Finally, Greek endgame appears to be playing out

EU leaders will gather for an emergency meeting on Monday to determine the fate of Greece. For five years, the EU has found a way to kick the can down the road as Greece has stood on the brink of default, extending deadlines, pumping cash into the banking system ($83 billion so far), and creating two bailout packages that have totaled $240 billion. 

Now, almost everyone outside of Greece is saying that the endgame is about to be played out. Greece can't make a $1.8 billion payment to the IMF due at the end of the month without the last of the bailout money being released. But Greece's left wing government refuses to make concessions on wages and pensions that would help place it's budget on sounder fiscal footing. So the EU is taking Greece to the mat. The European Central Bank will decide whether to continue to prop up Greece's comatose banking system. If the ECB decides not to throw good money after bad, the likelihood grows of a catastrophic banking meltdown. Greeks have already withdrawn hundreds of billions from the banks and without the liquidity supplied by the ECB, they will be unable to remain in business.

Reuters:

If Greece does default on its debts, which remains a real possibility, it could require capital controls that would potentially turf it out of the euro zone or even the European Union itself, becoming the first country ever to leave the bloc.

Athens said last week it did not have the cash to repay an International Monetary Fund loan so Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras only has until the end of the month to strike a deal with creditors.

"We've had deadlines and more deadlines, and none of them actually turned out to be final, but now we're approaching what is going to be a final deadline," said Sonja Marten, FX strategist at DZ Bank in Frankfurt.

IMF boss Christine Lagarde closed one of Tsipras' last potential escape hatches on Thursday, declaring the global lender would consider Athens in default if it misses the June payment, despite some reports there might be some leeway.

Voted into power in January on a pledge to roll back austerity amid mass unemployment and an economy in freefall, Tsipras' government has so far balked at demands from creditors for new pension cuts and tax hikes on basic goods like food and electricity.

"There are dim hopes amidst an active rumor mill that on balance continues to portray both Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and his main banker German Chancellor Angela Merkel as uncompromising," said Derek Holt at Scotiabank.

Merkel faces growing opposition from within her ruling conservatives to granting Greeceany more bailout money, with a recent opinion poll showing a narrow majority of Germans now in favor of Greece leaving the currency union.

The German taxpayer is sick and tired of paying for Greek extravagance. Merkel's wiggle room has disappeared as she faces a revolt in her party over the Greek debt crisis. 

With the ECB set to cut off funds to Greek banks, the IMF refusing to grant Greece an extension, and the entire EU political and financial leadership united in their belief that Greece must get its house in order before any more cash is dispensed, the delusional left wing prime minister, who still believes the rest of Europe should subsidize their massive welfare state, is set to take Greece out of the eurozone. He is hoping that the contagion will be so bad the the rest of Europe will come crawling back, begging Greece to reconsider. 

But European governments and central banks have taken precautions to keep any Greek meltdown from spreading. Europe's banks are far less exposed to Greek debt than they were 5 years ago, and even iffy banking systems in Italy and Spain are fairly well protected. The ECB has established a firewall to protect the debt of other EU states as well. 

In short, Tsipras's gambit is going to fail. The only question is, how bad it will get for the Greek people when there's no money and few goods to buy. In a sign that Europe's leaders are thinking about that problem, they are establishing a humanitarian fund to help ordinary Greeks weather the financial storm.

EU leaders will gather for an emergency meeting on Monday to determine the fate of Greece. For five years, the EU has found a way to kick the can down the road as Greece has stood on the brink of default, extending deadlines, pumping cash into the banking system ($83 billion so far), and creating two bailout packages that have totaled $240 billion. 

Now, almost everyone outside of Greece is saying that the endgame is about to be played out. Greece can't make a $1.8 billion payment to the IMF due at the end of the month without the last of the bailout money being released. But Greece's left wing government refuses to make concessions on wages and pensions that would help place it's budget on sounder fiscal footing. So the EU is taking Greece to the mat. The European Central Bank will decide whether to continue to prop up Greece's comatose banking system. If the ECB decides not to throw good money after bad, the likelihood grows of a catastrophic banking meltdown. Greeks have already withdrawn hundreds of billions from the banks and without the liquidity supplied by the ECB, they will be unable to remain in business.

Reuters:

If Greece does default on its debts, which remains a real possibility, it could require capital controls that would potentially turf it out of the euro zone or even the European Union itself, becoming the first country ever to leave the bloc.

Athens said last week it did not have the cash to repay an International Monetary Fund loan so Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras only has until the end of the month to strike a deal with creditors.

"We've had deadlines and more deadlines, and none of them actually turned out to be final, but now we're approaching what is going to be a final deadline," said Sonja Marten, FX strategist at DZ Bank in Frankfurt.

IMF boss Christine Lagarde closed one of Tsipras' last potential escape hatches on Thursday, declaring the global lender would consider Athens in default if it misses the June payment, despite some reports there might be some leeway.

Voted into power in January on a pledge to roll back austerity amid mass unemployment and an economy in freefall, Tsipras' government has so far balked at demands from creditors for new pension cuts and tax hikes on basic goods like food and electricity.

"There are dim hopes amidst an active rumor mill that on balance continues to portray both Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and his main banker German Chancellor Angela Merkel as uncompromising," said Derek Holt at Scotiabank.

Merkel faces growing opposition from within her ruling conservatives to granting Greeceany more bailout money, with a recent opinion poll showing a narrow majority of Germans now in favor of Greece leaving the currency union.

The German taxpayer is sick and tired of paying for Greek extravagance. Merkel's wiggle room has disappeared as she faces a revolt in her party over the Greek debt crisis. 

With the ECB set to cut off funds to Greek banks, the IMF refusing to grant Greece an extension, and the entire EU political and financial leadership united in their belief that Greece must get its house in order before any more cash is dispensed, the delusional left wing prime minister, who still believes the rest of Europe should subsidize their massive welfare state, is set to take Greece out of the eurozone. He is hoping that the contagion will be so bad the the rest of Europe will come crawling back, begging Greece to reconsider. 

But European governments and central banks have taken precautions to keep any Greek meltdown from spreading. Europe's banks are far less exposed to Greek debt than they were 5 years ago, and even iffy banking systems in Italy and Spain are fairly well protected. The ECB has established a firewall to protect the debt of other EU states as well. 

In short, Tsipras's gambit is going to fail. The only question is, how bad it will get for the Greek people when there's no money and few goods to buy. In a sign that Europe's leaders are thinking about that problem, they are establishing a humanitarian fund to help ordinary Greeks weather the financial storm.