Not just in the US or Japan, but a truly global phenomenon. And always blame greedy foreign bankers for everything.
From AP (4/20/2011):
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's finance minister said the crisis-hit country can deal with its mountain of debt and insisted that renewed access to bond markets is still possible in 2012 despite spiraling borrowing costs.
"I believe that Greece's debt is absolutely sustainable ... But that is based on the implementation of the (2011-2015) adjustment program," George Papaconstantinou said Wednesday.
Papaconstantinou spoke as the country's borrowing costs remained high on speculation that Greece will have to restructure its debts. The difference between the interest rates on Greek and German 10-year bonds is over 11 percentage points, a staggering difference given the two countries use the same currency and operate in the same interest rate regime.
The Greek government has repeatedly denied it is considering such a move and has promised to forge ahead with an ambitious privatization program worth euro50 billion ($71.5 billion) through 2015 that has already run into strong union opposition.
Union are planning a general strike May 11, while a powerful electricity workers' union warned Wednesday it was considering rolling strikes ahead of that date.
Papaconstantinou again denied that restructuring is on the cards.
"It is a very interesting debate but we don't care to join in," he said. "(Restructuring) would carry great dangers for the economy, (pension) funds and households."
The spike in Greek borrowing rates, he argued, was due to a "cacophony" of conflicting statements by European finance officials on the restructuring issues. High borrowing costs have locked Greece out of bond markets.
The finance ministry later said it had asked prosecutors to investigate whether brokers for an unnamed foreign investment bank bear criminal liability in connection with market movements Wednesday at the Athens Stock Exchange -- which dropped 2.62 percent -- and the Greek bond market.
Greek 2 Year Bonds Now Yielding Record 22%, Price On 10 Year Bonds 59 Of Par
Just a quick reminder that the world continues to burn: the yield on the Greek 2 Year bond has just climbed to 22%, an all time record. The actual price is 74.25%. And far more jarringly, the 10 Year is 59 cents on the euro. A 40% haircut is now effectively priced in by the market.