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February 2, 2012

Greek Bailout Deal Edges Nearer
By Tony Czuczka and Jeffrey Donovan – Feb 18, 2012 6:08 AM GMT+0700

Euro-area governments closed in on a deal to unlock a 130 billion-euro ($171 billion) aid package for Greece, seeking to avert the region’s first sovereign default.

Germany, the biggest country contributor to euro-area rescues, signaled that finance ministers may be ready to back Greece’s second bailout in two years when they meet Feb. 20 in Brussels. After a week of wrangling among euro-area officials, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government indicated it aims to avoid splitting the timetable of the aid and a writedown of Greek debt to private bondholders and agree to the deal as one package.

Greece’s struggle to give assurances on debt-reduction goals through the end of the decade have heightened uncertainty as the clock ticks toward a March 20 bond redemption when Greece must pay 14.5 billion euros or trigger the first sovereign default in the euro’s 13-year history. The Brussels gathering on Feb. 20 is due to start at 3:30 p.m. instead of the usual 5 p.m.

“The ongoing saga will likely go down to the wire and is, yet again, another reminder of the fragile nature of the state of affairs in Europe and the potential for a disorderly default,” Michael Gapen, a New York-based economist at Barclays Capital, said in a note.

Germany has led pressure on Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos to enforce austerity in his country, stoking recrimination between Europe’s southern countries and their northern creditors. Greece’s economy, stuck in what is predicted to be a fifth year of recession, shrank 7 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter as unemployment climbed to 20.9 percent in November.
ECB Role

In focus over the weekend will be role of the European Central Bank as it holds talks with Greece over exempting Greek bonds in national central banks’ investment portfolios from a debt restructuring, two euro-area officials said.

Investors anticipating a conclusion of the seven-month effort to complete the second bailout for Greece sent the euro and global stocks higher this week. The euro rose 0.2 percent to $1.3150 as of 6:58 p.m. in Berlin yesterday after earlier gaining as much as 0.5 percent.

Merkel, Papademos and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti discussed plans for a second Greek bailout in a conference call yesterday and are confident that finance ministers will “find a solution to open questions” when they meet in Brussels, Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, said in a statement.
Debt Targets

While Greek lawmakers this month passed austerity measures that are required for the aid, euro-area finance ministers heard on a Feb. 15 conference call that Greece would miss debt- reduction goals without further measures. Greece’s debt would fall to 129 percent of gross domestic product in 2020, missing a target of 120 percent, said three people familiar with the talks who declined to be named because they are still in progress. Last year, the level was about 160 percent.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble signaled flexibility on that target, saying during a panel discussion in Stuttgart last night that “the 120 percent may be 122 percent or 123 percent, it mustn’t be 130 percent.”

“It will definitely take until Sunday night” to resolve the outstanding questions, Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Kotthaus told reporters in Berlin.

Keeping the bond swap on track may hinge on the ECB. The bank is swapping its Greek bonds for new ones to ensure it isn’t forced to take losses in any debt restructuring, three euro-area officials said on Feb. 16. The move may be completed by Feb. 20, the officials said.
Bond Swap

That could pave the way for a private-sector bond swap that aims to slice about 100 billion euros off Greece’s debt alongside the second bailout. More controversial is a proposal for national central banks to take part in the private exchange by accepting losses on Greek bonds in their investment portfolios.

“Markets are likely anticipating a positive outcome with voluntary participation of the private sector and possibly some ECB involvement,” Silvio Peruzzo, an economist at Royal Bank of Scotland in London, said by e-mail. Even so, “Greece is likely to remain a key risk for the euro area as the implementation of the program feeds the theme of exit from the monetary union.”

Euro officials are targeting a window of Feb. 22 to March 9 to complete the swap transaction, German lawmakers were told during a briefing by government officials last week.
Collective Action Clauses

The Greek government is meanwhile drawing up legislation that could be used to impose losses on investors who don’t support the debt swap, according to two euro-region officials familiar with the situation. The law may be introduced to parliament in Athens in the coming days, said one of the officials. Finance ministers are prepared to back the use of so- called collective action clauses if the voluntary swap doesn’t draw enough participation, the other person said.

The bond exchange can only go ahead once governments authorize the European Financial Stability Facility to provide 30 billion euros, to be used in cash or collateral as an incentive to investors.

With Greece’s ability to honor its debt-cutting pledges still in question, finance ministers may again withhold approval of the bailout even if they back the bond exchange, Citigroup Global Markets analysts said. That would push the dispute closer to a March 1-2 summit of European leaders.

Holding back euro-area policy makers is “widespread skepticism about the credibility of Greece’s political system as a whole and its ability to implement what has already been agreed,” Nomura Global Economics analysts said.
What Happens If Greece Doesn’t Get a Bailout?
By Michael Schuman | February 16, 2012 | 8

After the Greek parliament on Sunday passed yet another package of austerity measures demanded by its euro-zone neighbors – this one worth $4.4 billion – the path seemed clear to finalizing a long-delayed, second bailout of the country totaling $170 billion. Well, it turns out the Greek vote wasn’t enough to satisfy skeptical euro-zone leaders. Instead of pinning down the bailout details, European finance ministries have reopened the entire plan to bail out Greece. A debate is now raging among euro-zone countries over whether or not a second bailout makes any sense at all. The basic problem apparently is that there is a growing belief in some northern euro members – such as Germany and Finland – that Greece’s politicians will never be capable of implementing reforms, whatever promises are made now, so a new bailout would end up being a waste of money. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble publicly questioned the commitment of Greece’s politicians to reform after an upcoming election.

When this latest twist in the debt crisis will resolve itself is unclear. Greek politicians are scrambling to find yet more budget cuts to appease their euro-zone partners. Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, said that a resolution will come in a meeting of finance ministers on Monday. But there is talk that a final decision on the bailout may not be taken until early March, maybe even later, or that the bailout might be split up into parts, with some facing postponements. The doubts and disagreements have exposed the widening divisions and distrust the ongoing debt crisis is cracking open in the monetary union. On Wednesday, Greek President Karolos Papoulias lashed out at Greece’s critics in Germany and elsewhere. “We are all obliged to work hard to get through this crisis, but we cannot accept insults from Mr. Schäuble,” the president blasted. “Who is Mr. Schäuble to insult Greece? Who are these Dutchmen, who are these Finns? We have always defended not only the freedom of our own country, but the freedom of Europe.”

Hey, wasn’t the euro supposed to be an instrument for peace and democracy? I guess that’s not the case when $170 billion is on the table. The possibility that Greece may not get its bailout changes the outlook for the euro zone dramatically. Without that rescue money, Greece would almost certainly default, probably in March. And what would the consequences be? There’s a not-so-bad scenario, a bad scenario and an absolutely catastrophic scenario.

First, the not-so-bad outcome: Greeks would suffer terribly, but damage to the rest of the euro zone would be limited. Many of us have been questioning the wisdom of a second bailout of Greece for a while. Europe’s leaders are really just playing catch-up on this idea. The thinking has been that Greece needs a full-on reboot of its economy, not more bailout loans. Another rescue wouldn’t bring Greece’s debt down to sustainable levels anyway, and its calculations are based on unrealistic assumptions about the Greek government’s ability to deliver on reforms and privatization. The euro-zone arrangement for a second bailout plus moderate debt reduction would only saddle the country with debts it couldn’t pay and trap its people in a depressed economy for a very long period of time. In other words, a bailout may not actually succeed in fixing Greece. Since the economy is in worse shape now than it was when it received its first bailout in 2010 – with a sharply contracting GDP, a higher debt-to-GDP ratio, and massive social upheaval – in some ways a second bailout appears to make less sense than ever. Better to just let Greece default, forcing a true restructuring of its debt.

The main impetus for a second bailout has been fears of the contagion effect a disorderly Greek default would have on the monetary union. But it appears that some in European government circles believe that those fears are overblown. The impact of a Greek default could be contained, the thinking goes. Financial markets are already acting on the assumption that Greece will default, so there is no surprise value. The current structure of the second bailout includes a default in all but name, just an organized one – the restructuring of $265 million of Greek sovereign debt. Private bondholders will already take a 50% haircut on Greek bonds in that restructuring, so there’s no way of avoiding losses at big European banks even if a second bailout goes ahead. Of course, a Greek default would be disastrous for Greece. It would destroy the Greek banking sector, cut Greece off from new funding and force a drastic reduction in the size of the Greek budget. But all that will have to happen anyway, even with a bailout. In other words, if the pain can be contained to Greece, why not just let Greece go and start over?

I see the logic behind this thinking. But we also have to question if it is possible for Greece to remain in the monetary union without a bailout. So that takes us to the bad scenario: a Greek default forces the country out of the euro zone.

Here’s how that would play out: A Greek default cuts the country off from access to any new funds, but Athens requires financing from outside the country to keep the government running. That raises the specter of a government that can’t pay salaries or run state services (though it is possible that policymakers could redirect money that would have gone to servicing its debt into paying its bills). The default also wipes out the entire Greek banking sector, which is holding large amounts of government bonds, but there is no money around to recapitalize them. Even worse, Greeks of all types, upon hearing news of a failed bailout, would empty their bank accounts and send their money out of the country. They would quickly realize that the looming default could mean an exit from the euro zone, and when the drachma returned, it would do so at a depressed value, wiping out a hefty chunk of their euro savings. So Greece experiences a total meltdown of its financial sector. The only solution for Greece is printing money to fill in all of the holes, but since the country is a member of the euro zone, it can’t print euros. That forces Greece to withdraw from the euro zone and return to its original currency, the drachma. The hope in Europe would then be that the chaos would stop there – that the combination of the euro-zone bailout fund and commitments to the rest of its members would prevent any other countries from leaving the zone. So you’d have major turmoil in financial markets, but the euro zone would hold together, minus Greece.

That’s not impossible. But at the same time, there is a chance that Europe’s leaders could miscalculate the impact a Greek default would have on sentiment in financial markets, and the possible degree of contagion that would result. European politicians have consistently misjudged the market reaction to their decisions in fighting the crisis. That takes us to the really catastrophic scenario – an unraveling of the entire euro zone. It goes something like this: Let’s try to imagine what would happen in other, troubled, euro-zone countries if Greece defaulted. For example, Portugal. Investors have come to worry that Portugal, like Greece, will require a second bailout. The Portuguese, watching events unfold in Greece, could very well lose faith in their own economy, as well. So the Portuguese head down to their local bank branches and empty their bank accounts of euros just like the Greeks, and ship them out of the country. Compounding matters, foreign investors, fearing a Portuguese default similar to the Greek one, dump their holdings of Portuguese debt on a massive scale, sending borrowing costs soaring. That means the euro zone would have to rush aid to Portugal to save it, too, from being forced out of the monetary union. And then what happens to Spain, or Italy? Oh the humanity!

How likely is this worst-case scenario? I’m not going to give odds here. The fact is the fallout from a Greek default is impossible to predict. That’s why in the end, if I had to make a bet, I’d say the Greeks will get their bailout. The nightmare possibilities are simply too great for the rest of Europe to dismiss. But to warn you, I’m not a betting man.

Read more: http://business.time.com/2012/02/16/what-happens-if-greece-doesnt-get-a-bailout/#ixzz1mZCBhI6f

BRUSSELS, Feb 16, 2012 (AFP)
The eurozone told Greece it must accept tough EU surveillance if it is to unlock a stalled bailout next week and avoid a messy default, despite meeting key hurdles at Wednesday night talks.

A statement from Eurogroup chair Jean-Claude Juncker after a lengthy video conference, during which hardline finance ministers demanded rigid oversight of Greek state revenues and expenditure, avoided any direct mention of the disputed 230-billion-euro ($300 billion) rescue.

Instead, following a day of fraying tempers in the months-long tug-of-war, the Luxembourg prime minister said only that he was confident his colleagues could “take all the necessary decisions on Monday,” when they next meet face-to-face in Brussels.

With the clock running down on a 14.5-billion-euro bond repayments deadline for the Greek government on March 20, the euro lost ground against the dollar for a fourth straight day and US markets also ended trading down.

The termperature had risen early in the day when German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned: “We can help but we are not going to pour money into a bottomless pit.”

Hit with mounting conditions to obtain loans first promised in October, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told his citizens that “several” of his adversaries “no longer want us” in the currency area.

President Carolos Papoulias, a resistance fighter during Greece’s World War II occupation by Germany, took personal exception, the 82-year-old crying: “I do not accept having my country taunted by Mr Schaeuble, as a Greek I do not accept it.”

He named the Dutch and the Finns as chief cheerleaders, Dutch premier Mark Rutte having already floated publicly a willingness to contemplate an eventual Greek euro exit.

Juncker credited Greece with delivering on three conditions laid down at ministers’ last gathering six days earlier.

Greek coalition leaders had given “strong assurances” that austerity and reform would be upheld by whoever wins an April general election, he said, while foreign auditors provided an analysis of Greek debt sustainability and Athens identified an extra 325 million euros in cuts.

In a letter demanded by eurozone partners, Greek Conservative leader Antonis Samaras, tipped to win, said his party would “remain committed to the objectives, targets and key policies” identified by a so-called troika running a first bailout begun nearly two years ago.

But the conditions Greece must meet for revamped aid are still mounting, Juncker flagging “a detailed list of prior actions” Greece must complete, “together with a timeline for their implementation.”

These hark back to a sense of betrayal among some eurozone states over a promised 50-billion privatisation drive that has delivered very little and still-rampant tax evasion.

With trust wearing thin, Juncker said “further considerations” were necessary on how to supervise the management of the Greek state, and “to ensure that priority is given to debt servicing.”

Bailout chiefs in Athens were already working to set up an “escrow,” or blocked account, that would prioritise governmental creditors, a senior eurozone governmental source told AFP.

At the European Parliament, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said Greece, in its fifth year of recession, was being forced to adapt after “a perfect catalogue of the worst practices in Europe.”

Fully Triple A-rated states Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg will stage their own huddle first on Monday alongside France, a governmental source told AFP.

Diplomats and officials said they could then greenlight the launch of a complicated bond swap offer, which would need to be underwritten by untapped eurozone bailout resources and backed by certain national parliaments.

This is aimed at shaving 100 billion euros off Greece’s 350-billion debts.

Authorisation for another 100 billion of loans would be left hanging while banks and other creditors decide in the run-up to March 20 whether to accept a write-down worth at least 75 percent of their holdings.

The governmental source said the go-ahead for the bond swap would be “conditioned on the Greeks fulfilling certain actions in the coming weeks… Otherwise the sweeteners don’t get released,” referring to 30 billion euros notionally set aside to recapitalise Greek banks.

rt-burs/bm

PARIS, Feb 15, 2012 (AFP)
France’s economy grew 1.7 percent in 2011, in line with the government target, after a better-than-expected fourth quarter growth of 0.2 percent, the national statistics institute INSEE said Wednesday.

The government had maintained its forecast of 1.75 percent even though most economists expected growth for the year to be 1.6 percent, tipping a contraction of 0.2 percent in the three months to December.

While many believe the economy is slowing, the positive fourth quarter averts for the moment the threat that France would be in recession just before presidential polls due in April and May.

Growth came to 0.9 percent in the first quarter of 2011, minus 0.1 percent in the second and 0.3 percent in the third.

A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative figures.

France grew 1.4 percent in 2010.

Finance Minister Francois Baroin stressed that the figures were in line with government estimates and had been achieved in “an internationally difficult environment.”

INILAH.COM, Jakarta – Menteri Keuangan Zona Euro mengatakan para pemimpin partai politik di Athena telah gagal memberikan komitmen yang diperlukan untuk reformasi.

Seorang sumber yang akrab dengan negosiasi dana penyelamatan Yunani sebesar 130 miliar euro seperti dikutip Reuters mengatakan pemimpin konservatif Antonis Samaras pernah menandatangani komitmen untuk melaksanakan paket yang sangat tidak populer yang ditetapkan oleh EU/IMF untuk melakukan reformasi ekonomi dan pemotongan anggaran.

Tapi ada laporan terbaru yang mengatakan para pemimpin Konservatif Yunani pada kenyataannya akan memberikan komitmen mereka untuk lender pada hari Rabu. Laporan menyebabkan pasar saham AS memangkas kerugiannya pada menit terakhir perdagangan Selasa (14/2/2012).

Menteri di Eurogroup diperkirakan akan berkumpul di Brussels pada hari Rabu untuk melakukan pertemuan, yang mana jika semua sudah merencanakan, akan menyetujui bailout dan menyelamatkan Yunani dari kebangkrutan bulan depan. Namun, dengan sabar Uni Eropa dengan Yunani mendekati titik pemecahannya. Ketua Eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker mengatakan para menteri akan terus melakukan konferensi melalui telepon sebelum mengadakan pertemuan rutin yang sudah dijadwalkan pada 20 Februari.

Juncker mengatakan ia menunggu surat tertulis dari pemimpin Partai Yunani untuk mendorong paket penghematan, pensiun dan pemangkasan pekerja. “Sayabelum menerima jaminan politik yang dibutuhkan dari para pemimpin Partai koalisi Yunani pada pelaksanaan program,” katanya dalam sebuah pernyataan.

Sumber mengatakan di Athena bahwa masalah terletak pada Samaras, yang berpendapat bahwa penghematan yang diminta oleh Uni Eropa dan IMF hanya memperdalam resesi Yunani dan yang telah terbukti enggan untuk menandatangani pernyataan tertulis. “Jadi jika Samaras tidak memberi surat komitmen, ini menjadi masalah,” kata sumber itu kepada Reuters.

Partai New Demokrasi Samaras menolak komentar. Sumber pemerintah mengatakan Samaras akan memberikan sikapnya pada hari Rabu pagi.

http://pasarmodal.inilah.com/read/detail/1830401/athena-gagal-beri-komitmen-reformasi

Sumber : INILAH.COM
Feb 14 – Summary of business headlines: Greek conservative leader set to back austerity-fueled bailout
BRUSSEL-Para menteri keuangan zona euro telah menunda lagi keputusan dana talangan (bailout) baru untuk Yunani karena belum memenuhi kondisi untuk penyelamatan, kepala Eurogroup mengatakan Selasa (14/2).

Para menteri diperkirakan akan bertemu di Brussel pada Rabu tetapi pembicaraan dialihkan menjadi sebuah konferensi jarak jauh setelah politisi Yunani gagal memberikan komitmen tertulis mereka untuk memberlakukan pemotongan yang dituntut oleh kreditor.

“Saya belum menerima jaminan politik yang dibutuhkan dari para pemimpin partai koalisi Yunani pada pelaksanaan program,” Perdana Menteri Luksemburg Jean-Claude Juncker mengatakan dalam sebuah pernyataan.

Juncker mengatakan “pekerjaan teknis lebih lanjut” juga diperlukan antara Yunani dan auditor Uni Eropa dan IMF “di sejumlah wilayah,” termasuk mendapatkan 325 juta euro lain dalam penghematan dan penyelesaian analisis dari keberlanjutan utang Yunani.

“Dengan latar belakang ini, saya telah memutuskan untuk mengadakan konferensi jarak jauh para menteri besok untuk membahas isu yang beredar dan menyiapkan pertemuan biasa dari Eurogroup pada Senin,” tambahnya.

Yunani sangat membutuhkan 230 miliar euro (303 miliar dolar AS) paket penyelamatan — 130 miliar euro pada pinjaman barur dan 100 miliar euro pengurangan pada obligasi yang dipegang swasta — untuk menghindari gagal bayar pada utang yang jatuh tempo 20 Maret.(ant/hrb)

http://www.investor.co.id/international/zona-euro-tunda-keputusan-dana-talangan-yunani/29980

Sumber : INVESTOR DAILY
Feb. 12, 2012, 12:34 p.m. EST
Greece set for critical vote on spending cuts
Debt-plagued nation has to pass austerity plan in return for bailout

By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Greek lawmakers gathered on Sunday to vote on a controversial austerity plan whose passage is required before Germany and other lenders will agree to a bailout package worth 130 billion euros ($176.6 billion).
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Europe’s week ahead: Greek bailout Vote, warnings reports

The Greek parliament is scheduled to vote on Sunday and euro-zone finance ministers will meet on Wednesday to officially sign off the bailout deal. Nestle, BNP Paribas and SocGen will report earnings, reports MarketWatch’s Sara Sjolin.

The southern Europe nation, plagued by a worsening debt crisis, will consider another round of deep cuts in spending. The cutbacks would touch virtually every part of the economy and result in reductions in government salaries, worker pensions and even the minimum wage.

As protesters gathered outside parliament, Greek lawmakers prepared to approve the austerity plan. A vote was expected by late Sunday, U.S. eastern time.

The debt crisis in Greece has roiled financial markets in Europe and the U.S. for more than a year, raising the prospect that the small nation could even be forced to leave the euro zone. U.S. stocks sank on Friday amid worries that Greece might not win approval for fresh aid.

European leaders, already dealing with a weakened continental economy, want to prevent the financial failure of Greece and any resulting contagion to other member of the Euro zone.

Yet they want strong conditions attached because of the perception that Greece failed to take sufficient action after its first major bailout in 2010. The country is widely viewed as having fallen short of its promises for reduced spending and regulatory reform.

On Sunday, German leaders once again warned Greece that it won’t tolerate inaction. Germany is the largest economy in the euro zone, of which Greece is also a member, and it would bear a greater burden of the bailout costs.
Reluctant German support

Polls show that Germans would reluctantly support further aid if Greece took concrete steps to rein in spending and reform its economy.

Reuters
GreeK Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.

“The promises from Greece aren’t enough for us any more,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in an interview printed Sunday in a German newspaper

The EU, led by Germany and France, and the International Monetary Fund are prepared to offer more aid if Greece passes its latest plan. Loans from private lenders could also be restructured to sharply reduce principal and make it easier for Greece to repay.

The Greek prime minister, Lucas Papademos, has warned his countrymen that failure to pass the austerity plan could lead to the nation’s eviction from the Euro zone and put it on a path to financial ruin.

Greece, now in the fifth year of a recession, already suffers from nearly 20% unemployment and a scarcity of new jobs. The latest round of proposed cuts has angered many Greeks and caused some to lash out at Germany.

Yet with a March 20 deadline for debt payments looming, Greece has to act fast.

“If the law is not passed, the country will go bankrupt,” Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos starkly warned lawmakers.

Even if Greece passes the bill, the European Union would still be economically vulnerable. There’s no guarantee the second Greek bailout will work any better than the first one, while many other EU members, including Italy and Spain, are also saddled with high debts.

High national debts are historically linked to slower economic growth and poor job creation.
Greek lawmakers approve austerity bill as Athens burns

6:43pm EST

By Harry Papachristou and Yannis Behrakis

ATHENS (Reuters) – The Greek parliament approved a deeply unpopular austerity bill to secure a second EU/IMF bailout and avoid national bankruptcy, as buildings burned across central Athens and violence spread around the country.

Cinemas, cafes, shops and banks were set ablaze in central Athens as black-masked protesters fought riot police outside parliament.

State television reported the violence spread to the tourist islands of Corfu and Crete, the northern city of Thessaloniki and towns in central Greece. Shops were looted in the capital where police said 34 buildings were ablaze.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos denounced the worst breakdown of order since 2008 when violence gripped Greece for weeks after police shot a 15-year-old schoolboy.

“Vandalism, violence and destruction have no place in a democratic country and won’t be tolerated,” he told parliament as it prepared to vote on the new 130 billion euro bailout to save Greece from a chaotic bankruptcy.

Papademos told lawmakers shortly before they voted that they would be gravely mistaken if they rejected the package that demands deep pay, pension and job cuts, as this would threaten Greece’s place in the European mainstream.

“It would be a huge historical injustice if the country from which European culture sprang … reached bankruptcy and was led, due to one more mistake, to national isolation and national despair,” he said.

The chaos outside parliament showed how tough it will be to implement the measures. A Reuters photographer saw buildings in Athens engulfed in flames and huge plumes of smoke rose in the night sky.

“We are facing destruction. Our country, our home, has become ripe for burning, the centre of Athens is in flames. We cannot allow populism to burn our country down,” conservative lawmaker Costis Hatzidakis told parliament.

The air in Syntagma Square outside parliament was thick with tear gas as riot police fought running battles with youths who smashed marble balustrades and hurled stones and petrol bombs.

Terrified Greeks and tourists fled the rock-strewn streets and the clouds of stinging gas, cramming into hotel lobbies for shelter as lines of riot police

Feb. 10, 2012, 12:01 a.m. EST
5 stock pros confess their biggest market worries
Euro-zone debt, U.S. economic woes weigh on investing strategies

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch

Reuters
MADRID (MarketWatch) — The headaches besetting globally oriented investment managers are constant, but the pain essentially has two sources: Slow economic growth and the European sovereign debt crisis.

Greece has struck a debt-restructuring deal with its private creditors, and a path seems clear to a second bailout from international lenders, but investment managers are sensitive to the volatility and losses that international-markets stockholders suffered in 2011. And there’s still a lengthy list of problems to confront.

TRADING DECK

The mother of all buying opportunities
European financials are outperforming S&P, but is a true trend in leadership emerging?

For a sense of how asset managers are coping with the current global investment climate and to understand their worst fears, MarketWatch spoke to five seasoned professionals who are based outside of the U.S., from London to Hong Kong, about their biggest stock-market worries:

Khiem Do: Baring Asset Management

“How is it going to end?” Khiem Do asked about Europe’s debt troubles. “How much has to be written off and who is going to take the haircut?”

In response to this uncertainty, Do, manager of Baring Asset Management’s closed-end Asia Pacific Fund, Inc. (NYSE:APB) and head of the investment firm’s multi-asset management for Asia, is steering clear of banks in the U.S. and in Europe that are closer to the crisis. The Hong Kong-based fund manager is investing in Asian banks instead. Read more: 5 money moves an Asian stock-fund manager is making now.

At the same time, Do added, “We don’t want to be too bearish on the U.S. economy right now.” So the fund manager favors U.S. utilities, telecommunications, consumer staples, technology and energy stocks.

“If there were to be a massive selloff in European banks due to any of the macro risk,” he said, these sectors would still do all right. Said Do: “They are more stable companies.” Read more: Greek political leaders reach deal.

Rainer Baumann: Sustainable Asset Management

Rainer Baumann, Zurich-based head of portfolio management at Sustainable Asset Management, is concerned that the U.S. economic growth this year will fall short of expectations of 2%-plus.

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“Fundamentals seem to be fragile,” Baumann said.

Sustainable Asset Management, which oversees about $11.4 billion in assets, invests only invest in companies that are sustainable leaders, which acts as a natural hedge. “Our companies are more stable and robust,” he said.

Plus, he added, companies with a clear way of addressing long-term trends, problems and risks can often work through tough times.

Roche Holding AG (SWL:CH:ROG) (OTN:RHHBY) , for example, has a place in the SAM Sustainable Global Equity Fund.

Roche, Baumann said, has an ideal combination of attractive fundamentals and valuation. IBM Corp. (NYSE:IBM) is also in the fund. “It’s a company that outperforms and their policies and strategies address future challenges or future risks,” he said.

Didier Saint-Georges: Carmignac Gestion

Economic growth is also key for Didier Saint-Georges, member of the Investment Committee at Carmignac Gestion, which has over €45 billion under management. He said the Paris-based firm has been progressively raising exposure to equities after paring back in 2011.

“Europe is in the doldrums, U.S. growth is stabilizing at an average level, but we have good prospects for consumer-led economic growth in emerging markets,” said Saint-Georges. “Therefore we are avoiding very domestic sectors and we favor companies which will be positioned to capture demand, which will be mostly in emerging markets.”

He added: “In addition to holding European and U.S. exporters, we have a lot of Chinese, Indian, Brazilian and Indonesian stocks oriented towards local consumer demand,” such as electrical appliance companies and local car distributors.

Dividends are not the main draw. “One has to be very careful in an economic downturn about sustainability of dividends in this environment, in that growth is a scarce resource. We think if we find good growth stories we get better performance,” Saint-Georges said.

The Carmignac Investissement Fund’s second-biggest holding is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) . Saint-Georges said the firm likes the company for its growth story, but also for the potential that Apple could one day pay a shareholder dividend.

Neil Dwane: Allianz Global Investors/RCM

Neil Dwane, London-based chief investment officer for Allianz Global Investors/RCM, which has €500 billion under management across all major asset classes, said he’s concerned about the Middle East. Specifically, he’s paying close attention to the situation in Syria and Iran and the ramifications of last year’s Arab Spring revolutions. Any trouble in those regions could lead to higher oil prices, he said.

“The reason I am worried about it is because we’re already seeing world economic growth slowing to below what we’ve been used to for the last 10 to 15 years, with emerging markets being the key driver of that growth,” Dwane said. “My concern would be any further ratcheting of the oil price would put that growth at risk.”

Investors need to think about the economic impact that an interruption in the oil supply would have on China and Asia, which is already paying a premium price for crude, he said.

“Because we think emerging markets are the growth engine of the world, we like oil, as well because BP (NYSE:BP) (LSS:UK:BP) , Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) (LSS:UK:RDSA) and Total (NYSE:TOT) (EPA:FR:FP) have good dividends. So we think you kind of get a confluence of positive effects. Stocks are cheap, no downside.“

Nick Nefouse: BlackRock Inc.

Corporate profit margins for the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index (SNC:SPX) have been on a tear since bottoming in late 2009. But as BlackRock’s Nick Nefouse points out, that is not going to last forever.

“You get to a point in the cycle where you made a lot of money, but it starts to slip,” said London-based Nefouse, product specialist for the BlackRock Global Equity Income Fund. “We’re not dealing with those things yet,” he added, “but the mean reverts over time.”

Investors should focus on quality companies that can withstand volatility better than rivals, and stocks that pay dividends, Nefouse said, though he cautioned that dividend-paying companies are not always high quality.

Global telecom fits the bill nowadays. “The sector is not really well liked by a lot of people in the market; there’s a fairly big underweight globally. Second, they generate a lot of free cash flow, which is what we like to see, a pay out to shareholders in form of dividends,” Nefouse said.

He also likes more cyclical areas and particularly industrials, such as those in the U.S. that have sold off in the last few months. “A lot of the time the market selloff has happened to higher-quality names.”

Like many others, he’s bracing for more volatility this year. “You’ve got to be more patient and look out a bit farther, Nefouse said. “There’s a lot of risk within the market…in the short-term the market is not always driven by fundamentals.”
Papademos Gets Cabinet Approval for 2nd Bailout
Q
By Maria Petrakis, Natalie Weeks and Marcus Bensasson – Feb 11, 2012 5:51 AM GMT+0700
bloomberg

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos obtained approval from his Cabinet for deeper budget cuts needed to secure a second package of international aid, clearing the latest hurdle in his race to prevent financial collapse.

Cabinet approved the 287-page document unanimously, said a government official, who declined to be named. The approval means the 300-seat Parliament will vote, probably tomorrow, on budget measures amounting to 7 percent of gross domestic product over the next three years and a debt swap to slice 100 billion euros off more than 200 billion euros of privately-held debt.

“The social cost this program implies will be limited compared to the economic and social catastrophe that would follow if we don’t adopt it,” Papademos told his ministers earlier, according to an e-mailed transcript of his comments. “The completion of the program and financial support will cement our country’s future in the euro area.”

The approval capped a week of tension in Athens as European Union and International Monetary Fund officials argued with Greek government officials over the conditions required to secure the 130 billion-euro ($172 billion) rescue package. Papademos reached agreement with the three party leaders supporting his interim government hours before a crucial meeting of euro area finance ministers in Brussels on Feb. 9, only to be told the measures needed more work.
BRUSSELS, Feb 10, 2012 (AFP)
Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos hit out Friday at conservative rival Antonio Samaras for a refusal to back a state pension-fund raid that saw his hopes of securing a new bailout stall.

Deputy premier Venizelos claimed that Greece’s eurozone fate ultimately would depend on the decision Samaras takes on the issue over the coming days, as the Greek parliament prepares a vote on new austerity amid a general strike.

Venizelos’ hopes of returning from Brussels with a 130-billion-euro ($171 billion) second bailout in his pocket evaporated as a “staff-level” agreement between Greek political rivals and international creditors was poorly received.

Eurozone counterparts said Greece had to meet three conditions: a successful vote by lawmakers expected on Sunday, after a 48-hour stoppage called by unions; what eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker termed “strong political assurance” from coalition partners; and the filling of a 325-million-euro hole in the government’s spending plans.

Samaras refused to sanction the pension cuts, despite committing to other spending cuts and reforms.

Venizelos said his counterparts “took into consideration that Samaras has still not signed” the full text of that agreement, and warned afterwards that the Conservative party “must come out clearly” and say which road it wants the country to take.

Greece is in dire need of financial aid soon since it has bond payments of 14.5 billion euros due March 20,

And Venizelos said of Samaras’ Conservative party: “It must decide — if they want to stay in the eurozone, they have to say so clearly.

“If they don’t, then they have to say that clearly as well.

“The choice is between two decisions — very difficult, and very, very difficult,” Venizelos underlined.

The eurozone will hold a new meeting next Wednesday if the three conditions are met, alongside parallel negotiations on a debt writedown with its private lenders, where it hopes to slash 100 billion euros from its 350-billion-euro debt mountain.

Venizelos did, however, open the door to plans for the EU to take a much more active role in the running of Greek government affairs on the ground, focused on the opening of an escrow account for Greece, which would block a portion of state revenues to guarantee the repayment of bailout loans.

EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said eurozone partners are now “seriously considering” plans he said offered “one possibility for reinforcing surveillance and effectively implementing the programme,” and Venizelos told Greek reporters he was willing to look again at the issue.

Breaking: unity on bailout reforms
9 Feb 2012

The country’s political leaders have clinched a deal on austerity measures needed to secure a bailout to keep the country afloat, two government sources said on Thursday.

“Yes, there is a deal,” one government official said.

European Central Bank

ECB President Mario Draghi on Thursday confirmed a deal between Greece’s political parties on bailout conditions had been reached but said he could not say anything about how his central bank’s holdings of Greek bonds would be treated.

“On Greece, I’m sorry to say I cannot say anything about how our holdings of Greek bonds both under the SMP (bond buying) programme and national central bank holdings will be treated,” Draghi told a news conference.

“What I can say, however, is…that a few minutes ago I got a call from the prime minister of Greece saying that an agreement has been reached and has been endorsed by the major parties. This afternoon we will be having a euro group meeting with the ministers, and we will be having a full report of this, the agreement, and also a discussion of the further steps.”

Sources have said the ECB is divided about whether it should forgo profits on its Greek bond holdings when private investors are pushed to accept a cut of about 70 percent in value.

Athens has urged the ECB to hand back profits on its Greek bond holdings, a move which could raise 12bn euros or more. The ECB’s 23-member Governing Council has yet to agree a position.

Some ECB policymakers are reluctant for the bank to show a willingness to share in the restructuring burden for fear of easing the pressure on Athens to agree spending cuts. The ECB is also captive to the Maastricht Treaty, which forbids the central bank from financing governments. (Reuters)
February 9, 2012
Breakthrough on Austerity Clears Way for Greek Deal
By RACHEL DONADIO and NIKI KITSANTONIS

ATHENS — After days of dramatic talks, Greek political leaders reached a deal on Thursday to support a package of harsh austerity measures demanded by Greece’s financial backers in return for the country’s latest bailout.

The deal is expected to unlock the €130 billion, or $172 billion, in new loans and save Greece from a potentially disastrous default.

Talks between Prime Minister Lucas D. Papademos and the three leaders backing his coalition had stalled overnight over proposed cuts to pensions, but on Thursday leaders said they had found a way of plugging the €300 million shortfall by cutting defense spending and other expenditures.

A statement issued by the prime minister’s office on Thursday afternoon confirmed that the government and its creditors had an agreement. “Talks between the government and the troika on the issue, which had remained open for further elaboration and discussion, concluded successfully this morning,” the statement said. “As is well-known, the program accompanies the new loan deal with which Greece is to receive €130 billion in funding.”

After more than seven hours, talks had stalled early Thursday between Mr. Papademos and the three political leaders in his government, who agreed on a range of steep wage cuts and public sector layoffs. But the politically unpopular pension cuts had proven most thorny.

Once the deal is finalized and the measures are approved by the Greek Parliament in the coming days, the lenders are expected to begin releasing to Greece the aid it needs to prevent a default when its next debt payment comes due on March 20.

The deal is also expected to pave the way for a bond swap under which private investors would take losses of as much as 70 percent — a deal that must be completed well before the debt comes due.

Mr. Draghi declined to comment on how Greek bonds held by the E.C.B. and national central banks would be affected under the terms of the swap.

A Greek parliamentary vote on the full package of measures was scheduled for Sunday.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos of Greece was to brief his counterparts in Brussels later Thursday.

Before leaving Athens, Mr. Venizelos had appealed to the political leaders for the umpteenth time, saying that their decisions “will determine whether the country remains in the euro zone or whether its place in Europe will be endangered.”

Even then, the line between Greek political theater and international financial trauma was difficult to discern. And after weeks of delays and threats from both sides — many of them empty — it was clear that the credibility of both Greece and its lenders was on the line.

The country’s two main labor unions called for a strike Friday and Saturday to protest the new proposed package of austerity measures. Union leaders said protest rallies would be held outside Parliament on both days of the strike and on Sunday during the vote.

After breaking talks with Mr. Papademos and issuing statements, the three political leaders had retired to their homes for the night about 2 a.m.

A little while earlier, while Mr. Papademos was holding talks with Greece’s foreign lenders, one of the three leaders participating in the government, George Karatzaferis, the leader of the Popular Orthodox Rally, issued a statement saying that he was unwilling to agree to the terms of the new bailout and indicating that he might withdraw from the government.

That would leave the burden of accepting the austerity measures on the other two parties in the coalition, the Socialists and the center-right New Democracy party.

A government official said that Mr. Papademos had communicated with the leader of New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, and that they had agreed on how to make up the shortfall. Local media said Mr. Papademos had not spoken with Mr. Karatzaferis.

Although Greece’s so-called troika of foreign lenders — the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — have indicated that they will ask for written agreements from the party leaders that they will support the loan agreement, the government is still expected to be able to approve the agreement without Mr. Karatzaferis’s party.

Even if he does pull out of the coalition, the government will have a majority in Parliament, where the Popular Orthodox Rally has only 16 of the coalition’s 252 seats. With elections expected as soon as April, the parties are fighting for political survival.

The leaders appear to have agreed to one of the most unpopular austerity measures, a 22 percent reduction in the minimum wage, to €586 a month, according to an earlier statement by the prime minister’s office.

That cut is expected to affect all salaried workers, because the base wage is used as a benchmark by employers.

But Mr. Samaras, of New Democracy, said the talks had foundered over cuts to pensions. Mr. Karatzaferis, whose populist, hard-right former opposition party has been losing ground with voters since it joined the government, said he would support Mr. Samaras to prevent proposed cuts to supplementary pensions..

Analysts suggested that the coalition partners were seeking to avoid blame for the agreement in hopes of leaving Mr. Papademos as the principal target of public anger.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, who heads a group of euro zone finance ministers, had scheduled a ministerial meeting for Thursday that he had previously said he would call only if Athens were ready to sign off on the plan.

Even that meeting would not be the final word. But it would allow for preparations for a bond swap under which private investors would take losses of as much as 70 percent, according to one person briefed on discussions who agreed to describe them only if the person were not identified.

Some details of the bailout remained unclear, but it appeared increasingly likely that the European Central Bank would agree to forgo at least some of its potential profits on Greek bonds, once the government in Athens had agreed to the austerity measures.

The first installment of the bailout was supposed to be an €89 billion segment in March, but officials are now saying that payment might be limited to about €30 billion to ensure that Greece continues to abide by the terms in coming months.

Landon Thomas Jr. contributed reporting from London, and Jack Ewing from Frankfurt.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: February 9, 2012

An earlier version of this article misstated the amount in pension cuts that is being sought by Greece’s foreign lenders. Greece is expected to find €300 million in pension cuts, not €300 billion.
ATHENS, Feb 9, 2012 (AFP)
Greek government coalition leaders ended lengthy talks on austerity measures Wednesday, with one remaining point of disagreement, the prime minister’s office said.

The three coalition partners who took part in the talks on a rescue plan for the Greek economy reached agreement on “all the points of the plan except one” said the prime minister’s office which still hopes for a complete deal to be reached by Thursday evening.

The remaining bone of contention is “the reduction of pensions,” a government source told AFP, after the coalition talks broke up.

Representatives of the EU, IMF and European Central Bank, which have been organising massive bailout loans for debt-laden Athens, went straight into talks with Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos after the eight-hour coalition talks ended, a government source told AFP.

The EU-IMF-ECB troika talks with Papademos were aimed at “concluding a deal before the Eurogroup meeting,” of eurozone finance ministers scheduled to take place in Brussels on Thursday.

Agreement on new measures demanded by the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank — known as the ‘troika’ — and on a debt-write down by banks would open the way for a second rescue and so close a key chapter in the eurozone crisis.

This money is vital to prevent eurozone member Greece from defaulting on 14.5 billion euros ($19.2 billion) worth of payments to bond holders which will fall due on March 20.

The socialist, conservative and far-right leaders must approve reported cuts to the minimum wage — strongly resisted by unions — in addition to pension reductions and 15,000 civil service redundancies.

Far-right leader Georgios Karatzaferis was the first to emerge from the coalition talks late Wednesday, denouncing the pressure which the troika of creditors was bringing to bear on the government for more painful cuts in public spending.

“I made clear my intentions right at the start of the meeting. I cannot in one hour sign up to a plan which will affect the country for 40 or 50 years with receiving (legal) assurances that the measures are going to get the country out of its impasse,” he told reporters.

According to Papademos’ office “Mr Karatzaferis expressed numerous reservations,” about the plan.

Conservative leader Antonis Samaras stressed that “talks will continue on the question of retirement.”

“At this difficult moment, we must take care of retirees,” he said.

The party heads earlier in the day received a 50-page text with the austerity cuts demanded in return for new loans under a 130-billion euro ($171-billion) eurozone bailout originally agreed in October.

The text was drawn up during a night of marathon talks between Papademos and representatives from the troika aimed at setting up a second rescue for Athens following an initial bailout worth 110 billion euros in May 2010.

Private creditors, who are negotiating with Greece a debt write-off worth at least 100 billion euros, are to meet on Thursday in Paris, according to a spokesman.

Greece has run up total debt of about 350 billion euros, roughly 160 percent of its gross domestic product, and the IMF has insisted that level be brought down to a maximum of 120 percent of GDP in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the ECB would participate in a writedown of Greece’s debt by agreeing “to exchange the government bonds it purchased in the secondary market last year at a price below face value, provided the debt-restructuring talks have a successful outcome.”

On bond markets, where tension has eased markedly since the beginning of the year, the reaction was subdued.

“Whether this turns out to be the good news that the market is currently expecting, or another short term rally followed by a painful pull back remains to be seen,” analyst Alistair Cotton said in a note.

“But there is reason to remain sceptical given the number of times over the last two years news about a Greek rescue deal moved the market in exactly the same way; euro positive on the rumour, retracement on the fact,” he said.

03 Februari 2012:
Breaking News
U.S. Payrolls Rise 243,000, Jobless Rate Drops to 8.3%
——————————————————
Yunani-Portugal Angkat Rupiah

Oleh: Ahmad Munjin
Pasar Modal – Kamis, 2 Februari 2012 | 16:56 WIB

INILAHCOM, Jakarta – Kurs rupiah di pasar spot valas antar bank Jakarta, Kamis (2/2) ditutup menguat 35 poin (0,38%) ke level 8.940/8.960 per dolar AS dari posisi kemarin 8.975/8.985.

Analis senior Monex Investindo Futures Zulfirman Basir mengatakan, penguatan rupiah hari ini salah satunya dipicu oleh harapan pasar terhadap pemulihan ekonomi global. Harapa ini muncul seiring membaiknya indikator manufaktur dari berbagai negara yang dirilis kemarin dari China, AS, dan Eropa.

Semalam, lanjut Firman, PMI Manufacturing Index AS dirilis mengalami kenaikan ke level 54,1 dari sebelumnya 53,9 meskipun lebih rendah dari prediksi 54,5. “Karena itu, sepanjang perdagangan rupiah mencapai level terkuatnya 8.870 dan 8.940 sebagai level terlemahnya dari posisi pembukaan di level yang sama, 8.940,” katanya kepada INILAH.COM, di Jakarta, Kamis (2/2).

Sebelumnya, kata Firman, PMI Manufacturing Index China dirilis di level 50,5 dari sebelumnya 50,3 atau di atas angka prediksi 49,5. Begitu juga dengan manufaktur Eropa yang secara keseluruhan dirilis naik jadi 48,8 dari sebelumnya 48,7 dan angka prediksi di level yang sama.

Begitu juga dengna indeks manufaktur Jerman yang dirilis naik di level 51 dari sebelumnya 50,9 dan prediksi di level yang sama (50,9). Manufaktur Inggris dirilis naik signifikan ke level 52,1 dari sbelumnya 49,7 dan prediksi 50.

Terlabih lagi, penguatan rupiah juga mendapat dukungan dari hasil lelang obligasi Portugal yang cukup bagus meskipun investor cemas dengan potensi Portugal mengikuti jejak Yunani seiring bailout yang kedua.

Dari lelang obligasi, Portugal berhasil meraup dana sebesar 1,5 miliar euro. Yield obligasi dengan tenor 6 bulan turun ke level 4,463% dari sebelumnya 4,74%. “Ini merupakan penurunan angka yang signifikan sehingga berpengaruh positif ke market,” timpal Firman.

Di sisi lain, kata dia, ada harapan Yunani dapat mencapai kesepakatan debt swap-nya dalam beberapa hari ke depan. “Terutama dengan rincian kesepakatan yang cukup mendekati keinginan Eropa meskipun tidak begitu positif bagi kreditor swasta,” tuturnya.

Berdasarkan rumor yang beredar, Firman memaparkan, para kreditor swasta sudah menyepakati yield obligasi Yunani yang mereka pegang sebesar 3,6% mendekatai keinginan Uni Eropa dan Athena sebesar 3,5%.

“Bunga ini sebenarnya cukup rendah bagi sektor swasta tapi tidak terlalu buruk mengingat bunga tersebut dapat meningkat kalau ekonomi Yunani bisa tumbuh. Tapi, dalam dua tahun ke depan, ekonomi Yunani belum akan pulih,” imbuhnya.

Alhasil, dolar AS turun terhadap mayoritas mata uang utama termasuk terhadap euro (mata uang gabungan negara-negara Eropa). Indeks dolar AS turun ke level 78,906 dari sebelumnya 78,922. “Terhadap euro, dolar AS ditransaksikan melemah ke level US$1,3152 dari sebelumnya US$1,3160 per euro,” imbuh Firman.

Keuangan Paling Awal Terkena Dampak Krisis
| Erlangga Djumena | Selasa, 31 Januari 2012 | 08:10 WIB

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com — Pertemuan Forum Ekonomi Dunia di Davos, Swiss, yang baru berlalu, memperkirakan, krisis utang zona euro dan krisis Amerika Serikat masih akan berlanjut hingga tahun depan. Badai krisis menghadang, bahkan bisa memengaruhi kondisi ekonomi dunia, termasuk Indonesia. Sektor keuangan dan perbankan yang paling cepat kena dampaknya.

Kepala Ekonom Bank Mandiri Destry Damayanti mengatakan, volatilitas sektor keuangan membuat perbankan dan keuangan di Indonesia akan mengalami dampak kuatnya krisis itu lebih awal. ”Bukan akibat sentimen, melainkan akibat ketatnya likuiditas,” kata Destry kepada Kompas di Jakarta, Senin (30/1/2012).

Selama beberapa waktu lalu, penyaluran kredit dalam dollar AS cukup agresif. Alasannya, kredit dollar AS lebih murah dengan biaya dana yang lebih rendah. Namun, nanti tidak akan seperti itu lagi karena likuiditas, khususnya dollar AS, sangat terbatas. ”Hal itu terutama bagi bank asing dan joint venture (usaha patungan) yang selama ini memperoleh dollar AS dari perusahaan induk,” papar Destry.

Dollar AS akan susah diperoleh. Bahkan, jika ada, nilai tukarnya akan tinggi. Akibatnya, suku bunga antarbank menjadi naik. Meski demikian, dana asing tetap akan mencari tempat investasi yang paling aman dengan imbal hasil lumayan. Indonesia, dengan peringkat layak investasi dari lembaga pemeringkat Fitch dan Moody’s, dinilai masih menjanjikan dan lebih baik ketimbang negara lain. ”Yang penting, pemerintah dan Bank Indonesia (BI) menjaga kepastian, termasuk nilai tukar rupiah dan Surat Utang Negara (SUN),” kata Destry.

Saat ini, menurut Destry, sekitar 30 persen SUN dimiliki asing. Di pasar saham, sekitar 65 persen kapitalisasi pasar dikuasai asing.

Akhir pekan lalu di Surabaya, Gubernur BI Darmin Nasution mengemukakan langkah BI untuk terus membangun dan menjaga kepercayaan pemilik dana terhadap Indonesia, misalnya mengenai surat berharga negara (SBN). ”Jika pasar SBN lebih baik, orang akan masuk ke pasar ritel dan investasi jangka panjang. Tidak akan berpikir ke deposito lagi,” kata Darmin.

Dengan mendorong SBN semakin baik, minat investor lokal untuk masuk pasar investasi obligasi akan semakin tinggi. Selanjutnya, hal itu akan mengurangi porsi asing pada SBN yang cukup tinggi, sekitar 30 persen. ”Porsi asing 30 persen itu cukup tinggi. Kalau di negara lain, porsi asing hanya sekitar 10-12 persen,” kata Darmin. (IDR)

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