The Sovereign Default Dominos Are Falling In Europe
July 24, 2012
Europe appears to be dismembering. We see Spanish yields breaking well above 7%. The Spanish government bond market is essentially closed to private investors. The only funding for Spain, and many of its political subdivisions, is now institutional and governmental from elsewhere in the eurozone.
The sovereign default process in Europe resembles falling dominoes. It started with Greece and has moved on to Ireland (which appears to be attempting resuscitation on its own), Portugal, Cyprus, and now Spain. The danger is that this sequential toppling of countries may be accelerating.
Remember that the eurozone consists of 17 separate entities. Germany is by far the largest. France is number two, Italy number three. Spain is (or perhaps was) number four, at about 12% of the total weight.
Each time a domino falls, the member state requires assistance from the remaining member states. When Greece fell into financial disarray and then failure, the other 16 states had to provide the subsidy. When Ireland fell, there were 15. Portugal made it 14. Cyprus made it 13. Now Spain leaves 12 remaining.