The unresolved Eurozone debt crisis has been compounded by the violent protests this week in Greece and Spain, although ETFs tracking the two countries rebounded somewhat Thursday after sliding earlier in the week.
“Protests against austerity turned violent in Spain and Greece on Tuesday and Wednesday, fulfilling the prophecies of many economists. Tuesday’s protests in Madrid resulted in several injuries as police scuffled with angry demonstrators. The events underscored the uncertainty about effective resolution of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis,” John Burke wrote on Wall St Sector Selector.
The Global X FTSE Greek 20 ETF (NYSEArca: GREK) along with the iShares MSCI Spain Index (NYSEArca: EWP) have traded higher in September after the European Central Bank announced further stimulus measures. [ETF Chart of the Day: Spain]
Spanish protestors were pressuring their government to scale back on austerity measures similar to the manner that Portugal has withdrawn a planned tax increase as a result of demonstrators. In Greece, public and private sector workers were striking in Athens violently, in response to Catalonia proceeding with a referendum on the issue of whether to secede from Spain, reports Burke. [ETF Spotlight: Single-Country Funds]
“Earlier this month, the European Central Bank announced its intention to buy unlimited quantities of debt from European nations, including the troubled economies of southern Europe. That kept the peace in the financial markets until Wednesday, when political instability startled investors, with the Spanish stock market dropping 3.9% and even the German DAX falling by 2%,” Liz Alderman wrote for The NY Times. [Spain ETF at Summer High on Bailout Hopes]
New salary and pension cuts in Athens equaling billions of dollars led to a walkout as trade unions rebelled against such action. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has tried to negotiate a $15 billion austerity package to help the country stay solvent.
Government agencies across the region were shut down and air traffic was halted as traffic controllers were part of the strike. These protests are a direct sign that the Greece and Spain’s debt troubles are not contained and the Eurozone has taken a potential turn for the worse.
Global X FTSE Greek 20 ETF
Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.