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Pensioners line up as they wait to be allowed into a bank to withdraw a maximum of 120 euros for the week, July 2, 2015 (AP photo by Daniel Ochoa de Olza).

As EU Watches Greece Default, China, Russia Wait in the Wings

Thursday, July 2, 2015

It seems a little odd that the final countdown to a Greek default saw the clock run out on what was in reality a puny payment. Greece was due to pay the International Monetary Fund a mere 1.55 billion euros Tuesday, by itself a rather inconsequential sum in the global credit markets. Athens’ inability to pay that small amount set off the chain of events that put global markets on high alert and continues to threaten the decades-old project of European integration.

While Greece has held testy exchanges with creditors from the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank over the past five years, other countries with financial difficulties have been borrowing massive amounts from other sources, notably China, a country that holds some $4 trillion in foreign currency reserves. Compared to the heft of China’s holdings, the Greek payment barely qualifies to be called a crumb. ...

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