Most global investors predict at least one nation will leave the euro-area within five years and that Greece and Ireland will default, sentiment that is intensifying pressure on policy makers to strengthen their response to the debt crisis.
As the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting gets underway, 59 percent of respondents in a Bloomberg Global Poll said one or more of the 17 euro nations will quit by 2016, including 11 percent who see an exit within 12 months. Respondents were divided over whether Portugal would default, while a majority expressed confidence in Spain.
Such pessimism underscores the urgency German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy face in their hunt for new ways to placate investors after almost $1 trillion in emergency financial support failed to calm markets. Europe’s plight ranks high on the agenda for the conference in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, where Merkel, Sarkozy and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet are among the 2,500 officials, bankers and economists attending.
“The problems in Europe have been addressed, but only with a band aid,” said Ted Jarvis, senior vice president at the Indiana Trust Company in Anderson, Indiana, who participated in the survey. “Several euro members have not followed the correct policies and dug themselves a deep hole.”