First came Greece. Next was Ireland. Next up may be Portugal.
Portugal under pressure to seek EU/IMF aid
Pressure is growing on Portugal from Germany, France and other euro zone countries to seek financial help from the EU and IMF to stop the bloc’s debt crisis from spreading, a senior euro zone source said on Sunday.
Some preliminary discussions on the possibility of Portugal asking for help if its financing costs on markets become too high have taken place since July, the source said.
No formal talks on aid have started yet, a number of euro zone sources said, but the pressure was rising in the Eurogroup, which brings together euro zone finance ministers.
“France and Germany have indicated in the context of the Eurogroup that Portugal should apply for help sooner rather than later,” the senior source said, adding Finland and the Netherlands had expressed similar views.
The article continues that Portugal and Germany are denying all the above, but then points out that this was the case before Ireland got its bailout. The article then returns to reality.
The growing pressure on Lisbon follows a sharp rise in Portuguese 10-year bond yields at the end of last week to euro lifetime highs above 7 percent, as investors worried about the prospect of up to 1.25 billion euros of bond supply it will offer at an auction on Wednesday.
The yield of five-year Portuguese bonds on the secondary market is 6.43 percent and 10-year paper trades at 7.26 percent. Economists say a key question for Portugal is how long it can sustain the high yield levels, and the auction will be an important gauge of that.
Portugal and the EU can fight reality for only so long. In all likelihood, the bond market will force Portugal to get help. And then it will force Spain and Italy to do so. Belgium may also need help if they can’t form a government. With the at-risk economies slowing due to austerity and countries like Germany and France giving free money to them, even those countries will be in economic trouble.
How long will Germany and France give away their money to others instead of saving it for themselves? How much longer will the Euro last?