Tuesday, 28 February 2012

What is a selective default?

First I thank all who replied to my request for information on Mr Ison. It was much appreciated and filled in a gap in my knowledge.

Today the FT witters on about the S&P ratings agency putting Greece on 'selectoive default'. I had never heard of this but it seems to be a temporary status pending the forced restructuring of Greek debt held by private bondholders. It seems Greek law allows this to happen. It is all very strange but why anyone would have bought Greek debt in the first place is beyond me. The problem is many financial institutions to not read the covenants attached to bonds mainly as they don't understand them or their implications.

Here is how the FT puts it:

"S&P said the downgrade followed the retroactive insertion by Athens of a “collective action clause” forcing all bondholders to accept the terms of the deal put forward by the government for bonds issued under Greek law."

Its all very vague in the true EU tradition but I am certain of two things:

You can't pull this trick twice. No one in their right mind will ever buy Greek bonds in the forseeable future.

Another bail out will be needed in 6 months.

The only thing I am not sure of is when the Greek revolution will take place! 

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