Greece against the Wall
February 07, 2012 | 08:12 AM
Posted by David Mason
In a mad rush to meet the demands of the European bailout fund, the Greek government will cut 15,000 public sector jobs by the end of this year. This move is an attempt to rectify the country’s private debt problem, which must be satisfied in order for the next bailout to take place. Greece has a bond payment of 14 billion Euros on March 20; an amount the country cannot afford to pay at this time. The Greek government, headed by Prime Minister Luca Papademos, is attempting to negotiate with the European Commission, IMF and ECB by way of austerity in order to receive the funds required for the country to prevent a default. The EUR/USD is down this morning by 0.10% and trading at 1.3117.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in the spotlight
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify today before the Senate Budget Committee at 10:00am Eastern Standard Time. The testimony will begin with a statement by Bernanke regarding the state of the U.S. economy. It will continue with a question and answer session, where members of the committee will grill the Fed Chairman about any concerns they may have. It is during the Q&A portion of the testimony where pip movement is greatly increased and traders should watch carefully for signs of market direction during the Chairman’s answers.
Crude oil up in the cold
Despite increasing concern over Greece and the EU, oil prices are on the rise this morning as traders predict that the harsh winter plaguing Europe will drive up the demand for oil. Crude oil is up this morning by 0.17% and trading at 97.08 USD per barrel. Weather reports are indicating a continuation of the current temperatures and some believe that going long on crude is the wise step to take at this time. In other commodity news, gold is up this morning by 0.33% and currently valued at 1730.65.
Greek exit a strong possibility
Citigroup has raised the probability of a Greek exit from the Euro to 50%, up from the previous 25%. This prediction is for the next 18 months and is a strong indicator about how pessimistic the markets are regarding Greeks future in general and in particular with the Euro. Citigroup believe that a Greek exit would only cause moderate damage to the European economy, with EU leaders working to prevent contagion to other weak member states. Some prominent economists disagree with this however, and claim that a Greek exit would cause a ripple effect which will lead other peripheral members, especially in Southern Europe, to leave the single currency as well.