Now the Greek debt crisis is settled – for the moment – with a 110 billion euro cheque it’s time to look at who will be declared ‘too big to fail’ next.
Spain, step right up.
But before getting to Spain, lets remind ourselves that the public isn’t as easily duped that everything is going to be fine as it was in a pre-internet age. Social networks, search engines and real-time news coming from tens of thousands of different sources mean that what used to be an easily controllable story through select, once-a-day media has now spun out to a race to see who can get the most reliable information out there first.
Hedgeye contributor Keith McCullough had this to say this to say about Greece, “Despite one of the largest proposed government bailouts in world history, stocks from Athens to Hong Kong continued to sell off early this morning.”
“In between now and then, a lot is going to happen. While it may not be clear yet how this will end for GS and BP, for Greece it will end in default. There is no calculation that reveals a reasonable probability that after saddling themselves with another 110 Billion Euros of debt, the Greeks can grow GDP at the same time as they promise to cut the deficit. It’s not hard to figure this out and, as usual, Mr. Macro Market already has. It’s just math.
Understanding that most politicians don’t do math is important. Just see these Crackberry Debt Addicts for who they are as they chase one another for short term resolve to long term issues. Instead of Paulson, this time it’s Papandreou. The names have changed but this blue magic is exactly what Hank Paulson and his banking cronies tried to sell you in May of 2008. Borrowing short to fund long term liabilities eventually ends in tears (or in Paulson’s case, puking in the West Wing).”
Anyway, now that Greece has been temporarily band-aided into debt and media obscurity, lets take a look at the Spanish debt problem – the next of the ‘PIIGS’ – that looks set to crumble unless mountains of debt, to pay off mountains of debt, comes to the rescue.
The first and glaring thing to look at is Spain’s unemployment problem.
Spain may be more complex, more costly and more problematic for Europe and, by extension the world, than anyone can imagine at this point. As Daryl Jones for Fortune online wrote this morning:
“Spain, especially relative to Greece and Portugal, has a sizable economy. According to the most recent estimates from the World Bank, Spain was the 9th largest economy in the world in 2009 with a GDP of $1.4 trillion. From a pure geography perspective, it is the second largest country by land size, after France, in the European Union. It also has a government budget that is more than four times that of Greece, and a commensurate debt balance.”
But even that’s not the crux of the issue, the real issue, as with Greece, and other European countries that haven’t yet gone through the wringer is the amount of debt to be ‘rolled over’ – read ‘re-financed’ this year.
By some estimates Spain’s debt to be rolled could be as high as 225 billion euros. But no one really knows and just like Greece there is a large proportion of foreign ownership. In Spain’s case, according to CNN money, it’s around 45%.
And lets not forget that Greece’s debt rollover bailout started with estimates of 70 billion euros, and finished around 145 billion euros.
Time will tell exactly how much Spain will have to be helped out. And the question then becomes – who can, not ‘who will’ be able to ply them with enough debt to not topple.
CNN’s money video is essential viewing even if it is ‘pre Greece bailout’: