Ratings agency throws water on deal to prevent Greek bankruptcy

Demonstrators outside Greek Parliament hold the flag of Greece as they gather during a protest against plans for new austerity measures in Athens, Greece.

Bob Moon: Greece, it seems, has gone from the frying pan back into the fire. It felt like the the financial heat had come down a notch; last week, the Greek parliament approved an austerity package and won another chunk of bailout money. But today the ratings agency Standard & Poor's effectively declared you can't cool things off by just breaking the thermometer.

Here's Marketplace's Stephen Beard in London.


Stephen Beard: Just when Greece began to breathe a little more easily, S & P has put the boot in. The rating agency has criticized one part of the rescue package: a bond refinancing plan. Under the proposal, some holders of Greek government debt would delay cashing in their bonds. The architects of the plan call it "re-profiling." S&P calls it something else altogether.

Here's Julian Pendock of Senhouse Capital Investment Fund.

Julian Pendock: You can call it a re-profiling, you can call it as restructuring. You can call it whatever you want. But, in fact, technically they're saying it counts as a default, which could open a can of worms.

S & P says the re-profiling is just a default in disguise because investors will get less value than they were originally promised. If Greece does default, Greek banks could collapse, and many other dominoes might quickly fall. Greece does have a bit of time before it has to resolve this latest issue -- but not much. The deadline for its next debt repayment is in September.

In London, I'm Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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