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Iceland downgraded to junk as it heeds 70% of the electorate on Icesave debt

Iceland downgraded to junk as it heeds 70% of the electorate on Icesave debt

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

Iceland, Jokulsarlon Lagoon with icebergs

The latest piece of big news in the sovereign debt crisis comes, remarkably, from Iceland. The country collapsed into depression after its experiment as an open economy with a large banking sector went pear shaped.

After a debt-fuelled boom and a huge influx of hot money due to high interest rates, its currency and banks collapsed under a fleeing of foreign money and huge losses. The government nationalized the bank’s debt only to find the banks were too big to bail. The Icelanders rioted on the streets, a sovereign crisis ensued, and the government was toppled.

Iceland was rescued and it seemed all was well. They was even talk of fast-tracking Iceland into the EU. Then, suddenly, the population balked at the prospect of bailing out the banks. Now, the sovereign debt crisis is on again. At issue is Icesave, an Icelandic bank that operated in the UK and the Netherlands whose bust caused great hardship amongst British and Dutch savers who were attracted by high interest rates.

See the video below on why Fitch is now downgrading the country’s debt status to junk despite the lack of immediate liquidity concerns.

I think this is big news and have a number of sources on this story below. Watch the Dutch and British stories for signs of European tensions as this is where the affected Icesave savers reside. The FT headline says it all. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s commentary is the most comprehensive and balanced in my view. The Norwegian headline, on the other hand, is “Iceland not on the verge of collapse” in huge typeface. The fault lines are definitely opening in Europe. I will discuss this later on the latest story on Greece and the likelihood of EU help.

Sources

Reykjavik warned of political isolation – FT

Iceland can refuse debt servitude – FT

Iceland faces crisis after Icesave rejection – Reuters

Iceland leader vetoes bank repayments bill – BBC News

Iceland’s president blocks £2.3bn Icesave deal to compensate the UK – Telegraph

Angry Iceland defies the world – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Icelanders to vote on whether to repay UK over bank bailout – Guardian

Poll: Should Iceland be forced to pay? – Guardian

President IJsland verwerpt Icesave-akkoord – NRC Handelsblad

IJsland isoleert zich met veto Icesave-akkoord – NRC Handelsblad

IJsland houdt referendum over omstreden Icesave-akkoord – Financieele Dagblad

Island ikke på randen av kollaps – E24

Islands hårde krise – Berlingske Tidene

Islands parlament hasteindkaldes – Berlingske Tidene

Les Islandais consultés sur le remboursement de la dette – Figaro

 


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