By Yann Toullec
Don’t be fooled: Enthusiasm about the euro will not last long. Although all the parties involved in the financial rescue of Greece seemed to have struck an agreement on an aid package, no remedy has been found for the two-speed European economy and the long-term effect on the European currency should be felt soon.
First, Greece has already failed once to meet the financial targets it agreed on last year. Considering the increased political pressure the Greek government is facing and the recent cuts in Greek banks' ratings, there is no reason to believe that Greece will be able to satisfy the severe bailout conditions imposed by European leaders this year. Also, keep in mind that this is only the first symptom of the euro zone’s bailout mania, and that when the Greek chapter closes in a few weeks, other candidates seeking financial help will be waiting: Portugal, where upcoming elections will be crucial for economic reforms, and Spain, with its unemployment records that recently led to week-long protests.
There is no reason to be confident in the euro until European leaders agree on tackling the problem at its roots. These successive bailouts are just short-term solutions to problems that need wider and deeper structural changes in the European economy, and the tense climate that has surrounded the debates on the Greek issue over the past weeks is just a sign that there is little hope the euro zone will get any better in the medium- and long-term unless the European leadership and decision-making process change.
How would the economy react if one of the PIIGS, such as Greece or Portugal, has a contained default? Here is what that scenario might look like.
I used the HiddenLevers risk management tools to find potential hedges for a Greek default. Here are some plays that show solid inverse correlation with the euro over the past month: Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE:H), Glimcher Realty Trust (GRT), and Unisys Corporation (NYSE:UIS).
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.