Amid all the headline hockey and confirmation biases of every utterance by Varoufakis, the only important thing is the following 2 charts… how much pain… and when!!
- It will be politics rather than economics that drives the shorter-term outlook in Greece. Our base case remains that, eventually, some accommodation will be found between the new Greek government and Greece’s official creditors. This view has led us, so far, to expect modest spillovers from financial tensions in Greece to other Euro area markets. Thus far, this has proven correct.
- But the new Greek government’s position is turning more Eurosceptic and confrontational than we anticipated ahead of last weekend’s election. This increases the risk of a political miscalculation leading to an economic and financial accident and, possibly, Greek exit from the Euro area (“Grexit”). While the European authorities now have better tools to address market dislocations in general (and the re-emergence of convertibility risk in particular), these are unlikely to be activated in a manner that entirely pre-empts market tension should Grexit risks intensify or materialise. We would expect significant market volatility surrounding an event of such systemic nature as Grexit. The intensity and persistence of such volatility would depend on the process by which Grexit occurred, and on the nature of the policy and political response to it in other Euro area countries.
Funding needs and repayment schedules for Greek sovereign debt
- Greece owes EUR 315bn.
- There are three large blocks of officially held debt still outstanding: (1) the Greek loan facility (EUR 53bn, at EURIBOR+50bp, which matures from 2027 onwards); (2) EFSF / ESM loans (EUR 142bn disbursed, EUR 2bn committed; at EFSF funding plus small administrative fee, maturing in 30 years or after); and (3) IMF loans (EUR 20bn, maturing currently).
- There is also EUR 66bn of marketable debt outstanding, of which EUR 27bn is held by the ECB as a result of purchases under the Securities Markets Programme (SMP). There are EUR 15bn of outstanding Treasury bills. The remaining obligations are government and government-backed loans.
- Between 2016 and 2022, total debt servicing costs (both redemptions and interest payments) are small – between EUR 6 and EUR 10 bn.
- In 2015 financing requirements are more substantial. Core funding needs are about EUR 19bn. We have little information on available cash reserves.
- Key upcoming maturities are: (a) bonds held by the ECB in July and August (Table 2); (b) IMF loans in February and March of around EUR 3.5bn (Table 3); and (c) Treasury bills (most of which will be rolled by domestic banks, but a small portion of which are held by foreigners with a likely failure to roll resulting in a drain on government cash reserves).