European share prices rose on Wednesday, as Greece, according to a copy of a letter seen by The Wall Street Journal, has requested a three-year bailout from the Eurozone’s rescue fund and pledged to start implementing some fresh fiscal overhauls.
Germany’s DAX stock index climbed 0.7% and France’s CAC-40 added 0.8%. In Southern Europe, Italy’s FTSE MIB was up 2.6% and Spain’s IBEX gained 0.8%.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index closed less than 0.1% higher, held back by declines in U.K. housebuilding stocks after the British government unveiled plans to cut tax breaks available for landlords. The index fell 1.6% in the previous session and has endured a turbulent few weeks, largely buffeted by developments on Greece. It is up around 9% so far this year but has fallen 3% over the past month.
On Tuesday, eurozone leaders set Greece a Sunday deadline to come up with measures that could unlock fresh aid.
Without new cash, Greece won’t be able to make a 3.5 billion-euro ($3.8 billion) debt payment to the European Central Bank on July 20, leading to what would be the country’s second debt default in less than a month.
“We aren’t entirely convinced that Sunday will be a hard deadline, but relationships may be irrevocably strained if that point is passed without agreement,” Peter Chatwell, a rates strategist at Mizuho International, wrote in a note. Demetrios Efstathiou, a strategist at ICBC Standard Bank, says that this is the “final countdown.”
Derek Halpenny, European head of global markets research at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., said a Greek exit from the eurozone would leave the country “in a dire situation and would have major implications for the eurozone as well.”
Others have said Greece has never been closer to exiting the eurozone, but that the risk of contagion to markets beyond Greece is still limited.
Greek banks and the Athens bourse remained closed on Wednesday.
The euro climbed 0.5% against the dollar to $1.1068. The bloc’s currency fell to five-week low against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday after Greek finance chief Euclid Tsakalotos only read out proposals the government already had presented last week during a meeting of finance ministers. Investors had been expecting a new proposal.
In debt markets on Wednesday, the yield on the 10-year German government bond was marginally higher at 0.68%. The yield on 10-year Italian debt was 0.06 percentage point lower at 2.22% and the yield on Spanish 10-year benchmark bonds was 0.04 percentage point lower at 2.23%. Yields fall as bond prices rise.
In commodity markets, Brent crude was 1.3% lower-priced at $56.12 per barrel. Gold was 0.7% higher at $1,160 per troy ounce.