Greece has a long history in the shipping industry, which continues until today. A couple years ago, when the shipping boom was going full-on, things were great. So good that the heirs of shipping magnates, like Stavros Niarchos, were dating American celebrities, like Paris Hilton. But with the industry collapsing, Greece may be the most vulnerable EU economy. That’s evident from the yields on Greek bonds, which are appreciably larger than equivalents in Italy and Germany:
Telegraph: Shipping specialists say the Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC provide the lion’s share of loans for both the bulk goods and tanker fleets, exposing these two banks to further potential losses.
Greek shipping families control a third of the global freight market for bulk goods, with operations split between London and Pireaus.
Mr Pryce said Greek banks had expanded rapidly in the Balkan region and Turkey, with heavy exposure to Serbia and Macedonia. “They saw this as a growth region, but they may be thinking differently about it now,” he said.
Michael Klawitter, a credit strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort, said the market flight from Greek bonds marked a dangerous moment for the euro. “There has been a massive widening of spreads. We are no longer having a theoretical discussion about the viability of monetary union. People are really concerned for the first time,” he said.