Is Portugal going to be the new Greece?
A report for the Kiel Institute for the World Economy said Portugal would have to run a primary budget surplus of over 11pc of GDP a year to prevent debt dynamics spiralling out of control, even in a benign scenario of 2pc annual growth.”Portugal’s debt is unsustainable. That is the only possible conclusion,” said David Bencek, the co-author, warning that no country can achieve a primary budget surplus above 5pc for long. ”We won’t know what the trigger will be but once there is a decision on Greece people are going to start looking closely and realise that Portugal is the same position as Greece was a year ago.”
This suggests that an orderly Greek default will be followed by others. The buck, or if you prefer the Euro, doesn’t stop in Athens. And then the question is whether it stops in Lisbon? I doubt it – with Ireland, Spain, Italy, even Belgium, looking precarious and all possible candidates for default.