The recently bailed-out Greek government said Monday it's turned a corner in its debilitating debt crisis, getting public spending under control though a combination of wage and pension cuts, increased tax collection, and greater efficiency. Those measures have cut Greece's budget deficit by 42 percent since January, the finance ministry says. "Greece is successfully escaping the reef of economic collapse," says government spokesman George Petalotis. Could Greece really be back on track so soon?
Greece just might pull this off: It looks like the reports of "Greece's inevitable fiscal death are somewhat exaggerated," says Michael Heise in The Wall Street Journal. Its deficit "slashing" is "proceeding faster than planned," and although its targets for 2011 are "not ambitious enough," Greece is heading into manageable fiscal waters that other nations, in worse shape, have entered safely after similar austerity programs.
"Greece isn't lost, yet"
Don't get too cheery: Greece's shrinking economy will sink its recovery efforts, and a sovereign debt default is "inevitable," say Bank of Korea economists Noh Jin Young, Lim Choon Sung, and Chae Min Sok, in Bloomberg. By 2013, Greece's debt will simply be at unsustainable levels. The default may not be imminent, but when it hits, watch out for "major chaos" in global markets.
"Bank of Korea researchers say Greece default is 'inevitable'"
It's on a bumpy path, but the right one: Greece is facing "an unprecedented and Herculean task," but not an impossible one, says Nick Skrekas in WSJ's The Source. A lot rests on what happens in this "make-or-break week," though. If the ruling socialist government can push through "very unpopular and tough" austerity measures, bucking a public-sector strike, lawmaker defections, and court challenges, Greece has reason to feel "more optimistic than ever."
"Greek budget on track, but tough week ahead"