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« Excerpt From SK OptionTrader on Silver Market Mentality | Main | Inflation to remain elevated; cut stand at 8% by Mar 2012: Citi »

Fitch to put Greece into ‘restricted’ default

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Its higher than junk!

This is an article that we found in The Guardian covering the most recent bailout for Greece. We draw your attention to the word 'restricted' which we are having some difficulty understanding. If you cannot make an interest payment on your debt you are in default in our opinion and this play on words is absolute tosh. The ratings agencies need to re-discover the word JUNK.

Anyway here it is:

Fitch has become the first ratings agency to confirm that it will put Greeceinto default as part of the €109bn rescue deal agreed on Thursday night.

Although Fitch welcomed the agreement that was unveiled in Brussels, it has also decided to assign Greece a "restricted default" rating.

The decision is based on the fact that private sector investors will contribute up to €50bn by rolling debt over or writing some off altogether.

"Fitch considers the nature of private sector involvement in a new financial programme of support for Greece to constitute a restricted default event," said David Riley, head of sovereign ratings at Fitch. "However, the reduction in interest rates and extension of maturities potentially offers Greece a window of opportunity to regain solvency, despite the formidable challenges that it faces."

Under the agreement announced last night, investors holding Greek debt can swap it for new securities maturing in 30 years, with higher interest rates on offer if they take a haircut on the size of the loan.

More encouragingly for Athens, Fitch said it expects to assign a "low speculative grade" rating to Greece's future bonds. That suggests they would still be treated as "junk", but several notches above default.

Fitch also undermined Europe's efforts to build a firewall to stop the crisis spreading, predicting that Ireland or Portugal had just 18 months to avoid the same fate.

"If the Irish and Portuguese economies and public finances are not firmly on a sustainable path going into 2013, when both will need to regain access to medium-term market funding, the potential precedent set by PSI [public sector involvement] in the Greek package will be incorporated into Fitch's assessment of the risks to bondholders and reflected in its sovereign rating opinions and actions," said the agency.

Gary Jenkins, head of fixed income research at Evolution Securities, said Fitch had given Ireland and Portugal "18 months maximum to get their houses in order, or they could face further rating downgrades".

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sk chart 22 May 2011.JPG

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