NEW YORK, June 4 Credit rating agency Standard
and Poor's said on Monday that it sees "at least" a one-in-three
chance of Greece exiting the euro zone in the coming months, an
outcome which could lead the financially fragile country to
another sovereign default.
"This could be brought about by Greece rejecting the reforms
demanded by the troika - the European Commission, International
Monetary Fund and European Central Bank - and a consequent
suspension of external financial support," S&P said in a
statement accompanying a new report.
"Such an outcome would, in our view, seriously damage
Greece's economy and fiscal position in the medium term and most
likely lead to another Greek sovereign default," it said.
But the impact of a Greek exit on other fiscally weak euro
zone countries could be less clear cut, S&P said, with other
sovereigns unlikely to follow Greece out of the monetary union.
"We believe that the hardships the Greek population would
suffer were Greece to exit would dissuade any other member state
from following suit," S&P said in the report.
The rating agency added that "it is our base-case assumption
that a Greek exit by itself would not automatically trigger
further downward sovereign rating actions elsewhere. Much will
depend, however, on the European policy reaction following a
The S&P report came a day before finance chiefs of the Group
of Seven leading industrialized powers are to hold emergency
talks on the euro zone debt crisis in a sign of heightened
global alarm about strains in the 17-member European currency
Global markets have been rattled by new signs of strain in
the euro zone including political turmoil in Greece as austerity
fatigue sets in among voters who are rejecting a push for yet
more belt tightening.