European Union Finance Ministers have agreed that additional funding for Greece will come from both official and private investors, with the later likely through a voluntary rollover of existing Greek debt as per the ‘Vienna Initiative’ of 2009 applied at the time to Emerging Europe. Agreement was reached following the decision by Germany to ease its demands for private sector participation in a debt restructuring. The news brought some relief to markets on Friday.
However, the announcement today that a final decision on a further tranche of aid and a second bailout package will not take place until early July will come as a blow to markets and likely lead to a more cautious start to this week. The onus is now on Greek Prime Minister Papandreou to gain approval for further austerity measures following the recent government cabinet reshuffle and in the face of a no confidence vote tomorrow. Failure to pass the confidence motion could provoke a political crisis, leading to likely contagion across Europe.
Europe has given the Greek government until the end of this month to implement measures including budget cuts and asset sales, with failure to pass further austerity measures likely to lead to a delay of any further aid. There will be plenty of noise surrounding Greece over coming days, with the issue likely to dominate the EU summit in Brussels on June 23-24. In the meantime the EUR/USD looks like it will settle into a range over the short-term, with support around the 100 day moving average of 1.4165.
EUR speculative positioning is currently around its 3-month average, with the market continuing to hold a sizeable long position in EUR/USD according to the CFTC IMM data. The risks remain skewed to the downside as nervousness about a Greek deal grows. Should the Greek Prime Minister pass a no confidence motion there will be some short term relief but tensions are likely to persist for a long while yet. Moreover, other eurozone countries are not in the clear yet as reflected by Moody’s announcement that Italy’s AA2 government bond rating is on review for possible downgrade.