Countries across world gird for Greece turmoil

Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:53am EDT
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By Leika Kihara and Emma Thomasson

TOKYO/ZURICH (Reuters) - The threat of turmoil sweeping across global markets next week if Greece's election prompts a panicky flight of money from the euro zone has policymakers from Beijing to Zurich preparing to protect their currencies and economies from an unwelcome influx.

Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan is among the most vociferous, dangling the threat on Thursday of imposing capital controls to stop the Swiss franc from soaring as a result of investors seeking the currency's relative safety.

"The SNB will not tolerate this," he said bluntly.

Switzerland is not alone. The Bank of Japan is prioritizing market stability, according to one source, with economists saying the bank's main concern would be to stop the yen taking off.

Intervention would be a likely response should the yen rise too high for the authorities' taste. With G20 leaders meeting in Mexico next week there is even speculation of a coordinated global response although no evidence of that has emerged so far.

India has a range of crisis management groups within the government set up to deal with euro zone-triggered financial stress, according to Kaushik Basu, the finance minister's chief economic adviser.

In China, key agencies including the central bank, have been asked to come up with similar plans, sources said last week. Measures may include keeping the yuan steady and stepping up policies to stabilize the economy, they said.

The big concern for all these countries - and others across Europe and the Americas - is that a victory on Sunday by parties in Greece opposed to austerity attached to its second bailout will send the euro zone further into crisis by pushing the country towards the currency bloc's exit door.   Continued...

Swiss National Bank (SNB) Chairman Thomas Jordan speaks to the media during a news conference in Bern June 14, 2012. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich