Monday, February 22, 2010

Catering to the populists...

Greek Tragicomedy getting even more absurd by accusing Fund Managers from "profiteering" by taking speculative positions on Greek debt.

What would the same people describe what Greece did in order to join the EU, and the subsequent benefits it retained?

ATHENS, Greece (Reuters)—Two Greek newspapers reported on Friday [Feb. 19] that the country's EYP intelligence service, investigating speculative attacks on Greece in money markets, had identified U.S. and British firms as aggressive sellers of Greek bonds.

The finance ministry said it would not confirm the reports, neither of which alleged that laws were broken. A government spokesman said EYP had not been asked to undertake such a probe.

"There is no such action, no such decision. Beyond that, of course we are doing our analysis, trying to determine where these speculative games originate," government spokesman George Petalotis told reporters.

The press reports, which follow criticism of speculative trading by senior politicians in Europe, may be part of efforts by officials to deter hedge funds and other institutions from conducting trades that worsen instability in Greek asset prices.

Greek bonds and stocks have been hammered since a socialist government elected in October revealed last year's budget deficit had ballooned to a projected 12.7% of gross domestic product, over four times the European Union's limit.

While much selling has been conducted by long-term investors alarmed by Greece's debt crisis, traders say shorter-term speculators have been involved; some have laid bets in the market for credit default swaps (CDS), used to hedge against the possibility of a Greek debt default.

"EYP has managed to unravel the strands of speculation entangling the country," the center-left To Vima newspaper reported on Friday, without quoting any sources. It said four asset management firms identified by Greek intelligence were London-based hedge fund manager Brevan Howard, and U.S.-based Moore Capital, Fidelity International and Paulson & Co., all alleged to have sold Greek bonds since December.

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