Portugal is the new Greece
Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday became the first rating agency to cut Portugal below investment grade, causing the 10-year Portuguese government bond yield to leap more than 1 percentage point to euro-era highs.
The agency cited worries that administrative problems and slow economic growth might prevent the Portuguese government from hitting ambitious targets to shrink its budget deficit over the next three years under a 78 billion euro international bailout.
But Moody’s also said efforts by the European Union to have private investors bear part of the burden of supporting Greece, through a “voluntary” rollover of maturing Greek debt, threatened investor confidence in Portugal as well.
If investors believe the EU may follow the Greek model and pressure them into bearing part of the cost of future aid to Portugal, they may become less willing to lend to Lisbon, reducing the chance that it can resume borrowing from markets in 2013 as planned, Moody’s said.
Saner heads in Europe are sounding the alarm:
Government bureaucrats in centralized Euro-capitals, picking winners and losers in a so-called free market never works.