Old Man Europe's contagion spreading in spite of (or maybe because of) Europe's best efforts to extend and pretend

Via Reuters:
Even if, as seems likely, Dublin accepts an international rescue after more face-saving words, analysts increasingly doubt that will stop contagion spreading to fellow weakling Portugal and, more ominously, perhaps to the much larger Spain.

"In practice, hopes that Ireland can be 'ring-fenced' are unlikely to succeed," Citi economists Juergen Michels, Giada Giani and Michael Saunders wrote in a note to clients.

In what can become a self-sustaining frenzy, investors bid up the borrowing costs of troubled countries on the bond market until they reach an unsustainable level when a government needs to raise money or roll over expiring debt.

The European Union stemmed the first wave of debt crisis in May with "shock and awe" tactics by rescuing Greece along with the International Monetary Fund and creating a $1 trillion financial safety net for other euro zone states in distress.

Six months later, the deterrent effect of the 440 billion euro (£375 billion) European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), the main component of that contingency fund, which EU officials said they believed would never need to be used, seems to have worn off.


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