Goldman News Helps Greece in Short Term

For once, Goldman Sachs has done the Greeks a favor.

It's probably not the favor that the bank was hoping to deliver, but the SEC's decision to charge the Wall Street giant with fraud has definitely taken the spotlight off Athens and its budgetary woes.

The Parthenon in Greece
Scott E. Barbour | Getty Images
The Parthenon in Greece

Sadly, this refocusing of the news cycle is unlikely to last long enough to provide lasting help for the Greek government.

Put simply, its troubles are here to stay for many years. This has though yet to really dawn on most Greeks.

They understand that the calling in of the EU and the IMF is embarrassing, but there seems to be a sense in Athens that the crisis is now coming to an end.

This illusion is likely to be shattered once the IMF in particular makes clear the size of the stick that will accompany the aid carrot.

The austerity plan is likely to be substantial in its scope and will see the Greek economy pushed firmly into depression for next few years.

However, without the ability to devalue their currency, the Greeks will struggle to generate any sustained growth.

The debt spiral will consequently get worse and will lead to further aid packages before an eventual default as the solvency crisis comes to a head.

In the mean time, investors will continue to charge Athens a high price for taking its debt.

Not least because they are likely to find the paper they are buying is subordinate to the debt that is created as part of the aid packages How and when the situation will end is not clear yet.

Leaving the euro does not look like an option for the Greeks at the moment.

The country clearly has the bulk of its debt denominated in euros, but the ramifications will go well beyond the size of a haircut investors will have to take.

In the mean time the single currency will continue to suffer.

Greece is not alone in this mess and the message that austerity is essential has been heard in many other capitals from Dublin to Madrid to Rome.

As these economies contract, the ECB will struggle to find any reason to raise rates despite what could be some strong figures out of Germany.

While the Fed over in Washington will also have to worry about deflation for a little while longer, the balance of probability is that the US economy will deliver far stronger growth over the next few years than Europe.