Saturday, July 23, 2011
Fitch declares default, Greece pledges no let-up on debt
(Reuters) - Fitch ratings agency declared Greece would be in temporary default as the result of a second bailout, which Athens said had bought it breathing space.
But the agency pledged to give Greece a higher, "low speculative grade" after its bonds had been exchanged and said Athens now had some hope of tackling its debt mountain, which most economists still expect to force a deeper restructuring in the future.
An emergency summit of leaders of the 17-nation currency area agreed a second rescue package on Thursday with an extra 109 billion euros ($157 billion) of government money, plus a contribution by private sector bondholders estimated to total as much as 50 billion euros by mid-2014.
Under the bailout of Greece, which supplements a 110 billion euro rescue plan by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in May last year, banks and insurers will voluntarily swap their Greek bonds for longer maturities at lower rates.
"Fitch considers the nature of private sector involvement… to constitute a restricted default event," said David Riley, Head of Sovereign Ratings at Fitch.
"However, the reduction in interest rates and extension of maturities potentially offers Greece a window of opportunity to regain solvency, despite the formidable challenges that it faces," he said.
The summit agreed the region's rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, will be allowed to buy bonds in the secondary market if the European Central Bank deems that necessary to fight the crisis.
It can also for the first time give states precautionary credit lines before they are shut out of credit markets, and lend governments money to recapitalise banks, both moves which Germany blocked earlier this year. For more visit Reuters
Posted by Lee Universal Enterprises at 10:27 PM