Greece to Exit Euro Zone Next Month?
Associate Editor, CNBC
Another day, another prediction of a Greek exit from the euro zone. But unlike the vast majority who give a medium term timeline for a "Grexit", one strategist told CNBC it could come as early as next month.
“It’s a question of when, not if. Next month there is the ratification of the ESM [European Stability Mechanism] in Germany and you may well see a situation where Greece leaves the euro, the ESM is ratified and Spain and Italy then go in and ask for the money. There is a feeling that time is running out,” Paul Day, Chief Strategist, at Market Securities told CNBC’s "Squawk Box Europe".
He added that pressure on the beleaguered state had intensified recently as well as the fact that “the numbers just don’t add up” prompting some European policymakers to seriously contemplate a future for the euro zone without Greece.
“We’ve seen this again and again. We need people to put their hands up and say: this is not going to work and Greece needs to leave. The consensus within Europe is that they want the European project to succeed but the political channels within Germany want the euro to remain together but not necessarily with Greece part of it,” he said.
The possibility of Greece leaving the currency bloc reached fever pitch at the time of Greek elections, when the far left Syriza party, which insisted the bailout agreement be torn up, almost took power - an outcome which would have meant Greece's euro days were numbered.
As the crisis continues to rumble on with no decisive action by policymakers and markets growing increasingly weary, the voices suggesting at the very least some form of reform of the euro zone have grown louder.
Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First told CNBC.com that the chances of a Greek exit within the next 12 to 18 months were 70 percent. There has even been talk of other nations leaving the euro zone, including Spain and perhaps more surprisingly the zone’s economic powerhouse Germany itself.
A number of northern European states have become increasingly exasperated at the lack of action and the periphery’s inability to push through required reforms.
A recent edition of a Finnish news magazine hinted that the country was considering an exit from the euro zone. While small in comparison to the French and German heavyweights, Finland remains a crucial and prosperous member of the bloc – an increasingly small club.
Some of this is in response to the electorate in these states which has felt for some time that it has bailed out its profligate southern neighbours while practising frugality at home. The main Finnish euro-skeptic party made large gains in elections last year with a manifesto based around no more bailouts for peripheral countries.
In related news, The Financial Times reported that Greece is seeking a two-year extension to its austerity program, which Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to outline to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande at talks in Berlin on Thursday.
Wilbur Ross, the well-known vulture capitalist, told CNBC earlier this week that Greece was in worse shape than many people realize and said “I am in favor of Greece going out, both from the Greece point of view and the ECB.”