Standard & Poors has stated it as clearly as can be:
“A maturity extension
of a bond would make an investor worst off; that would mean a payment default and would trigger a corresponding default on our part,” said Kraemer.
So has Fitch: As Greece faces an unpopular vote on Tuesday over even more unpopular austerity measures, Fitch Ratings kept up the pressure
by saying that it would regard a voluntary rollover of bond maturities as a default and cut the country's credit rating accordingly.
And Moody's hinted the same
a month ago: "A Greek default could take many forms, including a "re-profiling" and large-scale voluntary debt buybacks at high discounts, the ratings company said."
Despite this the Eurozone leaders keep prattling on about voluntary restructuring of private debt, which will avoid a Greek default.
Now if the rating agencies worry about the fact that a voluntary roll-over in this case would in fact be "voluntary" the events at the recent European council meeting showed that they are right to do so.
ECB board member Bruno Smaghi first invoked both the Maastrich treaty and Sir Thomas Moore to explain why he would not step down on the orders of Berlusconi and Sarkozy, but then a day later he was said to have "voluntarily" called up van Rumpoy and assured the latter that he would not remain on the board until the end of his term.
And, yes, in the minutes from the Council* meeting it is stated that before a second crisis package will be agreed on, Greece must undertake to show that it will get voluntary assistance from private lending institutions.
Will that be more or less voluntary than the turkeys volunteering for Christmas dinner?
PS: Some private investors are not volunteering. According to rumours out of Switzerland the Swiss banks have almost run out of bank deposit box space. (See blog
Golem XIV - Thoughts.)
*Relying on quote from Swedish newspaper. The meeting minutes are presently not available on the EU site. (Quelle surprise!)