Greece will default on its debt and Portugal and Ireland are likely to suffer the same fate, said Martin Feldstein, former president of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“Eventually, we will see a default in Greece, we probably will see a default in Portugal and Ireland. I hope we’re not going to see one in Spain or Italy,” Feldstein, who served as chief economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan said on Bloomberg Television’s “In Business” with Margaret Brennan.
“What we’re witnessing is a conflict between the European Central Bank, that has basically said ‘we won’t deal with bonds that are in default,’ and the rating agencies that are saying virtually anything that’s done will cause them to trigger a default status,” Feldstein said.
European leaders are working on a plan to rescue Greece from a possible default that could reach $85 billion euros ($120 billion) and may involve support from private lenders. The effects of Greece’s debt crisis have already spread to other countries. Moody’s Investors Service cut Ireland to junk on July 12, a week after lowering Portugal to below investment grade.
“If you were to ask, my best guess is that the ECB will give in,” Feldstein said. “In the end, that they will say that sovereign bonds of Greece — no matter whether there’s a technical default or not — are going to be acceptable as collateral,” Feldstein, 71, a Harvard University economics professor said. “Once that happens, then the pieces can fall together to make that deal work.”
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