Euroforia’ is gone, shout Nordic investors.
The surprise call for a referendum in Greece on the eurozone rescue deal negotiated last week has pulled the rug out from under Nordic markets today.
Espen Furnes (pictured), manager of the Norwegian Delphi Europa fund, said the news was not good.
“Although I see the political logic behind an election about the debt restructuring, for the financial markets this is very negative. This means that the uncertainty from before is back. Firstly this delays the final approval of the package, which is clearly negative. Secondly, it raises the question of what happens if they vote ‘no’. There’s not much support for the austerity measures, naturally and then we’re in an even worse place than before the deal was announced. This is very unwelcome indeed.”
Greece’s departure from the eurozone may be the best solution.
That is the view of Swedish private bank Erik Penser’s chief economist Sven-Arne Svensson, who said that given the existing euro exchange rate any austerity introduced by the Greeks will not be enough. However, there is also a question mark as to whether it is even possible for the country to leave the eurozone. “It seems as if nobody really knows what applies,” he said to Dagens Industri.
“My interpretation is that this is the first step towards leaving euro cooperation. With negative growth over several years it will be difficult to do otherwise. And somehow I think that the Greeks will get the money they need anyway. If they delay repayments in November as speculated it will have significant consequences.”
Svensson added that stockmarkets faced years of uncertaingy and continued contagion risk involving Italy and other countries, regardless of whether Greece stayed in the eurozone or not.
Norway, which of course remains outside both the EU and the eurozone, has started to feel the pinch from the crisis, suggests Dagens Næringsliv.
Its headline is that the “Euroforia” is gone, and that Norwegian industry reported significantly lower activity through October, according to the latest Norwegian PMI figures published by Fokus Bank on Tuesday.
The PMI fell to 50.4 from 54.1 the previous month, suggesting that the economy is on the border between growth and contraction.
A separate production index fell from 56.2 in September to 50.4 in October, Fokus Bank added.
The Oslo stock exchange fell sharply in early trading on Tuesday, predominantly because of the impact of the lower oil price. A barrel of North Sea oil for delivery in December fell $1.6 to $107.92, while Norwegian oil giant Statoil shed 2.3% to NOK138.5.
Offshore oil services firm Kværner is down 2.6% to NOK10.45, said Dagens Næringsliv.
In Denmark Børsen reported Sydbank’s chief economist Jacob Greven stating that the news about a Greek referendum risks inflaming the entire sovereign debt crisis once more.
“Many hoped that the agreement would bring the sovereign debt crisis under control, but now the uncertainty is once again enormous. Investors have reacted with something close to panic,” Greven said.
Yields on Greek and Italian sovereign debt climbed. The 2-year Greek debt yield was up 301 basis points, while the Italian was up 24 basis points.
One uncertainty now is what a Greek ‘no’ vote would lead to, even raising questions over Greek membership of the EU. Greven said whatever the outcome it is certain that Spain and Italy will be considered suspect in the market, which means they will require help to avoid the same fate as Greece.
The situation now requires a “plan B” from European politicians, he added.
If the latest agreement fails, and Greece loses the euro, then the pressure will be on to ensure the remaining euro members retain cooperation to avoid a new deep global financial crisis.