Juncker: It may not be enough even if Greece defaults with 60 percent haircut

In an interview carried on Austrian Television station ORF, Euro Group President Jean-Claude Juncker admitted that the present bailout package for Greece will not stand (hat tip egghat). The 21% discount worked out just a few months ago will become 50 or 60% or more. Hence the need for bank recapitalisation. Even that may not be enough, Juncker said.

At present, the bond restructuring for Greece is predicated on a hypothetical discount of 21 percent, assuming the new bonds trade at a 9 percent Greek sovereign yield. Global Macro Monitor has shown that:

It is NOT – we repeat NOT — the amount that Greece will have its debt reduced. In fact, using the first term sheet of the Institute of International Finance, the actual debt reduction Greece would secure, on a present value basis, is only about 6 percent.

The deal is a soft restructuring, whereby the creditors agree to lower the interest rates as they extend the maturity and pretend they won’t have to write more debt down. The deal is not about principal reduction.

The deal everyone is talking about – and that Juncker is admitting is coming is a hard restructuring aka principal reduction. In April, S&P said we would see 50-70% haircuts. Otmar Issing was talking about 50% in September and Greek expulsion from the euro zone. Two weeks ago, I also used the 50% figure on Greek haircuts, saying that

Finally, finally, the politicians have relented and are moving to the inevitable solution for Greece, a haircut and recapitalisation plan.

Here’s what Juncker was saying:

When asked whether they were discussing a debt reduction of 50 to 60 percent in the case of Greece, Juncker said , "we’re talking about more." He does not rule out a debt haircut, but one should not think that will be enough.

I don’t have video but it sounds to me like Juncker is hinting at a Greek exit from the euro zone. If I get video, I will post it.


Edward Harrison is the founder of Credit Writedowns and a former career diplomat, investment banker and technology executive with over twenty five years of business experience. He has also been a regular economic and financial commentator on BBC World News, CNBC Television, Business News Network, CBC, Fox Television and RT Television. He speaks six languages and reads another five, skills he uses to provide a more global perspective. Edward holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College.


  1. David Lazarus says:

    A Greek exit from the eurozone will cause serious social problems that some will resent. It could cause significant unrest. The fact that Greeks are now starting to emigrate, particularly the young professionals will push Greece into a debt spiral. The write-offs need to be even bigger than 60% possibly 90% or even 100%. Then the EU will need to flood Greece with funds like a Marshall Plan to avoid social collapse.

    • mystrdat says:

      Social collapse in Greece you mean.

      • David Lazarus says:

        Yes. At the moment it is expressed through the riots, but the middle classes are starting to leave, starting with the young professionals. That will harm the long term potential of the country and increase the per capita debt burden, dragging this problem out for another decade. What is needed is complete write offs and then a Marshall type plan for the reconstruction of the country. Starting with a new tax system that is fair and starts to make the country viable fiscally.