SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s financial future hung in limbo Tuesday as economists and officials warned that the U.S. territory could head down Greece’s path if it is not allowed to declare bankruptcy as it struggles with $72 billion in public debt.
The island prepared to close a troubled fiscal year amid intense investor scrutiny just hours before the first of several multimillion-dollar debt payments is due. It remained unclear whether the government would meet the roughly $400 million obligation due Wednesday, obtain yet another extension from creditors, or default.
Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla has said that the overall debt is unpayable and that he will seek a moratorium on payments, although it is still unknown whether bondholders will agree to that or opt to resolve the issue in court. Continue reading
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Geopolitics Will Trump Economics in Greece
It seems that other people are finally catching on.
This is why it’s often repeated here over and over again for years now (See also HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE) that Greece plays too much of a strategic role in Europe and will not be let go, although at times it seems it’s teetering right on the edge of the abyss and threatens to bring the world down with it. Although the latter still might happen, Greece isn’t going anywhere.
Whether it’s with today’s European Union or tomorrow’s planned United States of Europe after the EU crumbles, Greece will stick around. Europe does not want Russia (and China) directly on their continent. The Russians having strategic Kaliningrad is still bad enough. If a deal with Russia were to go through, you can bet there will be Soviet military bases within months — because that’s the cost of saving their necks.
Greece is also too important from an energy perspective and, whether the oil & gas comes from the Middle East or Africa, has the potential to be a critical energy hub for all of Europe. This would break Russia off of Europe’s back and Greece would rebound and become awash in cash.
In the end, we’ll still have to wait and see what exactly happens but it’s hard to believe Europe, mainly Germany’s Fourth Reich, will let an opportunity like this escape. Come hell or high water, before or after the aftermath in the current situation, Greece will remain reined in.
Based on the continued failure of the negotiating parties to make any substantive progress in the talks over Greek debt payments, the financial world is tied up in knots over a possible Greek exit from the European Union. The uncertainty has manifested in both high and low finance, with a sharp sell-off in bonds, particularly EU and Greek government debt, and heightened retail withdrawals from Greek banks as depositors become wary of capital controls that would be imposed in the case of an exit. All concerned parties should likely breathe easier. Despite Greece’s almost complete lack of financial integrity, neither NATO nor the EU can afford the political cost of a Greek exit from the EU. Continue reading
Greece Ousted from Index of ‘Developed’ Countries
Like other countries within the region that are yet to go into full-blown crisis, Greece failed from the beginning, and what’s more is that it was known. A second supporting link can be found here, from Spiegel Online.
The latest setback for Greece: booted the euro-zone member from its index of developed countries.
The decision, announced late Tuesday, is the first time the index provider demoted a country from its “developed” to its “emerging-market” category since the launch of its flagship emerging-markets index in 1987.
It affirms what investors have believed for years. Multiple bailouts by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, a sharp contraction in gross domestic product and a still-large debt burden mean Greece now has more in common with Hungary than France. Continue reading