possible, Kathimerini newspaper reported.
Abandoning the euro would have “catastrophic” consequences, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told Italian newspaper La Stampa. Public debt would double, consumer spending power would be “shattered” and the country would sink into a “war-like recession,” he said.
Which leaves just one option:
“The likelihood of a restructuring of Greek market debt this year has gone up,” David Mackie, London-based chief European economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said in a note yesterday.
Greece has about 330 billion euros in outstanding bonds, according to a May 5 report by UBS AG. The Swiss bank estimates that 22 percent is held by Greeks and Cypriots, the ECB has 19 percent and the EU and International Monetary Fund together have about 11 percent.
About 22 billion euros will mature this year and 33 billion euros next year, according to an April 29 ING Groep NV report.
Greek bonds have declined since the 2010 bailout, with yields on two-year notes reaching a euro-era record of 26.27 percent on April 28. The extra yield investors demand to hold Greek 10-year debt over comparable German bonds widened 4 basis points to 1,233. Greece was supposed to return to markets next year even as its debt peaks at 159 percent of gross domestic product.
So restructuring it is, but not before European bankers show their generosity one more time by funding the Greek DIP loan which in one year will give them a first lien on all the assets used as collateral, probably at a blue light special LTV valuation. We hope Portugal and Ireland are watching and learning how the ECB has commenced the process of peacetime reparations.