Greek Debt Drama: You Can Either Fret Olives, Or Make A Martini

greek finger

By Alan Steel

Wow, they must be really hard up for bad headlines (Sorry, Donald) because someone’s just dealt the Greek card back onto the global economic table, face up.

Scribblers at the FT have described the current situation as:

“what is likely to be an ‘explosive’ surge in its (Greece’s) public debt level that within decades will mean it will owe almost three times the country’s annual economic output unless given significant debt relief, the International Monetary Fund has warned in a confidential report.”

Is this really news, or even confidential?

I’m sure the financial world has been wondering how the cradle of democracy and keepers of olives and taramasalata have kept afloat in the EU ever since Goldman Sachs helped the Greek government back in 2002 to mask the true extent of its deficit with the help of a derivatives deal that legally circumvented the EU Maastricht deficit rules.

In other words, can anyone say “cross-currency swaps” or how about “pay you later…much later”?

Well here’s the bill, folks…and nice Brexit, Britain. Timing is everything.

But it remains disappointing that the dredgers have been called in.

What about the surging small business optimism in America and the improving investor sentiment across the Atlantic?  How about standing in the middle of the longest S&P 500 rally since 1932? And what of the overall upward trend in per capita GDP in the last 50 years? Jings, even in the UK some 62% of adults in the UK are still positive about Britain’s future…and that survey was taken after the Brexit vote.

And which voice are you listening to; the one that says Greek debt in a few decades is gonna be even worse…or…are you going to think of life instead as being fraught with opportunities to which popular opinion is mostly blind?

In other words, are you fretting over olives or making a martini?

Are you shaken or stirred?

The choice is yours.

Make a good one.

Alan Steel, Chairman, Alan Steel Asset Management

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