Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who Will Be The Next European Country To Get Bailed Out?

The $110.5 billion bailout of Ireland may not be the last as several other countries have greater financing needs than Ireland. Assuming, that the bailout continues to cost about 40 percent of GDP, the the EU/IMF Stabilization Fund could quickly burn through its available funds. See the following post from The Street.

There have been two bailouts so far: Greece ($145 billion) and Ireland ($110.5 billion). Who will be next? To answer this question, I return to parts of a table posted earlier.

Note that I include in this table maturing debt as well as the budget deficit. Countries have to roll over maturing debt as well as financing the current government deficit. And if bond markets are not enthusiastic, interest rates shoot up (unless you have your own central bank to buy up government debt). So according to this table, who looks vulnerable? How about all the countries with a larger financing need than Ireland and Greece? That would be Italy, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal.

Let's look at something else. What would be needed to bail out these five countries? Ireland got $110.5 billion (49% of GDP) and Greece got $145billion (44% of GDP). Of course, every country case is special and will require different amounts. But in Table 2, I assume the countries above Greece and Ireland in Table 1 end up needing a bailout equal to 40% of GDP.

Table 2 - Projected

Estimates of how much is actually available in the EU/IMF Stabilization Fund range from $750 billion to $1 trillion. With Ireland and Greece already claiming $256 billion....

Without France and Italy needing assistance (why not?), $1.1 trillion would be needed for future bailouts at 40% GDP.

And look at those unemployment rates. They will undoubtedly go up because of belt-tightening required by any bailout package.

What a mess! Reason for concern.

This post by Elliott Morss has been republished from The Street, a site covering financial news, commentary, analysis, ratings, and business and investment content.

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