As you can see from the graph, the nation of Greece, once the subject of almost daily speculation about the viability of its government bonds, has pulled its economy out of a disaster into a muddle. No doubt, you got tired of hearing about Grexit scenarios and all the times when the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism came to the rescue.
Today, Greek unemployment stands at an alarming 23%, yet somehow the country has eked out a budget surplus, counting debt-interest costs, of 0.5% of GDP in 2016. So the country is finally out of the woods, right? Alas, Dutch and German creditors are now demanding that the Greek budget surplus be raised up to 3.5%, a level which would certainly push the nation into depression. Meanwhile, French, Dutch and German officials are afraid that if they permit the ESM to refinance Greece bonds at lower interest rates, it would embolden anti-EU politicians and potentially break up the union.
The resulting standoff, once again, threatens a Greek default and the possibility of a Grexit. Expect to read all about it in the coming months, and experience deja vu all over again.
About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years. Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site: MorningstarAdvisor.com.
Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association.