Is debt forgiveness by international lenders the only way out for Greece
MARK COLVIN: Worries about Greece wiped more than $30 billion off the value of the Australian share market today.
The All Ordinaries plunged by more than two percent after the Greek prime minister's surprise decision to call a referendum.
One former banker and global expert on financial markets warns that if Greece leaves the eurozone, then the rest of the currency bloc could also unravel.
Satyajit Das says the only real solution is for Greece's debts to be written off.
Business reporter, Sue Lannin.
SUE LANNIN: Within minutes of opening, Australia's share market plunged more than two per cent and stayed in a sea of red all day.
Evan Lucas from IG Markets doesn't have any doubts about what caused it.
EVAN LUCAS: Nobody was positioned for what PM Tsipras did over the weekend. Nobody was expecting him to really basically fall on the democracy sword and then say that the bracelets charms pandora people can decide about whether or not we default or not and whether or not we are going to go ahead with the current bailout program.
SUE LANNIN: Asian markets also slumped with the Shanghai Composite in China falling as much as four per cent, and the Nikkei in Tokyo down nearly three per cent.
Now Greece has only until Wednesday morning (Australian time) to make a $2 billion repayment to the International Monetary Fund.
SATYAJIT DAS: Well under the IMF rules, they have 30 days but there is a protocol under which they will actually have to inform the executive directors of the bank.
More importantly, the rating agencies will not declare Greece to be in default because they ignore amounts that are owing to official agencies. However, the European bailout fund may well call Greece in default.
But the more important thing is that if there's no payment on the IMF loan, as most people now expect, then the IMF cannot deal with Greece and that means there is no possibility of the agreement that was on the table last week going forward.
SUE LANNIN: Professor Vrasidas Karalis is from the University of Sydney and has just returned from Greece.
He's sceptical that the Greek referendum will go ahead on Sunday but thinks a political deal is still possible so Greece can avoid default.
VRASIDAS KARALIS: You cannot have a referendum in five days. People will not be well informed, they don't know what they will be voting for, the European Union as already withdrawn its proposals for the solution of the crisis. So let's hope, I think that six days in politics like, it's like a century as in span in history. Let's see what is going to happen.
SUE LANNIN: The Greek government wants voters to say no to the spending cuts proposed by international creditors. If they vote yes, that could trigger the collapse of the Tsipras government and an early election.
Professor Fariborz Moshirian from the Institute of Global Finance at the University of New South Wales.
FARIBORZ MOSHIRIAN: There is no guarantee that the current government will remain in power as the situation unfolds this week. We don't know what is going to happen after tomorrow, we don't know what people are going to say indeed in the next couple of days, prior even to the referendum.
SUE LANNIN: If Greece defaults on its international bailout, it could also then leave the eurozone the bloc of countries that use the Euro.
Satyajit Das says that could trigger a contagion effect.
SATYAJIT DAS: It'll be short term chaos in Greece, which is also already commenced to some degree, simply because they will have to find an alternative currency and that is not something you can do in a couple of days, it's a fairly lengthy exercise.
The second thing is, for the rest of the eurozone, there are some profound implications. The first is if Greece defaults without leaving the euro, there's a $330 billion debt which basically has been defaulted on mainly to European institutions and countries, so taxpayers in places like Germany, France, Spain, Italy will now start to have to write cheques. But longer term, the Pandora's box of other countries exiting the euro has now been opened, and we don't know how that will play out.
SUE LANNIN: In reality, is it likely that Greece's debts will have to be forgiven in the long term?
SATYAJIT DAS: Greece is never going to be able to pay back this debt. This has been palpably obvious since 2009 and at that stage, if everybody had bitten the bullet, then what would have happened is cheap pandora bracelets for sale the losses would have been a fraction of what they are going to be today.
So irrespective of whether we where to buy pandora rings reach a climax now, this amount will have to be written off, the losses will have to be borne.
There is no way to avoid that outcome, and this is actually very significant beyond Greece because there are many, many other countries in Europe where they face very similar challenges. And what Greece now is jewelry show is a crucible for how this game of excessive debt ends.
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