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Greek Debt Crisis

The potential effects of the Greek debt deal

Jeremy Hobson Oct 27, 2011
Greek Debt Crisis

The potential effects of the Greek debt deal

Jeremy Hobson Oct 27, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: Now let’s get to the big story out of Brussels. European leaders burned the midnight oil last night and emerged this morning with a plan to save the euro.

Now, here are the two key numbers: 50 percent — that is the loss that the holders of Greek debt will have to accept. The other big number is $1.4 trillion dollars. That will be the new size of the European bailout fund.

Marketplace’s Stephen Beard is here live with the details. Stephen — is this plan the whole pie, if you will, or just the crust — they’ll put the meringue in later?

Stephen Beard: No, it’s not just the crust; there’s quite a bit of filling there. But one ingredient that is missing is a precise explanation of how the large bailout fund is going to be scaled up and financed. It’s pretty clear that European governments like that of Germany don’t want to commit any more cash, so they’ll being looking outside Europe for help.

In fact, the French president Nicolas Sarkozy is phoning the Chinese today, so you can bet your bottom euro he’ll be raising the issue of China kicking in some cash.

Chinese help is not guaranteed, however. China’s official news agency’s verdict on the euro summit was this: positive, but full of difficulties — not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Hobson: Indeed. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in London.

And let’s get reaction now from Adolfo Laurenti, who is deputy chief economist with Mesirow Financial. He’s filling in for Diane Swonk this morning and he joins us live from Chicago. Good morning.

Adolfo Laurenti: Good morning.

Hobson: So Adolfo, first — do you think this deal is going to be enough to prevent any future summits among European leaders to deal with the European debt crisis?

Laurenti: Well, Jeremy, we have been here before, so I would be cautious to use words like “game-changer” or “solution is blockbuster,” but this is a step in the right direction.

I think this is a deal that touches on all the major important issues that Europe is confronting: the default of Greece, the recapitalization of all the banks, the contagion to Spain and Italy. It seems to be credible and realistic, so I am on the positive and optimistic side this morning.

Hobson: And I saw that the Greek prime minister is heading back to Greece tonight to address his people. What does this mean for the people around Europe? Have you been in touch with friends and family in Italy, for instance? What are they saying about this?

Laurenti: Yes, there have been a lot of concerns. I have friends in Greece that have already seen real suffering that the crisis has taken on their country. In Italy there are a lot of concerns about what the future may have for them.

And so, I think the European leaders have a lot of explaining to really give some confidence to these populaces that have been really, really scared by what we have seen on the markets the past couple of years.

Hobson: Well, you say they need more confidence — I mean, is it different from people here in this country who may feel that they are being held back? They don’t have the opportunity that they feel that they should have because of what’s going on on a macroeconomic level?

Laurenti: Well, there is a shared sense of uncertainty between Europe and the United States, but I think there is a fundamental difference. In the United States we see anger because people were used to economic opportunities, and now they don’t see them — or at least they are very slow to come back after the recession.

In Europe, economic opportunities have been missing for a very long time. People are missing hope, and that’s very worrisome for the future.

Hobson: Adolfo Laurenti, deputy chief economist at Mesirow Financial, thanks so much.

Laurenti: My pleasure, thank you.

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