Nightmare Scenarios if Greece Exits the Euro

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European leaders and market analysts are starting to forecast the results of a Greek exit from the Eurozone and the projections don't look good.

On Monday, Greece's political leaders failed to form a coalition government, boosting fears of a swift exit from the Eurozone. Now, Bloomberg's Patrick Donahue reports that European Central Bank policymakers gathered in Paris to weigh the possible outcomes of a Greek exit. Meanwhile, global market analysts are feeding the international press their best guesses. Unfortunately for Greece (and the EU) many of the predictions are nightmarish. Here's what analysts say will come of a Greece exit from the Euro :

Interest rates skyrocket  Michael Arghyrou, senior economics lecturer at Cardiff Business School, has bad news for Greeks in need of a loan. "Interest rates will have to double and all mortgages, business loans and other borrowing will become much more expensive," he says. "There will be no credit for Greek banks or the Greek state. That could mean a shortage of basic commodities, like oil or medicine or even foodstuffs." Of course, that's not even the worst of it. "The worst case scenario would be a social and economic breakdown, perhaps even leading to a totalitarian regime," he says. 

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Bank runs spread to other countries. Bloomberg's Donahue says the threat to other European countries is very real. "A Greek departure from the euro could trigger a default-inducing surge in bond yields, capital flight that might spread to other indebted states and a resultant series of bank runs," he writes. "Although Greece accounts for 2 percent of the euro-area’s economic output, its exit would fragment a system of monetary union designed to be irreversible and might cause investors to raise the threat of withdrawal by other states."

Greek citizens migrate en masse. In a chain of events, The Observer's Julia Kollewe sees Greek skilled labor exiting the country. "The depreciation of the new currency will make imported goods more expensive and drive up inflation," she writes.
Mass unemployment is likely, as is an exodus of young skilled workers. If tens of thousands of Greeks headed to the borders, they might even be closed. Greek soldiers patrolling the roads and ports to keep their fellow citizens in? It is not impossible."

Europe increases its bailout fund. Charles Grant, director of the London think tank Centre for European Reform, says the EU will have to invest more in its precautionary bailout fund. "If Greece moves towards exiting the euro ... the EU would then need to enlarge its bailout funds and prepare other emergency measures." 

Unemployment surges Jan Randolph, head of sovereign risk at IHS Global Insight, says everyone is missing the possibility of a government shutdown following by an unemployment surge. "If credit is withdrawn by the EU and IMF, then Greece becomes a cash economy. It means the government can only pay what it collects," writes Randolph.  "The government starts shutting down, 10-15% of state employees don't get paid and unemployment surges from 20% to 30% ... The Greek banking sector would collapse as well."


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