Greece’s Debt and Who’s on the Hook in a Default [Chart]

Greece's Debt and Who's on the Hook in a Default [Chart]

Greece’s Debt and Who’s on the Hook in a Default

The Chart of the Week is a weekly feature in Visual Capitalist on Fridays.

Somebody has been irresponsibly running up their tab at the bar. At first, friends had been covering the drinks. Then, they had cautioned this person to cut back but to no avail. Now, it’s last call, the lights are on, and someone has to foot the bill.

That somebody is Greece, and most signals are pointing to a dine-and-dash.

The Economist is calling a Grexit “almost inevitable”, even as Alexis Tsipras seeks an interim deal today with Germany’s Merkel in Riga. It’s becoming less of a matter of “if” Greece defaults on its debt, but more a matter of “when”.

Greece's debt burden

The real question is what happens if such a default occurs. This previous infographic goes into the possibilities and it is not pretty. Greece currently owes European countries €52.9B of bilateral debt, the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) is owed €141.8B in emergency loans, the ECB holds €27B of tradeable bonds, and €67.5B of bonds are held by private investors.

Who hurts the most if Greece defaults? Bloomberg’s economist Maxime Sbaihi has a great breakdown that looks at exposure to Greek debt by its individual creditors as a percentage of GDP and in total euros.

Exposure to Greek debt

As a percentage of GDP, Germany is surprisingly not taking on as much risk as Spain, Italy, and France.

However, since Spain and Italy have not been the most responsible patrons themselves, this could pose a real contagion problem if they are the ones sitting at the table when Greece leaves the bar.


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