Last week, Greece finally convinced Finland to jump on the bandwagon and contribute to its second bailout package. A bilateral agreement was made on the condition that Greece would give 500 million EUR as security deposit. If Greece defaults, Finland gets to keep the money. If it doesn’t, it gets its collateral back.
You should know that although European leaders agreed to rescue the debt-ridden country late last month, nothing was set in stone. As it is, the 160 billion EUR bailout is still waiting for the approval from all 17 euro zone participants.
Upon hearing the news, the Netherlands, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Estonia argued for their share as well since they’re all on the same boat to rescue Greece. Sure, it would only be fair for the other countries to be given the same deal that Finland got. After all, who wouldn’t want some security when helping an indebted nation?
However, Athens doesn’t have enough moolah to pay everyone who demands collateral. It would also take a big toll on its biggest lenders (aka Germany and France) who aren’t asking for security deposits, as they would have to front some of cash themselves.
Furthermore, this would set precedent for future bailouts, making it harder for indebted nations to be rescued down the line. Euro zone countries may not be so easy to convince to pitch in again if Ireland and Portugal ask for additional funds.
So what’s gonna happen now?
Germany, holding the most political say and economic might in the bloc, can bully leaders from other countries to forgo any demands for collateral. It is easier said than done though. For Germany, convincing each country to just let it go should be no problem. But if the five objecting countries form an alliance, they would be harder to nudge especially considering that their contributions comprise 12.63% of the EFSF.
If the dissenters threaten to back out of bailing out Greece, Germany would probably have to provide the extra moolah for collateral or risk a Greek default. Yikes!
Now that debt concerns are creeping back in the markets, I can’t wait to see how the markets react, more specifically on EUR/USD.
Looking at the daily chart of EUR/USD, it seems as if the pair is struggling to make new highs and is finding resistance at a falling trend line and the 1.4500 handle. In this old man’s humble opinion, I don’t see the pair making any real headway above 1.4500.
With concerns about when or if Greece will even get the second bailout, I think there could be some potential for a downward move on EUR/USD. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw another test of the 1.4000 handle sooner rather than later.
Of course, the markets are crazy and don’t always react rationally. If the investors believe that this is just a minor speed bump, then we may just see EUR/USD rise all the way back up to 1.4900!