Despite a modest push shortly after the announcement that the EU approved the second Greek bailout package, European bourses closed in red as doubts remained. Wall Street climbed modestly higher with DJIA and S&P 500 gaining +0.12% and +0.07% respectively. In the commodity sector, crude oil prices rallied higher with WTI crude oil for April delivery jumping to as high as 106.48 before closing at 106.25, up 2.58% from Friday's close of 103.6. The equivalent Brent crude contract jumped to as high as 121.88 before ending the day at 121.66, up +1.34%. The front-month contract for Comex gold gained +1.89% to settle at 1758.5.
EU finance ministers have eventually reached an agreement on the second Greek bailout package. The deal requires Greece to bring its debt down to 120.5% of GDP by 2020 from over 164% currently. The agreed reduction was similar to what was requested by the IMF. Moreover, according to Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, private sector bondholders were expected to incur losses of 53.5% of nominal face value of their Greek bond holdings, up from the previously expected 50.0% nominal write-down. Investors welcomed the news and the euro jumped against the US dollar after the announcement.
The interest that Greece needs to pay for the first bailout package was lowered to 1.5% over market rates from 2-3% about market rates previously agreed. Moreover, the ECB and the 17 central banks in the Eurozone also agreed to forego profits on their Greek debt holdings. These measure aims to 'further improve the sustainability of Greece's public debt'.
However, a number of issues remained with the most difficult one being implementation of austerity measures by the Greek government. It's also doubtful whether Greece can repay the reduced debt burden. Regarding this, European Commissioner Olli Rehn said there will be permanent representatives of the EU/ECB/IMF troika on the ground in Greece to monitor the program.
Oil prices rallied on the Greek deal as well as tensions over Iran. Iran halted sales to France & the UK, raising fears of EU shortages. News reports also said that the Middle East oil exporter has been negotiating oil sales to China and India.