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Greece will most likely haircut its debt to creditor countries

17 September 2012 / 18:09:37  GRReporter
9115 reads

You are quite right and this is precisely the question. Indeed, economics provides the means by which growth can come, but do not forget that in the case of Greece, all economic theories collapsed after 2009. There is no economic theory that is able to accurately predict what exactly is going on here. Consider that even the estimates of international organizations, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank proved incorrect and were a resounding failure. Remember that the recession they had forecasted for this year was in the range of 4.5%, which was then corrected to 5%, 5.2%, and now, we all accept more or less grosso modo that the recession would be 6% to 7%. Therefore, an element of growth, that is to say the rate at which the economy will grow, has failed so far to achieve those rates that would change the economic climate. That is to say low interest rates. Unfortunately, in periods when there is no liquidity, as currently money is very expensive in Greece. Take a look, for example, at the interest rates on loans - consumer, housing, corporate. They are still very high. And this is because there is a shortage of liquidity, of fresh money. I would like to open a small parenthesis to say that precisely for this reason it is extremely important whether we will get the next tranche of 31.5 billion euro, which will allow the banks and the market in general to take a breath.
    Thirdly, one of the big questions that even our international creditors have failed to explain so far is the issue of inflation. While inflation would be expected to decline rapidly in times of recession, we see that the opposite is happening in Greece. Prices have not fallen as our creditors would expect and instead deflation, there is a slight, of course, low inflation of around 1.3% -1.5% -1.7%. Therefore, this marks a moment of failure, the fact that we have not been able to predict with precision.
    Fourthly, we have the external environment. Currently, the external environment, the international demand is also recording a downward trend. A negative growth is expected in Europe, which means that it would be much more difficult to secure foreign demand and therefore, foreign direct investment.
    Finally, the main factor for me is the uncertainty factor when all these reasons form a framework of uncertainty and no one can be sure whether there is stability in a country. In this case, investment cannot progress, unemployment cannot fall and the growth machine cannot start operating. Therefore, economic theory does indeed show us the reasons, but in the particular case of Greece, one should see for himself the optimal mix of policy measures that would bring growth.

Of course, but Greece has to start somewhere, do something; how do you see the solution?

I'm glad you asked that question because it is what we call "the million dollar question". No one can know exactly how things will develop, because there is the political factor in the country, do not forget that. No one should ignore it, even when economic analyses are being made. I would say that Greece must take the following steps.
    First, it should take measures to recover its public finances. It is no good for the economy and the budget in particular to continuously produce primary deficits. At some point, we must begin to spend less than what we collect as revenues. We believe that the 2012 budget will end with a small primary deficit of around 1-1.5%, which means 2 to 3 billion euro. So, the first step is to begin to create primary surpluses. At the same time, the primary surpluses will help to reduce the debt. This is the first point - the stabilization of public finances.
    The second direction that we must follow along with the first one is to stimulate growth. I hear that talks about improving the investment law are being held, which is very positive. If we take the right direction - free zones for trade or deals, incentives for public-private partnerships, a more aggressive liberalization of market forces if you will, utilization of state property that has not been utilized, an aggressive privatization programme for the privatization of some key public enterprises, not of all of them, naturally.
    The steps taken to liberalize the labour market have had their effect on economic performance. We should immediately proceed to an active employment policy - there are 1.3 million unemployed. Unemployment has reached an alarminly high level and it is threatening to undermine the efforts of the government. It is also threatening social cohesion, because at such times, people begin to feel a growing pessimism about the next day, and the country cannot recover and move forward in this way.
    There are some actions with set purposes, some suggestions from us on how to support growth, but I think we have to clarify at this point whether the track along which we are moving is the track that could lead us to the path of growth and ensure the viability of debt.

How much time does Greece have before the situation related to the debt gets out of control?

Tags: Giannis MonogiosGreek debtOSIPSIGREXITInternational creditorsDebt interest ratesEconomic growth
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