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PIIGS on the Wing

greecepiigs.jpg

Felix Samon passes along some informed speculation as to what will happen if Germany (as expected) refuses to bail out Greece. In a word, default:

Where would Greek debt trade in the event of a default? This is the scariest thing: my highly plugged-in companions both agreed that it wouldn’t just fall to 70 or even 60 cents on the dollar: they saw fair value closer to 40, and said that it would probably fall to 30 before people started buying.

Needless to say, if Greek debt was trading at 30 cents on the dollar, it wouldn’t take long for the Portuguese domino to topple. After that, Spain — and then, it’s easy to imagine, Italy, Ireland, UK. And so the stakes are very high: it’s certainly cheaper to bail out Greece with virtually unlimited funds than it is to risk a fully-blown PIIGS default. But there does seem to be the hope or expectation that a line could get drawn in the Iberian sand, and that Italy and Ireland would not be allowed to default even if Portugal and/or Spain imploded.

Meanwhile, Walter Russell Mead urges us not to gloat over Europe's implosion. Sage advice. America may enjoy a short term boost as investors flee Europe, but we still need to get our own fiscal house in order.

(AP Photo)