Sunday’s vote in Greece – with over 60% of the public saying “no” to European creditors – means a line has been crossed. The odds of Greece eventually exiting the euro have gone from something less than 50% to something more than 50%.
Markets are down as a result, but hardly panicked. To understand why, take a look at this chart prepared by Peter Vanham of the World Economic Forum showing how the ownership of Greece’s debt has changed in the last three years. European governments, the IMF and the ECB now own three quarters of that debt, and they can create all the money they need to cover it. That means this crisis isn’t really an economic crisis at all – it’s a political one.
Except in Greece. There, the economic effects are very real. Banks will have to remain closed until either the ECB provides more credit – which is unlikely, absent an agreement – or the Greeks come up with some sort of alternative to the euro – a proto-drachma. A very messy and painful time ahead, regardless of the outcome.
Oh yes, and Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, resigned. That’s a good thing for the world, but a bad thing for journalists. Varoufakis has been the source of endless irritation to European ministers and endless diversion for scribes – crediting Marx for framing his world view, comparing the European Union to the Hotel California, and quoting Dylan Thomas to describe Greek politics. “I wear the creditors’ loathing with pride,” he said in his resignation statement.
With July 4th fireworks still ringing in our ears, it’s probably worth remembering that the architects of democracy never intended for tough decisions to get punted to the public. The Greek vote was an abdication of leadership – which is why it didn’t solve anything.
Enjoy the day.
• Greece “No” vote rattles markets
A vote by Greeks to reject austerity measures demanded in return for bailout money sent European stock markets lower on Monday, though an outright panic has yet to unfold as a lot of questions remain about Greece’s place in the single euro currency. “This doesn’t feel anywhere near as scary as when Italian and Spanish yields were trading well north of 7% a few years back” said a Deutsche Bank strategist. Fortune
• Greece finance minister resigns
While on the topic of Greece, another big update to come from the developing story is the resignation of the nation’s controversial finance minister as a way to build bridges with Europe after hurting those ties for much of last week. All eyes are focused now on Paris, where French President Francois Hollande is due to receive German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks. Fortune
• Aetna-Humana rush to merge first
The $34.1 billion tie-up between Aetna and Humana that was announced on Friday afternoon was a move by the companies to be first among the biggest insurers to unite in hopes antitrust regulators would be more likely to sign off on the deal. There was worries that rivals Anthem and Cigna had rekindled talks, and if both of those deals were presented, the nation’s big five insurance companies would be asking the U.S. government for permission to whittle down to three. WSJ (subscription required)
• China halts stock slide (for now)
China’s key stock indexes stabilized on Monday after the nation over the weekend unveiled rescue measures meant to halt a $3.2 trillion slide that has occurred the past three weeks on concern leveraged traders are liquidating bets. Measures by China included a collective pledge by top brokerages and fund managers to invest billions into stocks, though some strategists say it is too early to judge if government intervention will stabilize the market permanently. Reuters
Around the Water Cooler
• Facebook: The animal kingdom king
As Facebook is starting to unroll its new “Instant Articles” feature, which allows the likes of the New York Times and Buzzfeed to “publish” articles right within the social media firm’s app, a lot of questions remain if this is a good ides. Fortune points to one image that points to the annual revenue of Facebook, some traditional media names and one upstart to signify the risks of this sort of partnership for media companies. Fortune
• Expensive steaks are here to stay
A drought that has stung the biggest beef-producing provinces have left Canada, the world’s seventh-largest exporter, with its smallest herd in 22 years. With cattle supplies so tight, meat plants are running at low capacity and are being forced to pay a premium for animals to slaughter. As a result, retail prices are spiking. And some analysts say tight supplies could continue for the next four to six years, which also hints at trouble in the U.S., where Canada exports more than a third of its cattle and beef. Bloomberg
• “Buy” buttons lure mobile shoppers
Though Americans spend close to three hours of each day staring at their mobile phone (unrelated: this statistic is horrifying), it is interesting to note that a vast majority of their online shopping still occurs through desktop and laptop computers, which have larger screens that make it easier to browse and type in credit card information. But several companies are trying to bridge the gap with a simple “buy” button. Their hope? Make it easier for smartphone users to shop. New York Times (subscription required)
5 things to know this week
Greece fallout, the Fed, and Pepsi — 5 things to know this week. This week’s story can be found here.