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My mistake in conflating these two:


Migeru: Apparently the accepted way to run the public finances is to continuously roll over debt. This is what Minsky called speculative finance (borrowing to pay principal, paying interest out of revenue).

As you pointed out here, too.

These are not the same.

As explained in Wikipedia.

The point is not to be right, but to get to right.

by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:04:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which one applies to the current Greek situation?

  • for hedge finance, income flows are expected to meet financial obligations in every period, including both the principal and the interest on loans.
  • for speculative finance, a firm must roll over debt because income flows are expected to only cover interest costs. None of the principal is paid off.
  • for Ponzi finance, expected income flows will not even cover interest cost, so the firm must borrow more or sell off assets simply to service its debt. The hope is that either the market value of assets or income will rise enough to pay off interest and principal.

Financial crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 03:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Take Greece's 125% Debt-to-GDP. At 5% annual interest, that's under 7% of GDP in interest payments. That can be paid out of government revenue so we can assume Greece is not engaging in Ponzi finance. Not all of Greece's debt pays that interest since some of it was issued before 2007 when the yield the market demanded for its bonds was lower.

As for paying the principal, we get Munchau's 20% of GDP for debt service is we assume about 10% of Greece's bonds mature each year (13% GDP for principal plus 7% GDP for interest).

"Rolling your debt" means issuing a new batch of bonds to pay the principal on maturing bonds. That's speculative finance. It means Greece would issue maybe 15% of GDP each year in order to pay the bonds maturing that year.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 19th, 2010 at 04:40:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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