Is a Euro Zone Liquidity Problem Brewing?

Betty Davis in 'All About Eve'
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Betty Davis in 'All About Eve'

As Bette Davis said, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."

More Greek drama: rapid price changes in a corner of the currency markets suggest banks are worried about an interbank lending freeze, absent a rescue plan for Greece.

Currencies are being knocked around any number of ways as Greek's crisis drags on, but now there's a new element to worry about. The price of swapping euro-based interest payments into dollars had its biggest one-day drop since May 2010, when the sovereign debt crisis was first in full swing.

The level of the euro-dollar swap is still much more moderate than at the height of the financial crisis, or even May of last year. But the two-day change in price, from -24.75 to -37.5, has been so rapid that market pros are concerned. This kind of turmoil in the money markets was a key component of the financial and liquidity crisis of 2008.

Meanwhile, the euro itself is little changed today, though last Friday, it traded at roughly $1.4350. And the massive uncertainty in Europe is roiling currencies around the world.

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