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Re: B3* - GREECE/EU/ECON - Greek bonds fall as EU says budget deficit forecast unreliable

Released on 2001-03-13 18:00 GMT

Email-ID 1102724
Date 2010-01-12 18:53:08
by cheap i mean inexpensive.

Robert Reinfrank wrote:

Calling bullshit on their stats is a pretty cheap way to talk bond
prices down and add pressure on Greece to reform.

Robert Reinfrank
Austin, Texas
W: +1 512 744-4110
C: +1 310 614-1156

On Jan 12, 2010, at 6:40 AM, Antonia Colibasanu

EU report released on Jan. 8 but posted today -

Greek Bonds Fall as EU Says Budget Deficit Forecast Unreliable
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By Andrew Davis

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Greek bonds fell after the European
Commission said there have been "severe irregularities" in the
nation's statistical data, leaving the accuracy of the European
Union's largest budget deficit in doubt.

The declines drove the yield on Greece's two-year note 16 basis
points higher, the most in almost a month, after the commission
said in a report today "the lack of reliability and the shortage of
evidence supporting the deficit figure reported" in two revisions
by the government in April and October left the data "in question."
An International Monetary Fund team arrived in Greece today to aid
the government in its efforts to tame the deficit.

"You have all these stories about the IMF visiting Greece, the
European Commission and a reversal in risk appetite" hurting bonds,
said Peter Schaffrik, an interest-rate strategist at Commerzbank
AG in London. "A combination of these factors will weigh on Greece."

The EU is stepping up scrutiny of Prime Minister George Papandreou's
efforts to tame a deficit forecast to be equivalent to 12.7 percent
of the country's gross domestic product this year, more than four
times the region's set limit. EU President Herman van Rompuy will
hold talks with Papandreou today, a week after an EU team spent
three days in Athens.

"Unless the institutional weaknesses identified in this report
are addressed and proper checks and balances introduced, the
reliability of Greek deficit and debt data will remain in question,"
the EU said in its report today.

Yield Premium

The declines for Greek bonds drove up the extra yield investors
demand to hold the country's 10-year notes instead of
similar-maturity German bonds, the benchmark European securities, by
14 basis points to 232, the highest since Jan. 4. The difference
averaged 55 basis points over the past 10 years.

Credit-default swaps on Greece rose 20.5 basis points to 276,
according to CMA DataVision prices. That means it costs $276,000 a
year to protect $10 million of the government's debt from default
for five years.

Papandreou's government will complete this week a new
deficit-reduction plan that aims to cut the shortfall to within the
EU's 3 percent limit in 2012 and avoid punishment under the EU's
excessive-deficit procedure. The plan will be presented to the
Brussels-based commission this month and European finance ministers
will rule on the measures at a meeting on Feb. 15-16.

Today's report marks the EU's latest challenge to Greek statistical
data, after revisions in 2004 indicated the country shouldn't have
qualified to join the euro. Greece has met the EU's deficit target
once since joining the euro, according to Commission figures in
November. That was in 2006, when the shortfall was 2.9 percent.

Earlier Revisions

"The most recent revisions are an illustration of the lack of
quality of the Greek fiscal statistics and of Greek macroeconomic
statistics in general and show that the progress in the compilation
of fiscal statistics in the country, and the intense scrutiny by
Eurostat since 2004, have not sufficed to bring the quality of Greek
fiscal data to the level reached by other EU Member States," the
report said.

Concern about the government's worsening finances prompted Fitch
Ratings, Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's to all cut
the country's creditworthiness in December and fueled
investor concern about a possible debt default.

The difference in yield between Greek and German 10-year government
debt widened to 276 basis points on Dec. 21, the most since March

Greece's deficit has prompted speculation from some investors
that the rest of the EU would save the country from default if such
a move were necessary. The EU will support Greece's efforts to tame
the deficit, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero,
who holds the EU's rotating presidency, said last week in Brussels.

How far support from the EU or ECB would go remains unclear. ECB
Executive Board member Juergen Stark said in a Jan. 6 interview in
Italian newspaper Il Sole-24 Ore that "markets are deluding
themselves" if they are counting on a bailout.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Davis in Rome at
Last Updated: January 12, 2010 06:37 EST