Debt crisis: Greek euro exit looms closer as banks crumble

Thursday, May 17, 2012
By Paul Martin

A tsunami of capital flight from Greece threatens to overwhelm the authorities, forcing the country out of the euro before fresh elections in June.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
TelegraphUK
16 May 2012

Economists warned that the Greek financial system could crumble within weeks or days unless the European Central Bank steps up support.

President Karolos Papoulias told party leaders that banks had lost €700m in withdrawals on Monday alone as citizens rush to pre-empt capital controls and a much-feared return to the Drachma.

He cited central bank warnings that “great fear” might soon escalate to panic. The leaked details lend credence to claims that capital flight by both savers and firms have reached €4bn a week since the triumph of anti-bailout parties on May 6.

Steen Jakobsen from Danske Bank said outflows are becoming unstoppable, not helped by open talk in EU circles of `technical’ plans for Greek withdrawal.

“This has a self-fulfilling prophecy built into it and I don’t think we can get to June. The fuse is burning and the only two options now are a controlled explosion where Germany steps in to ensure an orderly exit, or an uncontrolled explosion,” he said.

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