Forget Tequila, welcome the Ouzo Crisis

How to prepare for the collapse of the euro currency union.

Greece uses the same currency as Germany. But Greek government bonds yield almost four per cent more than German government bonds, an all time record for the eurozone.

This is telling us something; really telling us something. The bond market is pricing in a high possibility of default by the Greek state.

Until recently, the market perceived barely any difference in credit risk between different European Union countries. The yields on bonds were pretty similar between countries – so low that some commentators suggested the differences should be greater. But the perceived wisdom was that the risk of default by an alleged profligate state (predominantly those with a mediterranean coastline) was very low, and that even if a default was imminent the other austere and prudent states would step in to help their prodigal sibling.

But Herr BrĂ¼derle, the German Economics Minister, put an end to those thoughts. First acknowledging, in a speech to German Members of Parliament (more similar to Representatives than to Senators), that “some euro states are showing dangerous weakness. This may have fatal effects on all states in the eurozone,” he then went on to add that “there should not be a collective bailout for lopsided developments at national level.”

There is likely to be plenty of coverage of the “will they, won’t they” predictions over the next few days. But say they won’t, and Greece defaults. What are the implications? Vox Sapiens will be following this closely and answering the question.

As a footnote, it is likely that the Ouzu crisis will appear as just a small ripple compared to the Shochu crisis. But that’s another post.

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