SBS Radio News
The SBS MP3 Player requires the Adobe Flash 8 Plugin. You can get Flash from here...
Radio News Bulletin
Greece to leave the Euro?
16 May 2012 | 16:36 | Source: Ricardo Goncalves, SBS
It was a much taboo topic, often denied, but as Greece's political uncertainty grows as a government fails to form, more and more financial leaders are contemplating a Union without the Hellenic state.
Overnight, the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde told France 24, that if the country's budgetary commitments are not honoured, its bailout plan needs to be revised, otherwise an orderly exit from the Eurozone may need to be considered.
Even Australian based businessmen are commenting, like ANZ CEO Mike Smith, who told Bloomberg Television overnight, that a break-up of the eurozone was quite likely.
He said countries in the south of the continent may have to become detached from the Euro, if they're ever to become globally competitive.
But a split is highly complex.
Ms Lagarde said any move that would see Greece out of Europe's single currency would be considered extremely expensive and would pose great risks.
If Greece was to return to the drachma an uncontrolled default on euro-denominated debt would be triggered, because many economists believe its old currency has devalued by around 40 per cent against the Euro.
Athens only has around $2 billion cash on hand.
The EU and IMF which lent money to Greece would lose out, and so too would the European Central Bank along with foreign creditors of Greek companies, banks and ultimately the people of Greece.
On the flip side, Eurogroup President, Jean-Claude Juncker stressed that Greece had the continent's full backing adding that talk of its possible exit from the euro was nothing more than nonsense and propaganda.
Right now, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are meeting to discuss ways the keep Greece in its club.
Ms Merkel has said, that while she's prepared to help Greece with its growth measures, a Greece aid package cannot be renegotiated.
If it is, it wouldn't set a good precedent for other troubled nations that have also tapped Europe's safety chest for financial aid.
Ultimately Ms Merkel said today, that she wants Greece to stay in the Euro.
Still, investors don't like uncertainty and many are starting to price in the possibility of a Euro without Greece.
It's one of the reasons why we've seen the Australian sharemarket slump 2.4 per cent today, its biggest one day decline in five months.
Asian markets didn't fare any better, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng down 2.7 per cent.
Another casualty is the Australian dollar as investors exit risky assets like our currency.
It fell to below US$0.99 for the first time in more than five months.