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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Barber of Athens

The late Nestor Kirchner, also known as the Barber of Buenos Aires must be bewildered in his resting.

The Argentina he inherited in 2000 looks so much better than the current moribund Greece.  Public Debt over GDP in Argentina before the hair cut was a mere 45% compared with 143% for Greece. The interest rate that brought Argentina down was an 8.7%, compared to the current 25% Greece pays for 2 year notes. Furthermore, GDP prospects are weak for Greece while Argentina’s were positive. One thing both countries share was the lack of monetary policy. Argentina had a currency board while Greece is part of the Euro. The big difference; Greece has Germany, Argentina had nobody.

The question is not if or when Greece will default. The question is what shape it will take.

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