Euro break-up risk ‘falls by two thirds’ since Draghi pledge

Survey of 888 investors shows one in four foresee at least one state quitting the 17-nation bloc

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi pledged last July to do ‘whatever it takes’ to save the euro. Photograph:  Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi pledged last July to do ‘whatever it takes’ to save the euro. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


The number of investors who think a country will leave the euro zone soon has dropped by two thirds in the year since the head of the bloc’s central bank promised to safeguard the currency, a survey published today shows.

The July poll of 888 investors by German research group Sentix showed 23.75 per cent of participants foresaw at least one state quitting the 17-nation bloc within the next year.

Last July’s euro break-up index reading was 73 per cent.

That survey coincided with the pledge by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro.

“The fears of investors, which were expressed in that high July 2012 figure, prompted Draghi to go on the offensive and the index fell significantly in the months after his announcement, so you can see it had a real effect,” said Manfred Huebner, managing director of Sentix.

However, economic stresses in the euro zone remain significant. Sentix’s most recent breakup reading rose slightly from June and the risk of contagion hit a record high.

Mr Draghi gave his message of support last July as Spain and Italy faced rising pressure on financial markets and Greece held fraught meetings with international lenders after failing to stick to economic targets set under its bailout.

His promise calmed investors and led six weeks later to the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme, under which the ECB conditionally offered to buy unlimited amounts of bonds from struggling states. The OMT programme has yet to be tapped.

A political crisis in Portugal and concerns about possible snap elections there drove the Sentix index on euro zone break-up around 4 percentage points on the month in July. The percentage of investors expecting the country to leave the euro zone doubled from 2.66 per cent in June to 5.38 per cent.

Sentix also said the risk of contagion hit an all-time peak of 43.55 per cent.

“If investors were worried especially about Greece in July 2012, we have Cyprus since March 2013 and now, with Portugal, (there are) three states that hang in the balance should push come to shove,” Sentix said in a statement.


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