Greek Vote on Debt Could Destroy Europe’s Bailout Effort

09137.jpgGreek Prime Minister George Papandreou called a referendum and a parliamentary confidence vote, raising the prospect of derailing Europe’s bailout effort and pushing Greece into default. Stocks and the euro tumbled.

Papandreou’s gambit risks pushing the country into default if rejected by voters, and raises the ante with dissidents in his own party. Papandreou’s popularity has plunged after a raft of austerity measures cut pensions and wages, increased taxes and sparked a wave of social unrest. An opinion poll published Oct. 29 showed most Greeks believe the accord on a new bailout package and a debt writedown is negative.
“Papandreou could lose the referendum, which means that new elections would have to be called,” Thomas Costerg, European economist at Standard Chartered Bank in London, said in an e-mail. “Heightened Greek uncertainty could propagate to other fragile euro-area countries, in particular Italy.”
German bunds jumped, sending yields down the most since March 2009, and the euro weakened while stocks and U.S. futures fell. German 10-year yields slipped 17 basis points to 1.85 percent at 10 a.m. in London. Italian bonds dropped, pushing the 10-year yield to as much as 440 basis points above benchmark German bunds, a euro-era record. The euro was 1 percent lower at $1.3718 after yesterday’s 2 percent decline.
The MSCI All-Country World Index retreated 1.6 percent and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures lost 1.4 percent. The Athens benchmark general index sank 6.2 percent to 758.46 at 12:10 p.m. in Athens.
Source: Bloomberg | Maria Petrakis, Natalie Weeks and Marcus Bensasson

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