9 Apr 2010

Markets hit by Greek debt fears

8:58 am on 9 April 2010

European financial markets have been hit by renewed fears over the state of Greece's debt-ridden economy.

Banking stocks in Greece and other European countries have seen sharp falls.

Meanwhile the Greek government's cost of borrowing has risen to record levels on the bond markets.

Greece has debts of nearly 300 billion euros ($US407 billion), and is currently running a budget deficit equivalent of 12.7% of GDP.

Its recovery plan involves borrowing on the bond markets and a harsh programme of spending cuts and higher taxes.

But interest rates demanded by investors on Greek government bonds hit a new high on Thursday compared with German debt - which has the lowest rate in the Eurozone.

Greek banking shares were also hit. National Bank of Greece was down 5.5% by mid afternoon, with Eurobank nearly 10% lower at one stage.

The BBC reports banks in France and Germany were also hit due to their exposure to Greece.

Societe Generale was the biggest faller by mid-afternoon, losing 3.5% of its share price. Commerzbank lost 2.8%.

Market details

Share markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt each fell about 1%. However, stocks on Wall Street edged up.

The Dow Jones Index was up 29 points, or 0.3%, to 10,927 on Thursday.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 6 points, or 0.2%, to 2,436.

Brent crude oil was trading at $US82.59 per barrel and gold was trading at $US1152 per ounce.