Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Greece, Germany Grapple Over Debt - WSJ.com

Greece, Germany Grapple Over Debt - WSJ.com:
"'Our task is to anchor a new culture of stability in Europe,' German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in prepared remarks for a party congress Monday.

A spokeswoman for Ms. Merkel said Monday the German chancellor's call for investors to bear a share of the burden in case of a euro-zone default in sovereign debt was made in reference to European Union discussions about new strategies for financial-crisis management that would not be implemented before 2013.
At the same time, the very fact that some countries are facing borrowing difficulties is spreading the problem to others and weakening the euro. That makes a speedy solution imperative.

Ireland, the country most acutely in crisis, is facing pressure to accept a bailout in order to stem the contagion, and a Portuguese minister speculated over the weekend that his country—another weak spot—may be forced to leave the euro zone."

Greece's poor record of making economic estimates and compiling government statistics. The 2009 deficit—also adjusted Monday from 13.6% of GDP to 15.4%—has been revised a half-dozen times. Greece now says it has finally seen the end of statistical revisions.

But the changes to the numbers also reflect a more fundamental problem: Greece is straining to bring in enough cash to close its budget gap sufficiently. Data from the Greek finance ministry show that revenue is up just 3.7% in the first 10 months of 2010, against the same period a year ago. The deal Greece inked in May as part of its bailout calls for full-year 2010 revenue to be up by 13.7%. That's now all but impossible, and Greek authorities have responded by imposing additional spending cuts to compensate. Analysts say Monday's new figures mean Greece will have to cut again.

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