Greece: It’s not so bad that it can’t get worse.
Not exactly the slogan I’d use to rally investors to buy the bonds of a country overwhelmed with debt and deficits, but it’s one that fits the news out of Europe this morning, April 22.
According to the statistics office, Eurostat, of the European Union, Greece didn’t run a budget deficit of 12.9% of GDP in 2009.
It was more like 13.6%. And further revisions may take it to more than 14% of GDP.
So much for the Greek government’s forecast of 12.9% from just two weeks ago.And the European Union’s estimate of 12.7% of GDP in November.
It was that November forecast from the European Union that really brought the Greek crisis to a boil.
The financial markets haven’t been slow to turn the news into a rout for Greek bonds and to force a further retreat by the euro.
In response to today’s numbers the yield on the Greek 10-year bond climbed to 8.49%. That’s the highest interest rate since 1998. The cost of insuring against a Greek government default rose to a record.
Economists estimate that an interest rate on its debt above 7% is ultimately unsustainable for Greece and will force either a default or a bailout led by the European Union. The European Union and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) have offered a $60 billion package of emergency loans.
The news hasn’t exactly been a boon for the euro. As of 9 a.m. ET this morning the currency was down 0.5% against the U.S. dollar with it taking $1.3318 dollars to buy a euro.