Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Germany Faces Billions in Losses If Greece Goes Bust

Well then, I can see why Angela Merkel put the kibosh on further negotiations until after the Greek referendum. Germany's looking to get hammered if Greece goes completely belly up.

At Der Spiegel, "The Bill: Germany Faces Billions in Losses If Greece Goes Bust":
Vast amounts of German money are at stake if Greece goes bankrupt -- with liabilities as high as €84 billion. Even though that figure is a large one, it would be paid over years and dangers to the Berlin budget are limited.

"So far, Germany hasn't had to spend a single euro from the federal budget on Greece." It's a line one has heard dozens of times on German talk shows in recent years. Soon, though, the claim may no longer hold true. A Greek insolvency is now within the realm of possibility and if the country does go bust, it could directly burden the German federal budget.

But how many billions of euros in German money are actually at stake? It may seem like a simple question, but there are no easy answers, because Germany's actual liability for Greek debt depends on a number of factors.

For a simple answer, just scroll to the last graphic in this article, where you will find the maximum burden for the German budget in a worst case scenario. If you're looking for a more nuanced answer, then please continue reading.

In order to determine the maximum possible liability for Germany as of the end of June 2015, you have to consider several factors, including whether …

* Greece becomes insolvent but remains in the euro zone. Then Germany would be held liable for up to €61.5 billion ($68.6 billion) in Greek loans. But these liabilities would be for payments that are planned as far into the future as 2054.
Or whether …

* Greece also withdraws from the euro zone. In the event of a Grexit, Germany's total liabilities would increase to around €84.5 billion.

But how do these numbers fit together?

The important thing here is that these figures represent the maximum conceivable damage to the German budget. They would be incurred if Greece didn't pay a single cent back on its debts over the next four decades -- an extremely unlikely scenario. It's far more likely that Greece would service certain debts, but not others.

In other words, there are varying probabilities of default for Greek loans that Germany has backed...

BONUS: At Zero Hedge, "'Heartbreaking' Scene Unfolds at Greek Banks as Pensioners Clamor for Cash."