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Dollar Demand Will Increase on Greek Debt Crisis, FXPro Says

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Investors “will favor the dollar” as a haven amid speculation Greece will default on its debt, Simon Smith, chief economist at currency broker FXPro Group Ltd., said in a Feb. 17 interview in Singapore.

Finance ministers from the 17 euro-area nations will meet in Brussels today to decide on 130 billion euros ($172 billion) in aid to Greece. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said on Feb. 18 his country found all the extra cuts needed to lower spending by 325 million euros to secure a second bailout package aimed at averting the region’s first sovereign default.

On the outlook for Greece:

“I struggle to see how we can go from here to the end of the year without either Greece defaulting in a disorganized way or leaving the euro.

‘‘In a situation where we do see some sort of bigger event around Greece, it’s going to be liquidity, safety and high-quality assets that investors are going to want, and that will favor the dollar.’’

On Greek austerity, growth prospects:

‘‘Greece is just not a competitive country at the moment.

‘‘With this level of austerity and no option to devalue their currency or at least go through those normal processes, I can’t see Greece being in a better position in 10 years if it remains in the euro in its current form.

‘‘There’s no room for strategies that will promote growth. It’s difficult when they have become so uncompetitive in terms of labor costs and inflation. It’s a massive problem they’re not really addressing and it’s difficult to address.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristine Aquino in Singapore at kaquino1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rocky Swift at rswift5@bloomberg.net

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