Entries in Greece (39)


New Bailout Package for Greece Approved

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Greece will not be defaulting on its loans anytime soon.  

After weeks of difficult talks, Greece’s European partners and the International Monetary Fund agreed on Tuesday to release a bailout payment.  The proposal allows the country to reduce its oppressive level of debts, and the new loan makes it more likely that Greece will stay in the single currency eurozone.

The interest rate Greece will be charged will be lowered.  The country will also be given more time to pay its loans.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Greek government will receive loan payments of about $57 billion to be paid in four installments.  But Greece must stick to its deficit targets to qualify for the bailout.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stocks Down Amid Bleak Economic Prospects

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As fears about Europe persist, U.S. stock markets followed a selloff in Europe today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending the day at 12,502.66, down 138.12 points, or 1.09 percent.

There was more troubling news out of Europe today — Greece’s new finance minister had to step down because of an illness, Cyprus asked for a bailout, Spain’s banking crisis remains murky and expectations are low that European leaders will have any grand plan to deal with all of this.

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ ended the day lower as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Greece Seeks at Least Two-Year Extension on Bailout 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A policy document drafted by Greece's governing coalition says the country will seek at least a two-year extension from its creditors for the bailout program, Bloomberg News reports.

A document received in an email from the Greek government on Saturday shows that New Democracy, Pasok and the Democratic Left agree to eliminate plans to cut 150,000 public-sector jobs. It also included proposals to reduce sales tax for bars, restaurants, cafes and the agricultural industry and raise the income tax limit, Bloomberg says.

The New Democracy party won the nation's general election on June 17 on promises to renegotiate parts of the $163 billion bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund and keep Greece in the euro. Pasok and the Democratic Left then joined the winning party to form the new government coalition.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Asian Markets Rally After Greek Election Results

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Asian markets rallied Monday morning after voters in Greece narrowly backed pro-bailout parties in the country's weekend election.

The New Democracy party squeaked by the leftist Syriza bloc in Sunday's historic vote, 29.5 percent to 27.1 percent.  The result makes it less likely that Greece will soon make a disorderly exit out of the single currency euro zone.

In response, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 soared 1.96 percent, South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.81 percent, Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.77 percent, and Taiwan’s Taiex climbed 1.76 percent.  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shot up by 1.01 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite  gained 0.40 percent.

Still, the news in Greece wasn't enough to boost markets elsewhere.  Yields on 10-year Spanish bonds moved above 7 percent Monday morning, adding to fears that Spain might be the next euro zone country to need a full bailout.

As a result, U.S. stock futures were mostly lower ahead of Monday's opening bell.  Over in Europe, stocks dropped, losing gains they had made earlier in the day.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Third Straight Day of Losses for the Dow

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stocks ended Tuesday's session with a drop and some of the biggest losses in months, with the Dow closing down 63 points and the Nasdaq and S&P giving up nine points and eight points, respectively.

The continued losses can likely be attributed to the ongoing financial and political troubles in Greece.  Nearly $900 million was withdrawn from local banks in Greece Monday, according to remarks by President Karolos Papoulias to other leaders released Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reports. The heavy withdrawls only increase concerns about Greece's potential departure from the euro zone.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department says retail sales rose one-tenth of a percent in April, after stronger gains in the two preceding months.  Consumer prices were flat as cheaper gas offset modest increases for food, clothing and housing.
A drop in gas prices won't be enough to get many more of us on the road this summer.  A survey by  Triple A predicts only a small uptick in travelers.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Elections in France, Greece Can Affect Your 401(k)

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Voters in Greece and France went to the polls and sent the same message, punishing leaders who pushed through austerity plans -- drastic cuts aimed at saving Europe's economy.  

Why should the U.S. care about rejected austerity measures in Europe?  Economists say it could have an effect on your 401(k).  

Much of Greece's debt, for example, is financed by the major French banks.  The French banks are insured by American banks.  So if the banking system in Europe cracks, says Art Cashin of UBS Financial Services, 401(k)s in the U.S. will be dragged down with it.

"Money flows like water and if a dam breaks someplace, that could flood your home," Cashin told ABC News.

But the results of the rejection of these austerity plans may not be all bad.  According to a Wall Street Journal report, some analysts say voters' rejection of austerity in France and Greece could boost the global economy if governments feel pushed to do more in stimulating economic growth, rather than enforce stiff budget cuts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wall Street on Edge as Markets React to French, Greek Elections

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Investors on Wall Street could be in for a rough day on Monday as the market reacts to elections results out of Greece and France.  Stock futures were down ahead of the opening bell.

On Sunday, Socialist candidate Francois Hollande defeated French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the country's presidential elections and vowed to shift how the debt crisis there was being handled.

"Austerity can no longer be the only option for Europe," Hollande said Sunday in his acceptance speech in reference to Sarkozy’s policies to cut government spending.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Greece also cast new doubts on Europe's ability to fix its debt crisis.

After months of violent anti-austerity rioting, many Greek voters ditched the two parties that have led the country for decades, supporting austerity and securing European bailout funds.

According to the exit polls, the radical leftwing party Syriza has made strong gains and the far-right Golden Dawn party has won enough votes to enter parliament. This puts the Greek austerity plan in jeopardy, and, consequently, the Euro zone and global markets.

Already overseas, stocks have reacted poorly to the news.  European and Asian markets were down on Monday.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Greece Gets Enough Backing for Debt Swap Deal

Hemera/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) -- Greece announced on Friday it has received enough support from investors to go forward with a debt swap deal that will spare the country from default.

Following weeks of negotiations, Greece's Finance Ministry says nearly 86 percent of private holders have agreed to the deal, which drastically cuts the value of their government bonds.

The agreement, which cuts the country's debt by about $140 billion, should help set up Greece for its second international bailout.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Former Comptroller General Warns of Greek Scenario in US

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Former U.S. Comptroller David Walker has warned that the U.S. could slide into a debt scenario similar to what Greece is experiencing.

“The truth is if you count total U.S. government debt as compared to many of the European nations that are in the news, we’re already worse than they are, and we’re two years away from where Greece was when it had its crisis,” Walker said in a recent interview with

But he said that the size and economic power of the U.S. means it would have more time to right itself before disaster.

Walker served as U.S. comptroller general from 1998-2008, heading the Government Accountability Office under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

He’s been warning of fiscal troubles since 2007, when he told CBS’s Steve Kroft in a 60 Minutes segment, “I would argue that the most serious threat to the United States is not someone hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan, but our own fiscal irresponsibility.”

In this election year, Walker’s current message is simple: A broken political process is driving the U.S. toward fiscal ruin.

Walker is pushing to “shake up” that system, serving on the leadership board of Americans Elect, the group that aims to put an Internet-nominated presidential candidate on the November ballot in every U.S. state. The group told ABC News in an editorial meeting last month that it would almost certainly achieve that goal.

The former federal auditor said he wanted to see a repeat of Ross Perot’s independent 1992 presidential run.

“We don’t get enough specificity with regard to what people are proposing to do in order to make sure the type of debt crises that are occurring in Europe won’t reach our shores,” Walker told CYInterview’s Chris Yandek and Jay Bildstein.

“We’ve got more time than those countries in Europe, because of who we are and what our position is in the world, but we don’t have unlimited time, and it’s really important that this year’s presidential campaign place a lot of attention on the issue of fiscal responsibility and sustainability as Ross Perot did 20 years ago with significant positive impact,” Walker said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Greek Bailout Depends on Monster To-Do List

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nine days is all the time that Greece's creditors have given it to enact reforms, which, say nationalists, amount to nothing less than a forfeiture of sovereignty.

Yet if Greece does not comply, it will fail to qualify for its next infusion of bailout money ($172 billion) and will almost certainly default on its loans.

Here's a small sampling of what Greece has on its to-do list between now and March 1:

-- Rewrite its constitution to give priority to debt service.
-- Establish an escrow account that can be tapped only by holders of Greek debt.
-- Accept financial oversight from foreign "inspectors."
-- Fire a legion of under-performing tax collectors.
-- Enact legislation liberalizing the country's closed professions.
-- Tighten rules against bribery.
-- Prepare at least two large state-controlled companies for sale.

Add to this that some lenders reportedly feel it may be necessary to postpone Greece's national elections, now set for April, if the nation slips any further into violence and social chaos.

"That's a lot," says Mark Weisbrot of what Greece has on its plate. Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., on Thursday is releasing a report titled "What Are They Doing to Greece?" that says a Greek default and Greece's exit from the European Union are outcomes that should be taken seriously.

"The European authorities are really pushing Greece to the limit, not just in an economic sense but politically," he says. "It will invite a nationalist backlash.  It could help push Greece out of the Euro Zone as well."

While Weisbrot thinks Greece will somehow find a way to mollify its creditors by the March 1 deadline, his confidence has less to do with Greece's ability to accomplish reforms than with other EU nations' willingness to overlook its failure.

"They have more to lose than Greece does," he says. "Nobody knows what the consequences would be for Europe of a Greek default.  You hear all this bluster from the Netherlands and from Germany, but that's just bluff.  I'm not saying there wouldn't be a meltdown.  I'm saying there's enough uncertainty that the rest of Europe doesn't want to find out what would happen."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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