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German push for Greek default risks EMU-wide `snowball`
Date 11/10/2011 15:03  Author webmaster  Hits 1066  Language Global

• 11 OCT 2011

Germany is pushing behind the scenes for a "hard" default in Greece with losses of up to 60pc for banks and pension funds, risking a chain-reaction across southern Europe unless credible defences are established first.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard | The Telegraph

Officials in Berlin told The Telegraph it is "more likely than not" that investors will suffer fresh losses on holdings of Greek debt, beyond the 21pc haircut agreed in July.

The exact level will depend on findings by the EU-IMF "Troika" in Athens.

"A lot has happened since July. Greece has fallen back on its commitments, so we have to assume that the 21pc cut is no longer enough," said one source.

Finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble told the Frankfurter Allgemeine that the original haircuts were "probably" too low, saying banks must have "sufficient capital" to cover greater losses if need be. Estimates near 60pc have been circulating in Berlin.

The shift in German policy has ominous echoes of last year when Chancellor Angela Merkel first called for bondholder haircuts, setting off investor flight from Ireland and a fresh spasm in the EU debt crisis.

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