Tuesday 26 September 2017

Greece crisis: Euro and shares tumble as debt talks break down

Any big picture survey of Europe does not leave one filled with optimism about the future of the EU and all its works
Any big picture survey of Europe does not leave one filled with optimism about the future of the EU and all its works
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

European shares fell on Tuesday after talks between Greece and euro zone finance ministers over the country's rescue package broke down, raising doubts about Athens' future in the euro.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.3 percent at 1,497.06 points at 0803 GMT. Greece's Athex share index was due to open at 0830 GMT.

Euro zone banks, which have a large exposure to the region's sovereign debt market, led the declines, falling 1 percent.

After the market close on Monday, Greece rejected a proposal to request a six-month extension of its international bailout package as "unacceptable". Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chaired the meeting, said Athens had until Friday to request an extension, otherwise the bailout would expire at the end of the month.

"It's a big risk and the pressure is immense," said Joost Van Leenders, chief economist of multi asset solutions at BNP Paribas Investment Partners. "The parties have to move and the room for manoeuvre is pretty small."

Earlier U.S. stock futures fell to ESc1 $2,082, about 0.8 percent below its levels on Monday just before the news of euro zone finance ministers' meeting hit the wire.

Australian shares slumped 0.6 percent .AXJO, dragging down MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS 0.2 percent. The Nikkei futures also pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks.

Read more here: Greek talks collapse as deadline for bailout looms large for Europe 

The euro dipped to $1.1345 EUR= from Monday's high of $1.14295, though the currency kept some distance from last week's low of $1.1270 and its 11-year trough of $1.1098 hit on Jan. 26.

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chaired the meeting, said Athens had until Friday to request an extension, otherwise the bailout would expire at the end of the month.

Without support from creditors, the Greek government and banks would face a looming euro cash crunch, possibly opening the way for Greece to become the first country to ditch the common currency altogether and re-introduce its own currency.

Still, markets generally assume a compromise would eventually be reached given the potentially painful consequence of a Greek exit from the euro.

"The market had been a bit optimistic about an agreement so it was a bit of a surprise," said Kyosuke Suzuki, director of forex at Societe Generale.

"But from the past experience during the euro zone debt crisis, the market is also accustomed to negotiations dragging on until the very last minutes. So while the tail risk appears to be rising, there is no panic in the market," he added.

Earlier on Monday, global shares hit their highest since September on optimism over the Greek debt talks, with the MSCI all-country world stocks index .MIWD00000PUS touching its highest since Sept. 22

Reuters

Also in Business