Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Greek Tragedy: S&P strikes southern Europe

The rating agency Standard & Poor's has gone on a rampage versus the larger part of the southtern periphery of the Europan Monetary Union, and the euro has been pushed a fresh twelve-month low as a result.

S&P knocked Spain's credit rating down by one notch to AA from AA+ on Wednesday and stated its outlook was negative on the Iberian nation due to its budget deficit. The Euro-Zone's common currency immediately felt the impact, falling to trade at 1.3114 versus the dollar, its lowest mark since April 2009.

The euro was able to pull back to over 1.3200 against the Greenback after the US Federal Reserve revived the market's appetite for risk with a positive forecast for the US economy.

This hit on Spain came just one day after the S&P slashed Greece's rating by three points to the status of junk as well as cut Portugal's rating by two levels.

As far as Greece's ongoing problems, International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday.

While no specific timetable or payment details were announced, the three leaders assured that negotiations on how and when to implement the €45 billion euro loan package for Greece were under way and should be brought to a close in a speedy manner. Afterward, Strauss-Kahn told the press that "the future the Europe is at stake", underscoring the importance of the moment.

Merkel added that negotiations with Greeece need to be accelerated and that she expects talks to conclude in a few days. CNBC reported that the German parliament could sign off on the deal by the end of next week.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted by a German newspaper before the meeting saying that Greece would "not be let down" in one of the clearest signs of support from Berlin in recent weeks that Berlin would indeed make good on its prior promises to help out the Mediterranean nation.

The clock is ticking away with a critical May 19 deadline approaching. Athens will then have to come up with €10 billion euros in order to meet its commitments or else.

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