The 21 Countries Most Likely to Default

By Gregory White

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Friday's S&P outlook downgrade of Italian sovereign debt sent credit markets into a tailspin this week, and made a difficult situation in Europe look even worse.

Recent elections and failed austerity measures have also exacerbated the crisis, with many of Europe's fringe states lacking the growth they need to escape their debt traps.

Now the costs of insuring sovereign debt of eurozone states is rising again, as markets begin to be believe in the inevitability of some sort of restructuring event.

We've ranked the top 21 countries by Monday's intraday credit default swap (CDS) price, or the cost to insure each country's debt. It isn't a perfect ranking of what country is likely to default first, or when, but it does show a growing consensus from market participants that the crises in these states is getting worse.


Note: A 5-year CDS price of 1000 bps suggests it costs $1 million to insure $10 million of debt.

Sources: Bloomberg (Monday), CMA Datavision (Friday)

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/05/the-21-countries-most-likely-to-default/239465/