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The Greek financial crisis: growing imbalances and sovereign spreads


  • Heather D. Gibson

    () (Bank of Greece)

  • Stephan G. Hall

    (University of Leicester)

  • George S. Tavlas

    () (Bank of Greece)


We discuss the origins of the Greek financial crisis as manifested in the growing fiscal and current-account deficits since euro-area entry in 2001. We then provide an investigation of spreads on Greek relative to German long-term government debt. Using monthly data over the period 2000 to 2010, we estimate a cointegrating relationship between spreads and their long-term fundamental determinants (including a measure of the fiscal situation, competitiveness of the Greek economy, economic activity and oil prices, reflecting the high dependence of the Greek economy on imported energy) and compare the spreads predicted by this estimated relationship with actual spreads. We find that spreads were significantly below what would be predicted by fundamentals from end-2004 up to the middle of 2005; by contrast, since May 2010, actual spreads have exceeded predicted spreads by some 400 basis points.

Suggested Citation

  • Heather D. Gibson & Stephan G. Hall & George S. Tavlas, 2011. "The Greek financial crisis: growing imbalances and sovereign spreads," Working Papers 124, Bank of Greece.
  • Handle: RePEc:bog:wpaper:124

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Greek financial crisis; sovereign spreads;

    JEL classification:

    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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