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This article titled “Greece debt crisis: ECB tightens screw ahead of emergency eurozone summit – as it happened” was written by Graeme Wearden (now), Nick Fletcher, Paul Farrell and Helen Davidson (all earlier), for theguardian.com on Monday 6th July 2015 20.50 UTC
And here’s Tuesday’s Guardian — complete with Yanis Varoufakis leaving the building…
Just one more thing… the front pages of the UK newspapers. And tomorrow’s crunch summit makes the front of the Financial Times:
While Angela Merkel’s hard-ish line on Greece is the splash in the Daily Telegraph:
I wonder what’s on the front page of Tuesday’s Guardian. Stay tuned….
Closing summary: Last chance for Greek deal looms
We’re been live-blogging the reaction to Sunday’s Greek referendum for around 21 hours now. It’s time to wrap up and give the Guardian web servers a rest.
So, a final recap.
Greece and the eurozone will make one last, desperate attempt to make progress towards an urgently needed bailout deal on Tuesday.
Leaders, and finance ministers, will both hold crucial meetings in Brussels, after Sunday’s referendum result raised the risks of Grexit to new heights. It’s a final chance for Greece to propose a new reform plan that could start the ball rolling towards a new aid package, but the journey looks perilous.
The leaders of France and Germany are scrambling to reach a consensus tonight in Paris, at a top-level meeting about Greece (photos here).
Greece’s prime minister has held telephone calls with the heads of the International Monetary Fund and also the European Central Bank. Alexis Tsipras told Mario Draghi that the capital controls in Greece need to be lifted, but was told by Christine Lagarde that the IMF cannot released more funds now Athens is in arrears.
Earlier, Francois Hollande insisted that there was time to reach a deal. Angela Merkel sounded less optimistic, though, warning that there was currently no basis for an agreement. Press conference highlights start here.
Analysts aren’t convinced that progress will be made tomorrow….
The European Central Bank has tightened the rules for giving emergency funding to Greek banks tonight. It is now imposing tougher haircuts on the assets they hand over, restricting their ability to access the funding.
The ECB also reportedly rejected a request for €3bn in extra ELA support:
This means Greek banks will remain shut for at least two more days, after capital controls were extended until the end of Wednesday.
Over in Greece, Alexis Tsipras has mobilised the leaders of the main opposition parties to support him. They signed a joint statement, saying Sunday’s referendum showed Greece’s desire for a “socially just and economically sustainable agreement”.
There’s talk of a new mood of national unity, but it could be swiftly shattered.
Tsipras has also passed the honour/poisoned chalice of being Greece’s finance minister to Euclid Tsakalotos, following Yanis Varoufakis’s resignation this morning.
Varoufakis has denied tonight that he was a sacrifical lamb, having exited the finance ministry in classic style today:
In the UK, George Osborne has warned that the risks to the UK are rising. Britain is already providing more consular support in Greece for expats and holidaymakers, and help for businesses struggling to trade with Greek firms.
I’ll pop back into the blog if there are any major developments — otherwise, please tune in tomorrow morning for more. Thanks, and goodnight. GW
Alexis Tsipras has discussed the Greek banking sector’s liquidity issues with ECB president Mario Draghi tonight.
Tsipras also raised the “immediate need” to lift capital controls during the phone call, according to a government spokesman quoted on Reuters.
Our europe editor, Ian Traynor, sums up the situation tonight:
Germany and France scrambled to avoid a major split over Greece on Monday evening as the eurozone delivered a damning verdict on Alexis Tsipras’s landslide referendum victory on Sunday and Angela Merkel demanded that the Greek prime minister put down new proposals to break the deadlock.
As concerns mount that Greek banks will run out of cash and about the damage being inflicted on the country’s economy, hopes for a breakthrough faded. EU leaders voiced despair and descended into recrimination over how to respond to Sunday’s overwhelming rejection of eurozone austerity terms as the price for keeping Greece in the currency.
Tsipras, meanwhile, moved to insure himself against purported eurozone plots to topple him and force regime change by engineering a national consensus of the country’s five mainstream parties behind his negotiating strategy, focused on securing debt relief.
Tsipras also sacrificed his controversial finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, in what was seen as a conciliatory signal towards Greece’s creditors.
In Paris, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande tried to plot a common strategy after Greeks returned a resounding no to five years of eurozone-scripted austerity. The two leaders were trying to find a joint approach to the growing crisis ahead of an emergency eurozone summit on Tuesday to deal with the fallout.
But Merkel said there was no current basis for negotiating with the Greek side and called on Tsipras to make the next move.
As eurozone leaders prepared for today’s emergency summit in Brussels , the heads of government were at odds. France, Italy and Spain are impatient for a deal while Germany, the European commission and northern Europe seem content to let Greece stew andallow the euphoria following Sunday’s vote give way to the sobering realities of bank closures, cash shortages and isolation…..
Christine Lagarde spoke to Alexis Tsipras today, and explained that the International Monetary Fund can no longer provide money to Greece after it failed to repay €1.6bn last week.
Under IMF rules, once a country is in arrears, fresh funds cannot be supplied, a spokesman explained (via Reuters)
Hat-tip to Sky News’s Ed Conway for getting into Yanis Varoufakis’s leaving bash tonight and grabbing a quick interview.
Greece’s finance minister denied that he’d sacrificed himself, declaring:
“No, no, this is politics, mate. There are no sacrificial lambs.
Varoufakis added that he’ll rest on Tuesday, but is bound to offer advice from the sidelines.
Tuesday’s edition of the Guardian will carry many letters from readers about the Greek crisis, expressing support for Greece at this time.
Guardian Letters: Athens has reinvented our vision of democracy
Italy’s finance minister has suggested that the eurozone is willing to consider a new aid programme for Greece:
Pier Carlo Padoan told Canale 5 television.
“The 18 (other countries in the euro) are open to re-considering a Greek request which can only be a request for a new programme, not a continuation of the old one,”
Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy has echoed Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande tonight, by warning that time is very short:
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has warned Greece it must decide whether it wants to remain in the eurozone, and accept the ‘deep reforms’ needed.
He told MPs tonight that Athens must deliver acceptable proposals to its creditors.
If things stay the way they are, then we’re at an impasse. There is no other choice, they must be ready to accept deep reforms.”
A Greek insider has told Reuters that the European Central Bank hiked the haircut on Greek assets by around 10%, but the impact will be ‘minimal’.
So the ECB hasn’t pulled the plug, yet…..
AFP has a good summary of the situation in Greece’s banking sector:
Greek banks to stay closed Tuesday and Wednesday
Greek banks will remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday with limits on daily withdrawals unchanged, officials said on Monday as the European Central Bank maintained its liquidity assistance to the nation’s beleaguered lenders.
“Until Wednesday evening we continue as things stand today,” said Louka Katseli, chairwoman of the National Bank of Greece.
Speaking on behalf of the association of Greek banks, she added:
“If there is a decision by the European Central Bank in the meantime enabling us to modify this decision, there will be a new decision.”
The European Central Bank’s governing council decided to maintain the emergency liquidity assistance keeping Greek banks afloat at the level set on June 26, the Frankfurt-based bank said in a statement.
“The financial situation of the Hellenic Republic has an impact on Greek banks since the collateral they use in ELA relies to a significant extent on government-linked assets…
“In this context, the governing council decided today to adjust the haircuts on collateral accepted by the Bank of Greece for ELA,” the ECB added, without specifying the level.
Capital controls were enacted on June 28, limiting ATM withdrawals by Greeks to €60 per account daily after a referendum on bailout terms sparked a run on deposits.
The Bank of Greece had requested an increase in emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) and that request was the subject of the ECB meeting, held a day after 61% of Greeks voted against further austerity measures in Sunday’s plebiscite.
ELA is currently the only source of financing for Greek banks, and therefore the Greek economy. But with Greece’s bailout programme now officially expired and in the absence of any new programme, the conditions for its continuation are no longer met.
But analysts believe the ECB will not want to be the one to pull the plug on Greece and force the country out of the single currency.
Two members of the ECB’s governing council pushed for Greece’s banking sector to be hit with even tougher measures, according to Claire Jones of the Financial Times.
The ECB refused to disclose the size of the new haircuts, but all four of Greece’s main banks are thought still to have enough collateral available to roll over their emergency loans.
Two people on the governing council objected to the decision, according to Eurosystem sources. Both of the objectors wanted the ECB to take stronger measures.
That implies either an even higher haircut (putting Greek banks in greater peril), lowering the ELA cap (ditto), or terminating ELA off (which would be game over for Greek banks).
The ECB may not have pulled the trigger on Greek banks tonight, but it is reserving the right to take a shot if Tuesday’s emergency summit doesn’t deliver any progress.
Confused? Try this….
This graph is crucial to understanding what the ECB did tonight.
By raising the haircut applied on assets from Greek banks, it cuts the amount of emergency liquidity that can be handed back in return. Every time the haircut goes up, the ‘value’ of the assets that can be used to access ELA falls.
So, to simplify the issue, each €1bn of Greek assets might have yielded €520m of emergency cash yesterday, but tomorrow it might only be good for €480m, for example (figures plucked out of the air).
Raise the haircut high enough, and Greek banks simply can’t qualify for extra assistance at all.
The European Central Bank has just raised the risk of a Greek bank going under, argues George Hay, European Financial Editor at Reuters Breakingviews.
ECB hits Greek banks with tougher haircuts
Finally, the European Central Bank has announced its decision on the emergency support it provides to Greek banks.
And the ECB has maintained the cap on emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) at €89bn, but crucially it has “adjusted” the haircuts it applies to the assets which Greek banks hand over in return for funds.
In simple terms, that probably means the ECB is treating Greek government bonds as riskier, and valuing them as such when it calculates how much liquidity it can provide.
It’s another tightening of the screw on Greece – meaning some banks may find it even tougher to qualify for emergency liquidity assistance.
Here’s the full statement:
The Governing Council of the European Central Bank decided today to maintain the provision of emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) to Greek banks at the level decided on 26 June 2015 after discussing a proposal from the Bank of Greece.
ELA can only be provided against sufficient collateral.
The financial situation of the Hellenic Republic has an impact on Greek banks since the collateral they use in ELA relies to a significant extent on government-linked assets.
In this context, the Governing Council decided today to adjust the haircuts on collateral accepted by the Bank of Greece for ELA.
The Governing Council is closely monitoring the situation in financial markets and the potential implications for the monetary policy stance and for the balance of risks to price stability in the euro area. The Governing Council is determined to use all the instruments available within its mandate.
More reaction to follow…
Merkel returns to her favourite theme – that European solidarity and responsibility are linked.
Europe can only hold itself together if each country takes responsibility for itself, she says, insisting that Greece got a generous offer in the past.
Merkel: No basis for negotiations yet
Angela Merkel agrees that the door to talks with Greece is still open, despite yesterday’s No vote.
But Greece must put its proposals on the table this week. As things stand, there is no basis for talks on a new programme under the European Stability Mechanism (ie, a new aid programme)
Hollande also speaks of the values that hold Europe together. It is not just a monetary and finance construction.
Hollande: the door is still open to Greece
Francois Hollande sounds quite conciliatory, telling the audience in Paris that France and Germany respect the vote of the Greek people yesterday.
The door is still open to talks for Alexis Tsipras to make serious proposals.
Tomorrow’s eurozone crisis summit will allow Europe to define its position, based on the Greek proposals, he says, adding that time is running very short.
Merkel-Hollande press conference
Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande are speaking to the press now, following their talks on the Greek crisis.
Here’s some photos of Euclid Tsakalotos being sworn in as finance minister tonight:
Tsakalotos has an engagingly dressed-down style, even for a member of the current Greek government (frankly, he could pass for a eurocrisis liveblogger).
But he did make one concession to the majesty of the occasion…..
The US government has urged Europe and Greece to seek a compromise that will avoid Grexit.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it was in the best interests of America, and Europe, that the Greek crisis is solved. It is a “European challenge to solve”, he added.
Here’s a video clip of UK finance minister George Osborne updating the British parliament on the Greek crisis today:
Osborne has been criticised for not backing calls for Greece to be given debt relief.
Jonathan Stevenson, campaigns officer at the Jubilee Debt Campaign, said:
“The Chancellor was today given several opportunities by MPs from all parties to add his voice to calls for Greek debt cancellation, but he refused to take it. By sitting on the fence, rather than making the case for debt cancellation, he is failing to use his influence to help resolve this crisis, and thereby selling the people of Britain short.
The French stock market suffered from the Greek crisis today, with the CAC index shedding 2%.
Germany’s DAX fell by 1.5%, while in London the FTSE 100 index fell 50 points of 0.7%.
So, electronic red ink everywhere – but not a really serious selloff, given the scale of the shock last night when the referendum results came through.
Tsakalotos sworn in as finance minister
The deed is done. Euclid Tsakalotos has just been sworn in as the new Greek finance minister, by president Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
This Google Trends data shows how Greeks have been searching for information on leaving the eurozone, and on the implication of yesterday’s referendum:
Photos: Merkel and Hollande begin Greek talks
Over in Paris, Francois Hollande has welcomed Angela Merkel to the Elysee Palace for crisis talks about Greece, following yesterday’s referendum.
After a brief smile for the camera, they swiftly got down to business. We’re expecting a joint statement from the two leaders before dinner.
German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has insisted that it didn’t have any “personal problems” with Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister.
But it is true that the other euro finance ministers didn’t share Varoufakis’s opinion on many points, Schäuble added.
(that’s via Associated Press)
Here’s Reuters first take on the news that Greek banks won’t reopen tomorrow:
Greek banks will remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday and a daily limit on cash withdrawals will stay at €60, the head of the Greek banking association said.
Greek banks were shuttered all last week after the collapse of negotiations on an aid deal and had officially been due to reopen on Tuesday, before Greeks voted resoundingly to reject bailout terms sought by creditors in a referendum on Sunday.
“We decided to extend the bank holiday by two days – Tuesday and Wednesday,” Louka Katseli said after a meeting with finance ministry and banking representatives.
Who is Euclid Tsakalotos anyway?
Last month, our Athens correspondent Helena Smith explained how the “Phlegmatic, professorial, mild-mannered” Euclid Tsakalotos could be the key to reaching a breakthrough in the Greek crisis.
And as Tsakalotos is Greece’s new finance minister, this theory is about to be tested…..
Here’s a flavour:
The son of a civil engineer who worked in the well-heeled world of Greek shipping, Tsakalotos was born in Rotterdam in 1960. When his family relocated to London, he was immediately enrolled at the exclusive London private school St Paul’s. A place at Oxford, where he studied PPE, ensued. The hurly burly world of radical left politics could not have been further away.
“My grandfather’s cousin was general Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos who led the other side, the wrong side, in the Greek civil war,” he said of the bloody conflict that pitted communists against rightists between 1946-49.
“He expressed the fear that I might end up as a liberal, certainly not anything further to the left”…
Perish the thought…
Here’s the full piece:
The risk of Greece sliding towards a disorderly exit from the eurozone has “dramatically” increased following the No vote in last night’s referendum.
So warns rating agency Fitch tonight:
An agreement between Greece and its official creditors remains possible, but time is short and the risk of policy missteps, or that the two sides simply cannot agree a deal, is high.
Fitch adds that it will be “difficult” to reaching a deal before 20 July, when Greece must repay €3.5bn to the ECB.
New finance minister to be sworn in tonight.
The Greek government has announced that the new finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, will be sworn in by the Greek president at 8pm this evening (6pm BST).
This will allow the Oxford-educated economist to attend tomorrow’s eurogroup meeting and present Greece’s case.
And his first task will be to approve a two-day extension to Greece’s capital controls, meaning banks stay shut until Thursday:
Greek banks to stay shut
Newsflash: Greece’s banks will not reopen on Tuesday, or indeed on Wednesday, according to the head of the Greek bank association.
The daily withdrawal limit remains at €60.
A couple more lines from George Osborne’s statement to parliament on Greece.
He tells MPs that Britain has sent tax officials out on secondment in recent years, to assist with revenue collection.
Unfortunately, tax collection has “almost dried up” since the crisis escalated.
And the chancellor says Britain can’t suspend pension payments to expats in Greece, to protect them from capital controls. That would risk triggering financial problems, if people had set up rent payments, and suchlike.
And the worst thing for Britain, and the world, would be a completely disorderly situation in the next few weeks. That’s why we are urging all sides to reach a solution.
Back in Greece, Euclid Tsakalotos is being appointed as Greece’s new finance minister to replace Yanis Varoufakis, as had been rumoured.
One official told Reuters:
“Tsakalotos will be sworn in with the political oath as finance minister,”
As mentioned earlier, Tsakalotos is known as the brain behind Syriza’s economics policies, and has been handling the day-to-day negotiations with creditors for the last couple of months.
Labour MP Gisela Stuart asks:
Does Britain have any plans to fly euros into Greece to pay our pensioners, if they cannot get money out of the cash machines?
Osborne says that Britain has “a number of contingency plans, and we just hope we don’t have to put them into operation.”
Two years ago, when Cyprus imposed capital controls, Britain flew out large quantities of euros in military planes to pay soldiers based in the country.
Andrew Tyrie, a senior MP who chairs Britain’s influential Treasury Committee, asks George Osborne if he agrees that Greece can never repay all its debt, or return to sustainable growth at the current eurozone exchange rate.
Shouldn’t Greece issue its own currency?
Osborne won’t be tempted to give an opinion. We don’t like it when other counties tell Britain what currency to use, so it’s up to Greece to decide its own currency.
But, the challenge is balancing Greece’s desire to stay in the euro with the conditions that other eurozone members wish to put on it, he adds.
Osborne sums up the challenge facing Greece rather neatly.
There are two different timetables, the chancellor says — the political one, of meetings and negotiations to reach a possible deal, which proceeds quite slowly.
And there is the situation in the Greek banking sector, which is moving at a much faster pace.
The challenge for the eurozone and the challenge for greece is to bring those timetables together.
George Osborne says that tomorrow’s eurogroup and eurozone leaders meetings are crucial for Greece, although tonight’s Franco-German meeting (between Merkel and Hollande) is also important.
Chris Leslie, the shadow chancellor, warns that the European Union faces its most “fundamental test” in a generation.
Osborne: Risks to Britain from Greece are growing
George Osborne, Britain’s chancellor of the Exchequer, is speaking in parliament now.
He met with prime minister David Cameron and Bank of England governor Mark Carney earlier today.
Osborne warns MPs that the prospects of a happy ending in Greece are diminishing, while the risks to Britain from Greece are growing, so it’s right to remain vigilant.
The financial situation in Greece will “deteriorate rapidly” if there is no sign of agreement at tomorrow’s talks.
This is a critical moment in the economic crisis in Greece. No-one should be under any illusions. The situation risks going from bad to worse…
Osborne tells MPs that the UK government will continue to pay state pensions to expats in Greece “in the normal way” , but also warns that tourists should take sufficient money, and medicines, to cover their stay.
The government has already been in touch with 2,000 pensioners to help them switch to UK bank accounts.
The Department for Business is providing advice to firms having problems dealing with companies in Greece, he adds.
And Britain is boosting its consular operations in Greece.
With his duties at the finance ministry over, Yanis Yaroufakis can now turn his attention to more mundane issues – like his new book.
What does yesterday’s No vote mean for Europe? How can Angela Merkel respond? Will the departure of Yanis Varoufakis help?
Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland and economics editor Larry Elliott explain all, in barely 180 seconds…..
German media are reporting that Alexis Tsipras and Angela Merkel have telephoned (as we flagged earlier), with both leaders agreeing that Greece will bring new proposals with him to the Euro group meeting which may help to overcome the crisis.
Further details of what they discussed have yet to emerge.
Also, a Spiegel correspondent in Greece, Giorgis Christides, is reporting that paper supplies are running out in Greece, with newspaper publishers saying they had enough paper left to print only up until next Sunday.
One publishing manager has even proposed halting the printing of books, until the shortage eases.
IMF "stands ready to assist Greece"
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has just issued a short statement on Greece:
“The IMF has taken note of yesterday’s referendum held in Greece. We are monitoring the situation closely and stand ready to assist Greece if requested to do so.”
Snap reaction: Greece heading towards national unity?
The fact that the leaders of three Greek opposition parties have agreed to back prime minister Alexis Tsipras in the debt negotiations is an important development.
The strong No vote in Sunday’s referendum has strengthened Tsipras’s position, as he heads to Brussels tomorrow.
As well as representing his Syriza-ANEL administration, Tsipras now has the backing of New Democracy, To Potami and Pasok.
That only leaves the KKE communist party on the sidelines, and the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn.
Commentators reckon it could be the first step towards a new ‘national unity’ administration to tackle the crisis.
UK chancellor George Osborne due to address the UK parliament on the Greek situation shortly. My colleague Andrew Sparrow is covering it all in his politics liveblog.
The centre-left Pasok party has also agreed to back Alexis Tsipras in the looming debt negotiations.
Fofi Genimata, Pasok’s leader, did criticise the PM for only rallying support “at the eleventh hour”.
New Democracy, the centre-right opposition party, will also sign the common statement expressing support for Alexis Tsipras in negotiations with lenders.
ND was represented by Vangelis Meimaraki at today’s meeting, following the resignation of leader Antonis Samaras last night.
Meimaraki criticised Tsipras for calling today’s meeting so late, and said the PM bears responsibility for the crisis. But crucially, he did still sign the statement:
Ah, it appears that the communist KKE party will not support this joint statement from Greece’s political leaders:
(that’s Kammenos in the middle)
Greek political leaders to release joint statement
The meeting of Greece’s political leaders is breaking up in Athens, after more than six hours.
And Panos Kammenos, the head of the right-wing ANEL party which is coalition with Alexis Tsiprass’ Syriza, is telling reporters that the leaders will release a “joint statement”.
That will be a written assurance that the opposition leaders support Tsipras in his negotiations with creditors, Kammenos says – along with a reference to debt relief.
Stavros Theodorakis of the centrist To Potami party is also speaking. He confirms that a common statement will be drawn up. ahead of Tuesday’s emergency eurozone summit.
US stock markets have opened after the July 4 holiday long weekend and so far reaction to the Greek crisis is muted.
The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all down around 0.5% in early trading.
So far US investors have largely shrugged off the Greek crisis and it looks like they same mood will prevail today. But anything can happen. During the last Euro-crisis US markets went on a roller coaster ride as investors worried about “contagion” and Greek woes spreading across Europe.
Yanis, we’re going to miss you
Alexis Tsipras must bring serious proposals to Brussels tomorrow to tackle the crisis created by his referendum, says German MEP Manfred Weber.
Weber, who chairs the centre-right EPP Group in the European Parliament, has also tweeted his concern that the “No” victory will drive nationalism in Europe.
The heads of Greece’s political parties are still meeting with president Pavlopoulos, as they discuss their response to Sunday’s referendum.
Simon Marks of MNI is tweeting from outside the talks:
Yanis Varoufakis does know how to make an exit (if not a Grexit)…..
Bank closures could continue for a few more days – report
Greece will issue a new decree today to extend the bank holiday for a few more days, bankers are telling Reuters.
Greece to present new proposals on Tuesday
Sigmar Gabriel’s warning that Greece faces insolvency came as Alexis Tsipras and Angela Merkel ended their telephone call.
Greek officials say that Tsipras agreed to present a “comprehensive” Greek proposal for an aid deal at Tuesday’s emergency leaders summit.
Germany’s vice chancellor is warning that a third Greek bailout would include taxing conditions, as it would be issued under the European Stability Mechanism:
Gabriel is also worried that other bailed-out eurozone nations will demand help, if they see Greece getting relief:
Greece threatened with insolvency, says Germany’s Gabriel
The hard line from Germany continues.
Deputy chancellor and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel has said Greece is now threatened with insolvency. And if it wants to stay in the eurozone it has to present proposals that go beyond what it has offered before.
Yanis Varoufakis says he hopes Euclid Tsakalotos gets the hot seat in the finance ministry.
Euclid does have decent credentials; a PhD in economics from Oxford, followed by academic postings, and a reputation as the “big brain” of Syriza’s economic policy making.
Standard Chartered has already said his appointment would make a positive outcome more likely (see here)
And he’ll have lots to talk to the UK chancellor about, too:
The Kremlin has issued a brief statement on the telephone call between Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and Russian President Vladimir Putin:
On Greece’s initiative, Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras.
Mr Putin and Mr Tsipras discussed the results of the Greek referendum on international creditors’ conditions for providing financial aid to Athens, and discussed several matters concerning further development of bilateral cooperation.
Mr Putin expressed his support for the Greek people in overcoming the country’s current difficulties.
Was it the Daily Telegraph that did it?
The Wall Street Journal has an intriguing theory to explain Yanis Varoufakis’s shock resignation this morning.
They say that Alexis Tsipras decided to jettison his finance minister after he told the Telegraph that Greece could start issuing its own IOU notes to run alongside the euro, if the liquidity squeeze choking Greece isn’t lifted.
Here’s that interview:
Daily Telegraph: Defiant Greeks reject EU demands as Syriza readies IOU currency
Time for a recap.
Yanis Varoufakis has ended a dramatic five-month stint as Greece’s finance minister, resigning just hours after Greece delivered a resounding No to the bailout conditions pushed by the country’s creditors.
Varoufakis said he fell on his sword after being:
made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my … ‘absence’ from its meetings.
And he remained resolute to the end, declaring:
I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.
He also hailed last night’s referendum results as “a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.”
His successor hasn’t been announced yet; Euclid Tsakalotos, who took over day-to-day management of negotiations, is one frontrunner.
Greek leaders have been locked in talks for hours this morning, discussing their next move.
Prime minister Alexis Tsipras has been busy – he’s speaking with German chancellor Angela Merkel right now.
Earlier, he held a phone call with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The scale of yesterday’s No vote has stunned Europe this morning, as leaders prepare for Tuesday’s emergency summit.
Italy’s Matteo Renzi has just posted on Facebook that Europe must find permanent solution to the Greek crisis and go beyond austerity.
But European Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis has warned that the No vote makes the situation even more complicated.
Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande are due to meet tonight in Paris to discuss the crisis. UK prime minister David Cameron has already held a meeting in London to discuss the impact on Britain response.
The Greek banking system continues to creak after a week of capital controls; some ATM machines are now only dispensing €50 per day, rather than the €60 limit.
The European Central Bank will hold a conference call later to discuss the emergency liquidity assistance it provides to Greece, which was capped eight days ago.
In the European markets, shares have fallen as the threat of a disorderly Grexit rises.
Here’s the situation at lunchtime in the City:
- FTSE 100: down 40 points at 6545, -0.6%
- German DAX: down 170 points at 10890, -1.5%
- French CAC: down 89 points at 4718, -1.9%
The yields (interest rates) on Spanish and Italian government bonds have risen today, as investors view them as riskier. But it’s not a massive sell-off (the yield on Spanish 10-year debt has risen from 2.22% to 2.35% this morning)
Jens Nordvig of Japanese bank Nomura argues:
Those betting on run-away contagion as a result of Greece getting on an exit path will have to re-think….
The so-called domino theory is looking increasingly old-fashioned.
Meanwhile Rosie Scammell has helpfully done a translation of the comments from Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi on his Facebook page.
There are two areas…to confront quickly in European capitals and Brussels. The first regards Greece, a country that is in a very difficult economic and social situation. The meetings tomorrow must indicate a definitive road to resolve this emergency.
The second – even more fascinating and complex, but no longer postponable – is that of Europe. For months we have been insisting on discussing not only austerity and budgets, but growth, infrastructure, common policies on migration, innovation, the environment. In one word: politics, not only parameters. Values, not only numbers.
If we stay at a standstill, prisoners of rules and bureaucracy, Europe is finished.
Rebuilding a different Europe will not be easy, after what has happened in recent years. But this is the right moment to try and do it, all together. Italy will do its part.
And here’s AP’s summary of the earlier comments from Angela Merkel’s spokesman about the conditions not being there for new negotiations with Greece:
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman says Germany sees no basis at present for entering negotiations on a new bailout program for Greece, but that the door remains open.
Steffen Seibert said Monday that Germany respects the “clear ‘no’ vote” by Greeks against austerity measures demanded by creditors and that “the door for talks always remains open.”
However, he said the conditions are “not there at present to enter negotiations on a new program.” He said the “no” vote is a vote against the principle still supported by Germany that solidarity requires countries to take responsibility.
Seibert says Europe will explore what possibilities there are to help Greek citizens and “a lot will depend on what proposals the Greek government now puts on the table.”
Greek debt reduction not on Germany’s agenda
Following the downbeat comments earlier from German government spokesman Steffen Seibert, the country’s finance ministry has now said a reduction in Greece’s debt mountain is not on Germany’s agenda. Associated Press reports:
Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said “our position is well-known … a debt cut is not an issue for us.”
He said there were no grounds for a debt restructuring given that Greece has yet to set out fresh proposals for financial aid.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund, which has been a major creditor of Greece over the past five years, suggested that debt relief for Greece is necessary.
Jaeger says Europe decided that economic reforms coupled with aid was a better route to a sustainable future for Greece, adding that it was working well in the country, until the end of last year.
Jaeger said he didn’t see much need to change this approach, noting the success of other bailed-out countries.
Italy’s Renzi says permanent solution must be found
Another sign we’re in the age of social media dominance: Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has said Europe must find a permanent solution to the Greek crisis – via a Facebook post.
(Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis earlier announced his resignation by Twitter/blog)
Speaking of Russia, the country has said Greece and its creditors should reach a compromise as soon as possible. Bloomberg reports it is watching developments “closely” following the referendum:
“We treat with respect the voice raised during the plebiscite,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call on Monday. Russia would like Greece to take decisions that contribute to “social and economical stability in the country,” he said.
Greece has never asked Russia for financial aid in dealing with the debt crisis, Peskov said. Greek issues might be discussed on the sidelines of a BRICS summit in Ufa this week of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, though they are not on the official agenda, he said.
Full story here.
And this meeting of Greek party leaders may never end….
Helena Smith adds:
Reports now coming through that Tsipras has broken away from meeting with other party leaders to talk with German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Greek television channels have been breaking into scheduled programmes to announce that prime minister Alexis Tsipras will cut short the meeting currently taking place of political party leaders at the presidential palace to speak with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, reports Helena Smith. (We mentioned this possiblity earlier). Helena writes:
The two men will speak by phone. The cross party meeting of political leaders will then resume.
Interestingly, says, Helena, the Greek energy minister, Panagiotis Lafazanis, who has close ties with Moscow and heads the militant wing of Tsipras’ Syriza party, has also rushed to the presidential palace.
Meanwhile in Thessaloniki, people are hoping the no vote will prompt a resolution, finally, to the financial crisis. Angelique Chrisafis reports:
Stefanos Dimos was standing at his Thessaloniki flower shop, which for 62 years has been arranging bouquets to mark the births, deaths and weddings of locals in Greece’s second city. He had been weathering the crisis for five years, but this morning, after Greece’s resounding no vote, he said he felt optimistic.
In five years of austerity, Dimos had seen his trade fall by 50% and had to lay off two staff. Since last week the capital controls and bank closures that are still in place have seen his trade drop 90%, despite the summer wedding season. “The economy has virtually stopped,” he said. But like many “No” voters, Dimos, 52, held the prime minisiter Alexis Tsipiras to his word that there would be a new negotiation and a better deal for Greece. “We’re optimistic that there will be an agreement that is good for Greece and good for Europe. The “No” vote was a good result because it sent a clear message that we can’t have any more austerity. I see people foraging in bins here every day for food, something that didn’t happen before the crisis.”
He added: “We’re hoping that the deal will be improved, that debt will be eased, allowing business activity to start up again. Things have ground to a halt.”
Another florist in the city centre said he was happy with last night’s strong “No” result, even though he himself had tentatively voted “Yes”. He said: “I voted yes because I wanted Greece to stay in Europe. But I’m still pleased today because — like everyone else — I don’t want more austerity. I’m happy with the outcome as it voiced our feeling that we can’t take it any more. Austerity has been a dead-end for growth and for our economy.”
Outside a nearby bank, a small queue of pensioners gathered early to access limited amounts to their pensions, and a small line of others waited to withdraw their daily €60. One lawyer who had voted yes said: “There’s an urgency in getting a new deal as fast as possible because banks are facing a real liquidity problem, they can’t last much longer. Any new deal now has to satisfy all the other eurozone members, it’s not going to be easy. In fact, it’s going to be very difficult here.”
Constantin Petropoulous, 88, and his wife Georgia, 80, were standing at the back of the queue, waiting to access a portion of their monthly pensions that had shrunk to €600. Like many in the city, they had spent decades as labourers in Germany, where Constantin had worked for Bosch in Stuttgart, returing to Thessaloniki to later work in a shop. “The real challenge for Greece this week is this feeling of the unknown, the uncertainty,” he said. “Whether the vote had been yes or no, things would have been difficult. We know it will be a very hard week. We just have to be patient.”
The European Central Bank’s governing council is due to discuss emergency funding to Greek banks in a telephone call later this afternoon, sources have told Reuters.
In Athens, cash machines are increasingly failing to dispense the full amount allowed under the current capital controls. John Hooper reports:
A tour of banks in the capital this morning showed that, while depositors are notionally allowed €60 a day under the capital controls, increasingly €50 is the norm. That could help explain why the government is reportedly confident that Greece’s ATMs can continue to dole out cash till Friday.
Of seven cash machines visited, only two were dispensing the full amount, ostensibly because the banks are running out of €20 notes. At Alpha Bank on Alexandras Avenue, Irene Abatzi said: “I don’t care if it’s fifty or sixty, just so long as the machine carries on giving out cash.”
Elsewhere, customers were less phlegmatic. A man in the up-market quarter of Kolonaki exploded with rage when he found out that a payment had not been made to his account, and that he could not withdraw anything.
The banks were opening their doors to pensioners, but in at least two parts of the city the pensioners were being told that only those who failed to get their pensions last week could be served. The deputy finance minister, Nadia Valavani, highlighted the intensity of the cash squeeze in a statement on Sunday, telling safe deposit owners they could retrieve valuables – but only with a bank employee standing over them to ensure they did not take out cash as well.
In Spain Pablo Iglesias, leader of the anti-austerity party Podemos, welcomed the results of the Greek referendum but cautioned those who sought to draw parallels between Spain and Greece. Ashifa Kassam in Madrid reports:
“It’s a very clear message,” Iglesias told Spanish radio Cadena Ser. “The citizens of Greece have said that austerity isn’t the way to end the economic crisis.”
He called on Europe’s leaders to reach an agreement with Greece, pointing to the resignation of Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. “Now there is no excuse. The time has come for sensibility and to find a reasonable agreement.”
On Varoufakis’ resignation he said: “It hurt me a lot because I think he’s an excellent economist….but I think the act of resigning is honorable as it will help the push for the agreement that his country needs.”
With a general election due in Spain by the end of the year, Iglesias carefully chose his words, knowing that the situation in Greece could drive moderate voters away from his party. “We have a great friendship with Syriza, but luckily, Spain is not Greece. We’re an economy with much more weight in the eurozone, we’re a country with a stronger administration and with a better economic situation,” he said, taking aim at the many comparisons being drawn between Spain and Greece. “The circumstances are different and I think it makes no sense to draw these parallels.”
The situation in Greece has been used by the governing People’s Party to justify the austerity measures imposed during the height of the economic crisis. “Fortunately Spain has a prime minister who said no to the bailout and instead undertook reforms,” PP vice-president Fernando Martínez-Maillo told broadcaster Radio Nacional de España on Monday. “Thanks to those reforms…we’re in a situation of economic growth and job creation.”
Spain’s finance minister, Luis de Guindos said on Monday that although the No vote made the situation more complex, everyone wants Greece to “stay in the euro.” His government is ready to talk about a third bailout, he added, but only if Greece was willing to play by the rules.
Eleni Varvitsiotis of Greek newspaper Kathimerini is not very upbeat about Dombrovskis:
More from Dombrovskis:
EC’s Dombrovskis says no vote complicates things
European Commissioner vice president Valdis Dombrovskis has said the no vote complicates the situation, but Greece’s place remains in the eurozone.
My colleague Jennifer Rankin notes:
Britain has called on Greece and its eurozone partners to sit down together and find a sustainable solution, Reuters reports.
Prime minister David Cameron’ spokeswoman said finding a solution was clearly in Britain’s best interests, and Britain supports a 28 member EU.
Meanwhile the ECB’s Ewald Nowotny, also president of the National Bank of Austria, said any new Greek deal needs time. To expect an agreement within two days – as Greece had suggested – is “illusionary.”
And regarding the emergency liquidity assistance for Greek banks:
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has reportedly already been on the phone to European Central Bank president Mario Draghi – not surprising when the ECB has to decide its next move with regard to Greek banks.
Meanwhile Tsipras will apparently also speak to Russian president Putin on the phone before the end of the day.
And here’s a bit of a dampener on things, from Austria’s Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling:
But he did say he hopes talks would be easier now Varoufakis has gone.
What happens next?
So what happens next, for Greece’s bailout negotiations, the country’s banks, its future in the eurozone? Here is our updated assessment of where we stand:
And as a tribute to Yanis Varoufakis brief but colourful period as Greek finance minister, here is a piece of video from 1993. As an economics professor he was discussing government policies and, topically, austerity.
Spain’s economy minister Luis de Guindos has echoed that Greece should remain part of the eurozone and the euro is irreversible.
He said the Spanish government was open to negotiating a third bailout, and any new Greek package should include a comprehensive analysis of Greek needs.
(Quotes courtesy Reuters).
Angela Merkel’s spokesman say conditions for Greek talks not in place
Conditions for talks with Greece are not in place, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert has said.
But Greece is part of the eurozone and the government must act to make sure this remains the case. Germany is now waiting for the new proposals from Greece:
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, has confirmed this morning’s conference call and its participants:
George Osborne to make Commons statement on Greece
UK chancellor George Osborne is set to make a statement about Greece in the Commons at around 3.30 today. Earlier Osborne met prime minister David Cameron and Bank of England governor Mark Carney to discuss the crisis:
Greek banks can keep allowing withdrawals until Friday, depending on what happens with the ECB, the BBC’s Robert Peston has reported:
The Eurogroup – which as we said earlier is to meet on Tuesday – has said it expects new proposals from Greece. In a statement it said:
The Eurogroup will discuss the situation following the referendum in Greece that was held on 5 July 2015. Ministers expect new proposals from the Greek authorities.
The referendum was held after the Greek government unilaterally withdrew from ongoing negotiations with the institutions (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) on Greece’s comprehensive reform plan, foreseen under the agreement of February 2015.
Greece likely to be on BRICS summit agenda
There has been no official reaction from the Kremlin yet about the Greek vote, writes Shaun Walker, but Russia has been watching the drama unfold between Athens and Brussels with some interest, and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has made two visits to Moscow in recent months to make the point that Greece could seek alternative creditors. He has left with little in the way of concrete commitments, however.
A summit of the BRICS group of nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) will be held in the Russian city of Ufa later this week and Greece is likely to be on the agenda. Various ideas have been floated in recent weeks, including making Greece a member of the club, which would give it access to loans from the newly founded BRICS development bank.
However, while Moscow might be keen on the idea for political reasons, Russia is also still in a difficult financial situation, and the other BRICS members may well be less keen.
The Eurogroup will be meeting tomorrow ahead of the eurozone leaders’ summit, its president Jeroen Dijsselbloem has just said:
As the European Central Bank decides about liquidity for Greek banks – ahead of the July 20 date for the country to repay €3.5bn on a bond held by the ECB – economist Dario Perkins at Lombard Street Research points to one possible outcome:
UK papers have reflected the uncertainty over the what comes next for the eurozone, as Roy Greenslade reports:
Crisis, chaos, turmoil. Today’s British national newspaper headlines reflect the seriousness of the situation facing the European Union and the eurozone after the referendum vote in Greece.
Several of the newspapers also convey the sense of bafflement at what happens next: “Europe faces crisis after gambling Greeks say No” (The Times); “Europe in turmoil as Greeks vote No” (Daily Telegraph); “Greek ‘no’ plunges Europe into crisis” (The Independent); “Greeks vote ‘no’ – Europe shudders (i); and “Greece’s eurozone future hangs in balance as No vote set to triumph” (Financial Times).
The Daily Mail and Daily Express engage in some prediction: “Meltdown: EU in crisis as Greece votes ‘no’ to crippling cuts and heads for eurozone exit” and “Greece ready to leave the Euro after day of chaos”.
Two prefer to state the bald fact: “Greek voters defy Europe” (The Guardian) and “Greeks vote no” (Metro). And the red-tops, being the red-tops, indulge in puns: “Greeky bum time” (The Sun); “Rhodes to ruin?” (Daily Mirror); and “It’s Greece frightenin’.” (Daily Star).
But there is nothing to smile about in the editorials, several of which refer to it, predictably, as a “Greek tragedy.” Newspapers opposed to the EU or, at the least, to the euro, barely conceal their delight at the possible unravelling of the eurozone.
Full story here:
Here’s Alexis Tsipras and his colleagues at their meeting this morning to discuss their next move after the no victory in the referendum:
Earlier Tsipras met Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos:
ECB member and Bank of France governor Christian Noyer has been commenting on Greek finances:
This refers to Greek debt held by the ECB, which he says cannot be restructured because it would be monetary financing of a state.
According to the bookies, Greece will not leave the eurozone this year but Britain is likely to vote to leave the EU in a referendum:
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will hold a conference call with the Eurogroup and European Central Bank (among others) this morning.
In a statement the commission said it “takes note of and respects the result of the referendum in Greece,” and added:
President Juncker is consulting (…) with the democratically elected leaders of the other 18 Eurozone members as well as with the Heads of the EU institutions. He will have a conference call among the “Euro-Institutionals” (with the President of the Euro Summit, the President of the Euro Group and the President of the European Central Bank) on Monday morning. He intends to address the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
On Tuesday 7 July at 18h a special Euro Summit will take place to discuss the situation after the referendum in Greece.
Fabio Sdogati, professor of International Economics at Politecnico di Milano, the largest technical university in Italy, is clearly a Varoufakis fan:
More from Simon Goodley on IG’s trading floor:
Despite Greece being the world’s biggest financial story since, er, the last time Greece was the world’s biggest financial story, there is surprisingly little activity in the equity markets, where volumes are low. According to Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, this is because investors don’t like uncertainty and nobody knows what is going to happen next.
He said: “Ask politicians what is happening with Greece and they say ‘I don’t know’. Markets are the same. Greece has surprised at every opportunity. Last week they surprised by calling a referendum. This week they surprised by voting ‘no’. They have the propensity to surprise again”.
Added to that, there is also the wobbly Chinese stock market, which is causing further nervousness (and which here they suspect is a bigger markets story) plus the fact that we are currently inhabiting a month between May and September – a section of the year the City tends to like to take off.
European markets down, Greek bond yields higher
European markets remain in the red, but are not in freefall:
The bond markets are more volatile.
Greek 10 year bond yields are back above 17% at 17.3% while two year yields are up 13 percentage points at a hefty 48% (although Reuters is reporting no trading is going on.)
Meanwhile Spanish 10-year yields are up marginally at 2.3%, Italy’s are at 2.32% and Portugal at 3%.
So, is Grexit more or less likely now given the developments of the last few hours:
Euclid Tsakalotos, the Oxford-educated chief spokesman of the economics ministry, has been tipped as the most likely replacement for Yanis Varoufakis, writes Jennifer Rankin.
“He is one of the most sensible/moderate figures in Syriza and his appointment, if confirmed, would increase the chances for a sensible negotiation and a positive outcome,” Demetrios Efstathiou of Standard Chartered bank said.
Back in the bond markets and UK 10-year gilt yields have hit their lowest level since mid-June, with investors seeing the UK as something of a haven.
The no vote raises the risk of Greece leaving the eurozone, but the basis for a dialogue between the two sides still exists, according to French finance minister Michel Sapin.
He also said discussions of possible debt relief were “not taboo” and said France had put this proposal on the table. MNI reports:
“The ‘no’ carries a considerable risk for Greece,” Sapin told Europe 1 radio. “In this risk for Greece is the risk of an exit from the euro. But there is nothing automatic.”
Sapin said that “there is on the table a basis for dialogue but it is up to Greece to show that it will take this dialogue seriously.” He said it was “up to the Greek government and Mr. Tsipras to make new proposals as quickly as possible.”
Sapin declined to comment on the possible reaction of the European Central Bank to the Greek vote, other than to say that “there is a level today of liquidity. This level of liquidity cannot be reduced.”
Greek bond yields are currently up 139 basis points at 16.24% but they have been higher this morning:
View from the trading room floor
“The Greek bloke’s resigned. He’s run rings round ‘em.”
That was how one IG trader was overheard explaining the news of the resignation of Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis following Sunday’s referendum, as he chatted on the phone in early trading this morning, writes Simon Goodley.
To say the City is surprised by the news coming out of Greece is an understatement. Like eurozone officials it had expected that last week’s trailer of capital controls would be enough to get the country to vote yes, and IG priced a yes vote as a 60% chance last week.
So what now? Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG, said: “[German stock market] the Dax has opened down but is surging back – much like it did last Monday and much like the euro is doing. It is coming back on Varoufakis’s resignation – possibly more hope than expectation, but if you take out the most irritating man in the room then you might get a more reasonable response from Germany and France”.
And here’s a (typical) reaction from London mayor Boris Johnson:
Some timings for German comments on the Greece situation, courtesy Reuters:
Elsewhere German industrial orders fell by just 0.2% in May, better than an expected 0.4% decline, despite the current eurozone crisis.
Economist Dr. Andreas Rees at UniCredit said:
After two consecutive and strong rises, German new orders in the manufacturing sector declined a moderate 0.2% month on month. The latest decrease is neither driven by a fundamental deterioration nor by the events in Greece.
The direct macro impact is limited, as only 0.4% of all German exports are shipped to Greece. The same is true for other eurozone countries. The most likely scenario going forward is that German companies (and their peers in the eurozone) will resume momentum in the next few months.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is due to meet his finance minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, at 9.30am (8.30am BST) today to discuss the Greek referendum, writes Rosie Scammell. As the result came in last night, Padoan took to Twitter to share his views on the vote:
(Italy has always worked for a solid and more integrated Europe. It was true yesterday and it will still be true tomorrow.)
(Shared rules by European peoples serve to guarantee the same objectives: affluence through economic growth and employment )
(Reforms and investments are in all countries the key to regain sustainable growth)
The Greek government spokesman has just said Varoufakis’ replacement will be announced after the meeting of party political leaders. That would suggest the leftist-led government is attempting to find consensus over the issue, Helena Smith reports.
The spokesman said.
As finance minister Yanis Varoufakis placed a leading role in negotiations from the government’s first day. The prime minister feels the need to thank him for his ceaseless effort to promote the positions of the government and the interests of the Greek people under very difficult circumstances. After the meeting of political leaders, his replacement will be announced.
Tsipras to decide on Varoufakis replacement
Over in Athens our correspondent Helena Smith says prime minister Alexis Tsipras is now debating who to replace his finance minister with. She writes:
Talks are being held between deputy prime minister Yannis Dragasakis and Tsipras as I write with the sole purpose of deciding who should replace Yanis Varoufakis.
Dragasakis, a former Marxist who is also an economist, is himself one of the contenders. The low-profile politician has had broad oversight of Greece’s economic policy over the last five months – and had expressed growing displeasure with Varoufakis’ tactics. But the 67-year-old may well wish to remain behind the scenes where he has a particularly powerful role.
That leaves the economics professor Giorgos Stathakis, currently the economics minister and the Oxford-educated economist Euclid Tsakalotos, who has had a lead role coordinating negotiations.
George Chouliarakis, the Manchester University academic heading the Greek government’s negotiating team – whose moderate views and comportment has been particularly well received by creditors – is reportedly also being considered.
Banking shares are among the major fallers, given the prospect of contagion from the struggling Greek banking system.
Deutsche Bank is down 2.7%, Santander 2.6% and Italy’s Monte Dei Paschi is 3.5% lower. In the UK Barclays and HSBC have both fallen around 1.2%.
But generally the reaction so far has been fairly subdued – at least compared to the expected falls.
Of course, the surprise resignation of Yanis Varoufakis has probably helped limit the damage, since it could well make negotiations easier when leaders meet on Tuesday.
European markets open lower
After shares fell sharply in Asia after the no vote in the Greek referendum, European markets are following suit.
The FTSE 100 is currently down just over 1% or 70 points but this is less than the 130 originally expected. Early days yet, of course.
Germany’s Dax is down around 2%, Spain’s Ibex is off 2.2%, Italy’s FTSE MIB is 2.8% lower and France’s Cac has fallen 2%.
Other events to watch out for today:
- The UK government and the Bank of England are to review continency plans
- Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Hollande are to meet tonight ahead of a leaders’ summit on Tuesday
- Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is putting together his new negotiating team
More reaction, this time from Italy. Rosie Scammell writes:
Italy’s newspapers are today awash with Greek flags, with most leading on the impact the no vote will have on Europe. “Greece, a slap in Brussels’ face” reads the front page of left-leaning daily La Repubblica, while Italy’s leading daily, Corriere della Sera, writes “The Greek NO scares Europe”.
In covering the resignation of the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, Italian media have honed in on his fashion choice. Varoufakis appeared at a press conference in a grey t-shirt on Sunday night, before today announcing his decision to quit. Italians themselves are still getting used to the casual clothing choices of their own prime minister, Matteo Renzi, who often makes public appearances in jeans.
Bond yields rise after referendum result
Yields on government bonds in Spain, Italy and Portugal are moving higher after the no vote, not surprising given the implications of Greece moving closer to a eurozone exit on these countries:
European Central Bank to meet on Greece
One of the key decisions of the day will be made by the European Central Bank when it looks at whether to continue providing liquidity to Greek banks. If not, they will struggle to reopen on Tuesday, as Greek politicians (notably the now departed Yanis Varoufakis) had promised. Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said:
The ball now lies firmly in the ECB’s court as the prospect of Greek banks running out of money in the coming hours is likely to increase, with the prospect that the ECB will cut off Greek banks in the process causing a collapse of the Greek banking system, and in the process highlighting the significant structural flaws of the euro.
In a proper monetary union it would be inconceivable for the US to cut off Florida or for the UK government to cut off Scotland from their lender of last resort, but if the ECB ends ELA then that is precisely what will happen to Greece, either later today, or later this week.
The surprise resignation of Yanis Varoufakis comes ahead of a meeting tomorrow between eurozone leaders to discuss their next steps following the no victory in the referendum.
That could of course make things easier for Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras in any discussions with his peers. Varoufakis himself said as much: “I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my … ‘absence’ from its meetings.” Over the weekend he had accused Greece’s European creditors of “terrorism.”
And in keeping with his tenure as finance minister he ended with a jibe at his tormentors: “I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.”
His departure was not the first in the wake of the vote – yesterday Antonis Samaras, the head of the opposition rightwing New Democracy party who campaigned for the yes side, stepped down.
But the decision by the motorcycle-riding, game-playing Varoufakis has far more significance, as shown by the fact the euro recovered some of its lost ground in the wake of the announcement:
Here’s an early call on how European markets are expected to open, courtesy IG:
I’m handing over our continuing coverage of events in Greece and across Europe to my colleague Nick Fletcher. Here’s a short summary of how events stand at the moment:
- The Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned, despite a no vote in the referendum. In a blog post on his website Varoufakis flagged that his decision was prompted in part by “some European participants” expressing a desire for his role to end in any further negotiations.
- Alexis Tsipras has called for a key political meeting to take place in Greece on Monday morning at 10:00am to discuss the outcome of the referendum.
- Greeks voted overwhelmingly for a no vote in the referendum, with over 61% casting a no vote in the groundbreaking political decision.
- Financial markets around the world have reacted with concern at the decision, in anticipated of a potential exit by Greece from the Eurozone.
Here’s our report on the dramatic referendum result:
European leaders were scrambling for a response on Monday after a resounding no from Greek voters in a momentous referendum on austerity which could send the country crashing out of the eurozone.
With Europe’s financial markets set to follow Asia’s overnight lead by going sharply into the red, German chancellor Angela Merkel was to meet with French leader François Hollande in Paris after Greece overwhelmingly rejected international creditors’ tough bailout terms.
The pair spoke by telephone late Sunday, declaring the referendum decision must “be respected” and calling for an emergency eurozone summit which European Union president Donald Tusk said would be held on Tuesday.
A flurry of other meetings will also be held Monday as European leaders sized up the implications of the vote, a victory for Greece’s radical prime minister Alexis Tsipras, who insisted it did not mean a “rupture” with Europe.
Here’s the full story:
Here’s the very immediate response from some of the financial markets.
A short time before the post announcing his resignation, Varoufakis posted a much more jubilant note about the referendum decision:
On the 25th of January, dignity was restored to the people of Greece.
In the five months that intervened since then, we became the first government that dared raise its voice, speaking on behalf of the people, saying no to the damaging irrationality of our extend-and-pretend ‘Bailout Program’.
- spread the word that the Greek ‘bailouts’ were exercises whose purpose was intentionally to transfer private losses onto the shoulders of the weakest Greeks, before being transferred to other European taxpayers
- articulated, for the first time in the Eurogroup, an economic argument to which there was no credible response
- put forward moderate, technically feasible proposals that would remove the need for further ‘bailouts’
- confined the troika to its Brussels’ lair
- internationalised Greece’s humanitarian crisis and its roots in intentionally recessionary policies
- spread hope beyond Greece’s borders that democracy can breathe within a monetary union hitherto dominated by fear.
Ending interminable, self-defeating, austerity and restructuring Greece’s public debt were our two targets. But these two were also our creditors’ targets. From the moment our election seemed likely, last December, the powers-that-be started a bank run and planned, eventually, to shut Greece’s banks down. Their purpose?
Here’s our latest report on Varoufakis’ resignation. More details to be added shortly:
The Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned in the wake of the country’s resounding no vote rejecting the eurozone’s austerity terms.
Writing on his blog on Monday morning he said that he would be standing down immediately after pressure from Greece’s European partners.
“Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my … ‘absence’ from its meetings,” he wrote.
The prime minister Alexis Tsipras judged this to be “potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the ministry of finance today”.
He added: “The referendum of 5 July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.
“Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25 June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.
Varoufakis’ presence in further negotiations was always going to be difficult after his public rhetoric about the role of European leaders.
In one interview published on Saturday, he accused the country’s creditors of terrorism:
“What they’re doing with Greece has a name: terrorism,” Varoufakis told Spain’s El Mundo. “What Brussels and the troika want today is for the yes [vote] to win so they could humiliate the Greeks. Why did they force us to close the banks? To instil fear in people. And spreading fear is called terrorism.”
On Sunday night he promised to resign in the event a yes vote was recorded. Despite the outcome of a no vote, he has still followed through on that decision to resign.
"Minister no more": Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis resigns
In another extraordinary development the Greek finance minister has just announced his resignation.
In a move likely to spark further concerns about the role of other European leaders in Greece’s internal politics, Varoufakis said he was made aware of a preference by “some European participants” of his absence throughout the continuing negotiations.
The post was made on Varoufakis’ blog and there is nothing to suggest it is not authentic. It has also been cross-posted on his Twitter account.
The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.
Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25th June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.
Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.
I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.
And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.
We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office. I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new Minister of Finance, and our government.
The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.
Peter Kazimir, the Slovakian finance minister, has also made some rather colourful observations of the current situation overnight:
The UK government is also prepared to do whatever necessary to protect the country from the impact of a possible exit from the Eurozone for Greece. This from AFP is the latest update:
Britain will do “whatever is necessary to protect its economic security”, a government spokesman said Monday after Greeks voted overwhelmingly against austerity in a referendum that could send them crashing out of the eurozone with unknown consequences.
“This is a critical moment in the economic crisis in Greece,” a Downing Street spokesman said. “We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect our economic security at this uncertain time. We have already got contingency plans in place and later this morning the Prime Minister will chair a further meeting to review those plans in light of yesterday’s result.”
The front pages of newspapers across Europe are a combination of fear, hope and (on occasion) somewhat comical absurdity.
Here’s a short sample of a few of them, starting off with a rather extraordinary one from Efsyn featuring Dutch politician Jeroen Dijsselbloem:
Here’s the Guardian’s view on the current impasse now facing Europe following the Greek referendum:
Kicking the can down the road has been the cliche of choice over a slow euro crisis that has steadily strangled the life out of the Greek economy. But at some point Europe was bound to run out of road. That happened on Sunday night, when it emerged that the Greek people had said no to continuing to engage with their creditors on the same suffocating terms.
Just over a week ago, Alexis Tsipras staked his future on forcing this denouement. The eight days that followed his midnight declaration of a plebiscite, to accept or reject the creditors’ terms for the latest slug of overdraft, have witnessed many extraordinary things. The Greek parliament licensed a hasty referendum on a question that had already been overtaken by events. A ballot paper written in jargon posed a ludicrously technical question, opening up a void for emotion to fill. Mixing talk of “terror” from their partners with haze about what would happen after a no, Mr Tsipras and his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, aimed squarely for the heart rather than the head. Meanwhile, Greeks faced the fiercest financial controls ever seen in modern Europe: bank doors were shut, supplies disrupted, and citizens queued at every cashpoint for their ration of notes. In countries such as Germany, where history engenders suspicion of referendums, it may have looked like a paradigm case of how not to do democracy.
As the sun begins to rise now in Greece on “the morning after” Syntagma Square appears empty. That may well change as another highly politically charged day is set to get underway across Europe
John Cassidy in the New Yorker has outlined some useful analysis on the implications of the no vote:
Whether they will be offered one within the eurozone remains to be seen. Although the result was a great political triumph for Tsipras and Syriza, it doesn’t automatically translate into a victory in the showdown with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Greece is still broke, and its banks are still closed. If the Europeans want to force the Greeks out of their currency club, they have the means to do it at any moment. All they have to do is turn off the credit that the European Central Bank has been providing to Greece’s banks. Indeed, the ECB’s governing council will decide on Monday what to do next.
With Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and François Hollande, the French president, due to meet in Paris on Monday afternoon, and an emergency summit of all European Union leaders scheduled for Tuesday, it seems highly unlikely that the ECB. will render these deliberations pointless by immediately torpedoing the Greek financial system. In all likelihood, there will be at least one more round of talks between the two sides, and, quite possibly, more than one. Greece’s next big payment to its creditors isn’t due until 23 July, which is more than two weeks away. If the country’s banks can somehow be propped up until then, there is time for more deliberation.
We’ve written a lot about the market reaction to events in Europe, but the political fallout in Greece is still likely to unfold rapidly over the next few days.
Prime minister Alexis Tsipras is convening a meeting of key political leaders at 10am on Monday in Athens, according to Enikos. Overnight the Greek opposition leader Antonis Samaras resigned following the referendum decision.
How Tsipras proceeds throughout this week will continue to shape how events unfold across Europe.
China’s response to the Greek referendum and the market uncertainty has been to engage in a series of complex manoeuvres aimed at stimulating the market.
It’s not yet clear how successful the measures – which involve a variety of investments and buyouts aided by the central bank – will be in preventing setbacks for their markets.
Reuters have a good take on the different measures that have been employed here:
Chinese stocks jumped on Monday after Beijing unleashed an unprecedented series of support measures over the weekend to stave off the prospect of a full-blown crash that was threatening to destabilize the world’s second-biggest economy.
In an extraordinary weekend of policy moves, brokerages and fund managers vowed to buy massive amounts of stocks, helped by China’s state-backed margin finance company, which in turn would be aided by a direct line of liquidity from the central bank.
Investors, who had ignored official measures to prop up the market as equity indexes slid around 12% last week, finally reacted, with the CSI300 index .CSI300 of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen jumping 4%, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC gained 3 percent. [.SS]
Blue chips, the explicit target of the stabilization fund, outperformed stocks on the small-cap ChiNext indexes.
The rapid decline of China’s previously booming stock market, which by the end of last week had fallen around 30 percent from a mid-June peak, had become a major headache for President Xi Jinping and China’s top leaders, who were already struggling to avert a sharper economic slowdown.
In response, China has orchestrated a halt to new share issues, with dozens of firms scrapping their IPO plans in separate but similarly worded statements over the weekend, in a tactic authorities have used before to support markets.
My colleague Justin McCurry has filed a more comprehensive take on the Asian market reaction to the Greek referendum, which largely recorded falls across the board but with limited losses.
China is the exception – it saw a boost on open this morning – but that is attributed to the enormous and unprecedented government measures implemented over the weekend to try and stop a market crash.
This from Justin:
Analysts said that regional market panic was unlikely, even after Athens appeared to take a step closer to a “Grexit” by roundly rejecting the bailout terms set by its international creditors But they added that negotiations this week would be critical.
“The Greece ‘no’ vote is a surprise,” Shoji Hirakawa, chief equity strategist at Okasan Securities, told Bloomberg News. “But the key is that the direction is going toward more talks after this.”
Other analysts said markets had not expected Greek voters to reject the terms of the bailout so emphatically – a move that could see further losses on Monday and trigger an investor rush to US Treasuries or other government bonds that are seen as largely immune to market turbulence.
In one of the day’s more colourful commentaries, analysts at Japan’s Mizuho Bank said the Sunday’s “Greferendum” had turned out to be a “Grief-erendum”.
On what most had expected to be a tricky day for markets around the world, dealers stressed that uncertainty over Greece’s future had not rocked markets as badly as some might have expected.
“The fightback for a Europe of dignity starts here.”
Another short documentary from John Domokos and Phoebe Greenwood.
As Syriza supporters flock to Athens’ Syntagma square to celebrate, Phoebe Greenwood talks to those who are celebrating a historic referendum outcome. ‘They thought they could intimidate us,’ one man says. Despite jitters on the financial markets, others happy with the historic oxi (no) vote say they hope it will be the moment that Greeks can come together.
Crisis will be "appropriately resolved" China minister says
Deputy Chinese foreign minister Cheng Guoping believes the Greek crisis will be “appropriately resolved” and the economy will turn around, Reuters reports.
However he would not say if Alexis Tsipras could attend an emerging powers summit later in the week in Russia.
“I believe that with the hard efforts of all sides, Greece’s economic situation will turn around. The economic crisis will be appropriately handled,” he told reporters, in China’s first official comment since the Greek vote.
“Whether or not it can be appropriately handled will not only have an important impact on Greece and its people, but will have an important impact on … the world too.”
Asked whether Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras might come to this week’s summit of the BRICS group of five major emerging nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – Cheng said that as Russia was the host it was its decision on whether to invite other countries.
Russia’s finance minister said last week that Russia had not offered Greece the chance to become a member of the New Development Bank that is being created by the BRICS group.
Result is very regrettable – Eurogroup president
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch finance minister and president of the Eurogroup, has released a statement on the referendum results.
It is a short statement, but needless to say, Dijsselbloem is disappointed.
I take note of the outcome of the Greek referendum. This result is very regrettable for the future of Greece. For recovery of the Greek economy, difficult measures and reforms are inevitable. We will now wait for the initiatives of the Greek authorities. The Eurogroup will discuss the state of play on Tuesday 7 July.
Argentinian president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is never shy of enthusiastically tweeting her opinions, has welcomed the referendum results.
In a series of tweets written in English, Fernández labeled the No vote an “outright victory of democracy and dignity.”
The Greek people have said NO to the impossible and humiliating conditions imposed upon them for the restructuring of their foreign debt. We Argentines understand what this is about. We hope Europe and its leaders understand the message of the polls. Nobody can be asked to sign their own death certificate. The words of President Kirchner still resound at the UN General Assembly in 2003 he said: “The dead do not pay their debts.”
Some background on the link between Argentina and Greece in this current crisis, from Reuters:
There are stark similarities between Argentina’s 2002 financial meltdown and the turmoil in Greece: rigid monetary regimes, creditors battling domestic politics to fix the problem and banking systems at breaking point.
The South American grains behemoth defaulted on $100 billion in bonds in a 2002 crisis that thrust millions of middle-class Argentines into poverty. By the next year, helped by a massive soy crop, Argentina started growing again.
But the 2002 crisis continues to plague its finances.
Fernandez regularly blasts bondholders who have sued the country over the debt it failed to pay 13 years ago.
Most holders agreed to restructurings that paid about 30 cents on the dollar, while a group of hedge funds sued for full repayment.
The country defaulted again last year when a U.S. judge barred it from honouring its restructured debt without reaching a deal with the funds, which Fernandez denounces as “vultures.”
Argentina became one of the world’s fastest expanding economies after its default, growing at an averaging above 8.5 percent between 2003 and 2007, when Fernandez was first elected.
Since then she has ordered trade and currency controls that have slowed investment while government fiscal accounts deteriorate due to high state spending.
Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has claimed the successful No campaign is a “majestic, big YES to a democratic, rational Europe.”
Varoufakis accuses Greece’s creditors of attempting to “humiliate” the leftwing government by forcing stringent austerity, and dragging them into an agreement which “offers no firm commitment to a sensible, well-defined debt restructure.”
He further writes:
Today’s referendum delivered a resounding call for a mutually beneficial agreement between Greece and our European partners. We shall respond to the Greek voters’ call with a positive approach to:
- The IMF, which only recently released a helpful report confirming that Greek public debt was unsustainable
- The ECB, the Governing Council of which, over the past week, refused to countenance some of the more aggressive voices within
- The European Commission, whose leadership kept throwing bridges over the chasm separating Greece from some of our partners.
‘We’re going to hit the iceberg’
A great short film here from John Domokos.
From the Syriza faithful to the run-down docks of Piraeus and the middle-class district of Faliro, Greeks spent the day of the referendum locked in debate, suspense and catharsis.
For some it was a day they sent a message to Europe that they will ‘not be intimidated’. But many Greeks fear trouble lies ahead. As one voter said, both a yes and no outcome would result in calamity: ‘We’re three metres from the iceberg and we’re here to be asked if we’re going to go right or left.’ Either way, he said, ‘we’re going to hit the iceberg’.
Shanghai stocks have jumped almost 8%. The government boosts AFP refers to are emergency measures taken to prevent a possible stock market crash in the world’s second-largest economy. It’s not directly related to Greece, but could still have an effect on world markets.
From Reuters: In an extraordinary weekend of policy moves, brokerages and fund managers vowed to buy massive amounts of stocks, helped by China’s state-backed margin finance company which in turn would be aided by a direct line of liquidity from the central bank.
China has also orchestrated a halt to new share issues, with dozens of firms scrapping their IPO plans in separate but similarly worded statements over the weekend, in a tactic authorities have used before to support markets.
Europe dodged a bullet with the No result, and its supporters should be breathing a sigh of relief, Paul Krugman writes for the New York Times.
Krugman’s colourful take on the events of the last day is well worth a read, but here is a snippet. He continues:
Of course, that’s not the way the creditors would have you see it. Their story, echoed by many in the business press, is that the failure of their attempt to bully Greece into acquiescence was a triumph of irrationality and irresponsibility over sound technocratic advice.
But the campaign of bullying — the attempt to terrify Greeks by cutting off bank financing and threatening general chaos, all with the almost open goal of pushing the current leftist government out of office — was a shameful moment in a Europe that claims to believe in democratic principles. It would have set a terrible precedent if that campaign had succeeded, even if the creditors were making sense.
What’s more, they weren’t. The truth is that Europe’s self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients — and when their treatment made the patients sicker, demanded even more bleeding.
As we continue our watch of the Asian/Pacific markets, the Malaysian ringgit has been given the unenviable title of “worst currency” this morning, according to the FT.
Japan’s Nikkei stock index has mounted a slight recovery after dropping 1.5% in early trading Monday, as Asian markets were jolted by the uncertainty created by Greece’s “no” vote in Sunday’s austerity referendum.
The Nikkei 225 was trading down 1.4% at 20256.69, having earlier fallen 339.64 points to 20,200.15, a day after Greece voted to rejected the eurozone’s terms for the country remaining in the single currency.
South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.9% at 2,085.67.
Nils Pratley, the Guardian’s financial editor, says the current crisis has pushed the financial world back to the wild markets of the 2008 financial crisis.
You can read Nils’ analysis in full here, but below is a snippet on bond markets, which he says will take centre stage.
That is where Grexit worries will be keenest. If Greece could be on the way out of the single currency, will investors be less willing to hold the debt of other eurozone states carrying heavy debt loads? The sovereign debt of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland will be closely watched for knock-on effects. Will there be contagion?
All eyes will turn to the European Central Bank. First, to see if it cuts off support for Greek banks. Second, to learn if it is prepared to intervene to protect the bonds of other eurozone stragglers. Last Sunday, when Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras called the referendum, the ECB and the eurogroup ministers pledged to react, if needed, to avoid a dangerous fall-out in debt markets.
Pratley also makes an interesting point that while the euro will “almost certainly fall in value initially” there is another school of though which says “the single currency would be strengthened in the long run by the departure of its weakest member.”
The Australian stock exchange fell sharply on Monday’s open, not long after the final vote was counted (not that 100% was needed to see the overwhelming response). Below is a graph from the ASX website.
The Australian dollar dipped to a six-year low of US$0.7484 in early trading but has recovered to 0.7509.
The euro, not surprisingly, was down 0.8% at $1.1015 but off an early low of $1.0967. It had initially dropped around 1.5% against the yen – which is seen as a safe haven.
The US dollar also recouped its early drop to be only a touch softer at 122.48 yen.
In a delightfully headlined post, the Financial Times says early moves don’t suggest a panic in the Asian markets. It also notes:
“The hope for Alexis Tsipras, prime minister, is that the vote galvanises support for his anti-austerity agenda and forces Athens’ creditors to make concessions.
But it’s questionable whether banks will re-open on Tuesday (after a holiday today), as planned. If they don’t, the “no” vote could fast-track a Grexit and see Greece revive its only currency.”
Read more from ‘Fast Asia Open: Oxi oxi oxi, oi oi oi’ here.
While we await further market news, let’s have a look back at the extraordinary last few hours. My colleague Graeme Wearden, and before him Julia Kollewe, drove live coverage of the vote count and reaction in the streets of Greece and around the world.
You can relive the night blow by blow here, or Graeme’s summary is below.
Greece has delivered a resounding No to its creditors, in a move that has stunned the eurozone tonight and may shake the financial markets.
In the last few minutes, the last ballot papers were counted. And No campaign has exceeded all expectations by securing 61.31% of the vote [here’s the official count].
As our interactive shows, every area of Greece has voted to reject the proposals of Greece’s creditors and seek a better deal.
Prime minister Alexis Tsipras has declared that it’s a historic day for Greece, which shows that democracy cannot be blackmailed.
In a TV address, Tsipras has also vowed to begin negotiations with creditors to reach a sustainable deal to tackle Greece’s debt crisis.
“You made a very brave choice.
“The mandate you gave me is not the mandate of a rupture with Europe, but a mandate to strengthen our negotiating position to seek a viable solution.”
Greece’s future in the eurozone looks more perilous than ever, and the next 48 hours could be critical.
German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande will meet in Paris on Monday night.
Then on Tuesday, eurozone leaders will debate the crisis at an emergency summit. Eurozone finance ministers will hold a Eurogroup meeting that afternoon.
Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijssebloem has already criticised the result of the referendum, warning:
“I take note of the outcome of the Greek referendum. This result is very regrettable for the future of Greece.”
A series of financial analysts have warned tonight that Greece is likely to exit the eurozone. As Barclays warned:
“While Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande are scheduled to meet tomorrow, we argue that EMU exit now is the most likely scenario….”
Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, though, has denied this is an option:
Japan, S Korea, Australia markets open down
- Japan Nikkei index down 1.46% to 20239.0
- Australia’s ASX 200 is down 1.57% to 5451.4
- South Korea’s Kospi index is down 1.23% at 2078.47
- UK FTSE 6431.4 (-1.84%)
- US S&P 500 2044.15 (-1.11%)
- German DAX 10808.5 (-2.78%)
The Guardian’s Tokyo correspondent, Justin McCurry, has just filed the below update on Japan’s market today.
Japan’s Nikkei stock index opened down more than 300 points on Monday, a day after Greece voted to rejected the eurozone’s terms for the country remaining in the single currency.
The Nikkei mounted a recovery last week after after posting its second-biggest daily drop this year after Greece and its international creditors failed to make a breakthrough in bailout talks.
Japan’s finance minister, Taro Aso, said last week he did not expect dramatic falls in Japanese share prices or a sudden surge in the yen if Greece defaulted but stayed in the eurozone.
He warned, however, that the impact on Japanese and other markets could be big if Athens left the single currency.
Mohamed El-Erian, the former boss of the world’s biggest bond trader Pimco and now chief economic adviser at insurance giant Allianz, said investors should brace for a major global equity selloff.
“Yes, you will see one. With the extent and duration a function of whether the ECB steps in with new anti-contagion measures,” he writes for Bloomberg.
“Without huge emergency assistance from the European Central Bank – a decision that faces long odds – the government will find it hard to get money to the country’s automated teller machines, let alone re-open the banks.”
Over to you Mario Draghi.
All votes counted – Greece votes no
All referendum votes have now been counted, with a final result of 61.31% voting no, to 38.69% yes.
Eyes are now moving towards the world markets, particularly those in Asia set to open in the next few hours. Tokyo and Korea will be first in the next few minutes and along with Shanghai and Hong Kong later today, are ones to watch.
Unsurprisingly the euro fell sharply in Asia, Reuters has already reported.
The Japanese government said it was ready to respond as needed in markets and was in close touch with other nations.
The euro was down 0.9 percent at $1.1012 but off an early low of $1.0967. It had initially dropped around 1.5 percent on the safe-haven yen only to find a big buy order waiting, which pared its losses to 134.53.
Likewise, the dollar recouped its early drop to be only a touch softer at 122.34 yen. The dollar index added 0.3 percent to 96.434.
Prime minister Alexis Tsipras has addressed the Greek nation, telling voters they made a “brave choice” and that “democracy can not be blackmailed.”
However he added: “I am fully aware that the mandate here is not one to break with Europe by a mandate to strengthen our negotiating position to seek a viable solution.”
Greek voters have overwhelmingly rejected the extra austerity measures demanded by creditors in return for bailout funds. In a referendum held with just eight days notice, more than 60% have voted no, or oxi.
No supporters have taken to the streets in celebration, while Antonis Samaras, the head of the New Democracy party who campaigned for a Yes vote, has resigned.
Shocked EU finance ministers have called an emergency meeting for Tuesday, as analysts fear collapse of the Greek banking system.
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