Greek stocks are crashing and austerity is tearing the country apart

Greece is getting slammed.

The benchmark ASE Index was down 6.7% at 2:50 p.m. Athens-time, according to data from Bloomberg.

Additionally, the Eurobank Ergasias SA, Piraeus Bank SA, and National Bank of Greece SA were all down more than 22%, according to to Bloomberg.

Moreover, Greek bonds are the second-worst performer in the euro area in 2016, according to Bloomberg.

The yield on the 10-year Greek rose to 10.01%, up by 0.45 percentage points.

Notably, right now Greece is currently struggling with two big, opposing issues:

  1. The government is negotiating with their international creditors over additional austerity measures such as pension reform. Investors are worried that these talks could get stalled yet again.
  2. The Greek people aren’t happy about the austerity push. So if the talks with the creditors are not stalled, the Greek government has to also figure out how to appease its people.

Regarding the creditors, last week, “representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the European Stability Mechanism left Athens after a week of talks … with no breakthrough in sight and date set for their return to complete yet another stalled bailout review,” reported Bloomberg’s Sofia Horta E Costa and Lukanyo Mnyanda.

And “with growing concern over global market turmoil and yet another stalled bailout review in Greece, investors are abandoning assets deemed riskier,” they wrote.

For what it’s worth, Greece expects the review of its bailout performance to conclude next week.

Screen Shot 2016 02 08 at 10.02.44 AMBloombergAthens Stock Exchange General Index, 1 day

The Greek government promised to cut pension spending by 1% of GDP this year. That’s about 1.8 billion euros, or nearly $2 billion worth.

In order to mitigate the negative effect on pensioners — who have already seen their pensions cut 11 times since 2010 — the government wants to increase social security contributions by employees and employers.

But the people aren’t too happy about this as they believe the new plan will “increase unemployment as the costs for hard-pressed businesses will go up and will force workers, mainly the self-employed, into tax evasion as it links social-security contributions to declared income,” reported Reuters.

(To get a refresher on Greece’s tax evasion problem, head over here.)

Additionally, farmers aren’t happy about “the abolition of tax breaks for agriculture by impeding highway traffic,” according to the WSJ’s Stelios Bouras.

Last week roughly 50,000 Greeks marched on the Parliament in central Athens protesting against austerity.

Things got ugly as some “black-clad youths” broke away from the main group of protesters and “hurled stones and petrol bombs at police officers, who responded with rounds of teargas and stun grenades,” according to Reuters.

In short, the Greek government is looking at a tough situation regardless of whether or not the talks with the IMF get stalled.

And investors aren’t feeling optimistic.

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