Planning for Greek debt default gathering pace?

Luke Baker, Reuters/CNBC, 21.09.2011

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Euro zone leaders may reject the notion of a "Greek default". But private sector economists and political analysts are largely agreed that it is only a matter of time.

The questions that raises - and they are vast - include: what would the impact on European banks be? How much capital would need to be injected into the system? How would that be carried out? And would it stop contagion beyond Greece? [...]

That is why even those analysts who expect a default say everything will be done politically to prevent it happening any time soon - simply because the repercussions are incalculable.

"Even if you imagine an orderly default that reduces Greek debt from around 160 percent to 100 percent, we're talking about such a big restructuring that it would lead to an earthquake," said Janis Emmanouilidis, a senior analyst at the European Policy Centre, a think tank in Brussels.

"The effects would be enormous and probably very difficult to contain. It's not something that would leave other euro zone countries unaffected." As a result, he said, leaders will wait as long as they can before accepting the inevitable.

One finance expert who is advising governments on preparing for a Greek default says the major economies in the euro zone are ready for it, even if they are not yet actively courting it. [...]

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