What happens if Greece leaves the euro? No one can say for sure. But John Davies at WestLB, finds it difficult to envision a benign outcome.
Greece’s economy, at around $300 billion, is very small compared to the euro zone as a whole. The problem is if other countries follow suit – or are pressured in that direction by stubborn financial markets.
Such a scenario doesn’t bear thinking about because it is so horrible.
There is a good chance that the market would immediately trade Portugal towards pre-debt swap Greece levels. The next in line would certainly be Ireland and Spain.
Initially you have got to assume that spreads would become even more dislocated. As you are moving out and down the credit curve the ones with the weakest credit ratings will likely suffer worst, at least initially, because we are moving clearly into the world of the unknown and that’s precisely what the market doesn’t like.
The Greek elections have left a political vacuum that is raising speculation that the country may eventually exit the euro. Last Sunday, Greek voters punished mainstream parties that supported harsh austerity in exchange for international bailout cash. That left the Greek parliament with a jumble of minority parties that have been unable to form a government.