MAY 16, 2012 11:50AM

One Sure Consequence of Greek Exit From Euro:Cheap Vacations

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A "Cheap Greek Vacation" is the one totally guaranteed consequence of a Greek exit from the Eurozone, now more likely it would seem like, given the ongoing and significant depositor withdrawals(more than $800 million in three days) from Greek banks by those who already haven't run to the exits ($8 billion total to date) on the Greeks staying in the Eurozone as to currency.

Longer run, commodities investors should like this too, as competitive devaluations are the real likely contagion effect of all this, whether other countries exit the Euro or not, and all in a race to "beggar thy neighbor, since to devalue currency generally raises the price of its alternatives, which are commodities in general, ceteris paribus.

Although it's likely to be a negative adverse fiscal shock to Greece permanently (See "hysteresis effect" or debt intolerance in This Time is Different), as interest rates on sovereign debt in countries that default tend to be higher permanently, there are some plus sides, one of which again is a sure  tourism boom in Greece.

Greek assets in general would be cheap should they exit the Euro, and of course those Greeks that ran to the exits first have Euros to come back in and buy things, in which that would be a form of redistribution common in hyperinflations, in which the good investors are the ones that know when the jig is up and bail on the currency.

There will almost surely be a tourism boom in Greece, because if they leave the Euro, the drachma will be a joke of a currency for a good while, and a little bit permanently.

No one will lend long term in drachmas without it being tied to a nominal anchor of some form or another, probably inducing something of a permanent borrowing premium for the Greeks, if they get a one off shot on expropriating their creditors now, also a bad side of this for creditors in the international system as a whole, although it might well be good for equity holders, as more money printing lately has gone to equity.

But as to the one sure upside of a Greek exit, tourism is very large component of Greek GDP, over 14 per cent.

If as is likely in the event of leaving the Euro, the drachma trades at what would amount to at least a fifty per cent discount to current relative pricing relationships with respect to European goods, everything in Greece will look cheap compared to the entire world, especially staying there.

There being no free lunches in life, Greeks will need a lot of visitors, because relative prices of imports to Greece will explode in the event of leaving the Euro, although such a thing tends to stimulate domestic production too. That's what happened in Russia in 1998, and although you wouldn't want people to do it all the time, in non-functioning systems, it can be thre right thing one could argue, as to just ripping a bandaid off, letting the blood flow in the streets a little bit, maybe, and then people adapt catch as catch can, but no more speculation and just hope for the best.

Of course, if it's like the thirties and there are "beggar thy neighbor" devaluations by the inflationists across Europe especially and the whole international system, then commodities investors will be happy too, especially over the long haul.

In the end, if the Greek political system can't create a budget with Germanic-like efficiency, it can't do that, and one must live with what the world is, rather than what many European integrationist had hoped, which is that the Germans would be a good fiscal influence on the Greeks.

There being not many free lunches in life as to getting things for nothing, should the Greeks go ahead and exit the Euro, they will not escape some reliable currency as a nominal anchor, since to lend in pure drachmas after all of this would be regarded as about as speculative as lending in Iraqi Dinars was at the height of the civil war in 2005-06.

Then again, Dinar investors who stayed in for the long run didn't do too badly.

But to leave the Euro after all this would make Greece something like Iraq in a civil war as to a highly speculative investment, if again, the one thing you know for sure is that Greek vacations and property might be about to go on a firesale, as one would think would government debt is about to become signficantly cheaper over time too, as one devaluation tends to beget another devaluation.

But then again, if political systems can't reach accords they can't reach accords, and as to the good news, a great place to visit may well be about to get a whole lot cheaper.

And also on the brighter side of things, financial markets don't like uncertainty. Every other day, financial markets are roiled by talk of "what's next for Greece?"

If they actually leave, there won't be anything to talk about save how the ouzo tasted at the beachclub last night, which might well be the best medicine, especially if you are a creditor of governments most anywhere.

finis

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The next Greek election, for June 17, will probably result in another stalemate. So some kind of military national unity government will probably result, a return to the time of the Colonels, and everyone will panic, the Greek banks are right now being drained of capital by anxious depositors, so the implosion of Greece, followed by Spain, etc. will usher in an age of Neo-Rightist Semi-Fascists who will put the unemployed youth to useful infrastructure work, in Youth Battalions, and businesses will be marched into line for an Age of National Renewal, of a new National Socialism. The stupid neo-liberal debt and financial manipulation obsessed conventional Middle of the Political Spectrum cannot hold. Oh, this will coincide with the Israeli strike on Iran, only 4-5 weeks away now...pray for war...wink
Donny, I also just read your posts on Israel's formation and the Saudi GCC move. Of course the Saudis are in collusion with the Israelis, intensifying preparations for the strike. The Saudi Royal family must now be in constant communication with theIsraeli government. The Israeli 'strike package' will be flying along the northern Saudi border and I bet they will land to be refuelled at one of the remote Saudi airbases there, close to the Persian Gulf. Saudi F-15s will be flying escort, and top cover protection for the Israeli strike package and a Saudi AWACs will be controlling this part of the Israeli sortie. I bet Saudi and Israli Air Force officers have been training together these last few months in complete secrecy. Saudis will also be flying SAR missions for Israeli pilots with battle damage who manage to limp back over the western part of the Gulf and/or into Saudi territory. The Saudis know the Iranians are going to blame them anyway and retalliate by at least ginning up Shia militancy in the Saudi oil fields so the Saudi leaders have probably decided to support Israel maximally to at least ensure the strike on the nuke facilities has the highest chance of success. Like you said, when the momentum to war broaches certain critical points the interested parties only want to get that first punch in with maximum efficacy. Say goodbye to the World We Have Known. Ain't this exciting?...wink
I've always wanted to see Greece.
Of course a return to a military administration of some kind in Greece will not happen immediately. It will take a hot summer of discontent and mounting civil disorder to exhaust the Greek public and persuade them that a government of National Restoration, led by a charismatic military leader is the one option left for some degree of national stability.