Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bloomberg on likelihood of sovereign debt defaults

"Ballooning public debt is likely to force several countries to default and the U.S. to slash spending, according to Harvard University Professor Kenneth Rogoff , who in 2008 predicted the failure of big U.S. banks. "

and later

"Greece’s debt totaled 298.5 billion euros ($407 billion) at the end of 2009, according to the Finance Ministry. That’s more than five times more than Russia owed when it defaulted in 1998 and Argentina when it missed payments in 2001.

The cost of protecting Greek sovereign debt from default surged in January, then declined this month as concern eased over the country’s creditworthiness. Credit-default swaps on Greek sovereign debt have fallen to 356 basis points from 428 last month, according to CMA DataVision. That’s up from 171 at the start of December."

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