Greeks in Singapore stayed up to catch outcome of historic vote

People watch the 'No' rally on a television in a cafe in central Athens on July 3, 2015.
People watch the 'No' rally on a television in a cafe in central Athens on July 3, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The international investing community weren't the only ones keenly watching for the results of the Greek referendum, here in Singapore, many Greek nationals who are also permanent residents stayed up till 1 am Singapore time for the results because it is their home country and an important moment in history.

Greek voters decisively rejected the terms of an international bailout, with 61.3 per cent voting "No" against 38.7 per cent who voted "Yes", according to final results in the referendum published by Greece's interior ministry.

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras's Syriza-led government had campaigned for a "No", saying the bailout terms were humiliating.

Their opponents warned that this could see Greece ejected from the eurozone, and a summit of eurozone heads of state has now been called for tomorrow.

 

"I stayed up for the results. It is my country and this is an important moment," a Greek businessman said. "Greeks have lost lots of things over the last five years but not their courage to express their opinion."

"Now let's see how will the Greek government manage this 60 per cent No majority and how the EU lenders or lenders in general will respond," he said.

Mr Tsipras said in a televised address: "As of tomorrow, Greece will go back to the negotiating table and our primary priority is to reinstate the financial stability of the country."

"This time, the debt will be on the negotiating table," he added, saying that an International Monetary Fund assessment published last week "confirms Greek views that restructuring the debt is necessary."

But some Greeks in Singapore are questioning Mr Tsipras's motives.

"Is he doing this to save his own party? How would he negotiate a better deal? And what if he negotiates a worst deal? Will he be asking for another referendum?" the Greek businessman asked.

"Not to mention this will hurt tourism, one of the last healthy industries in the country," he said.

Meanwhile, the benchmark Straits Times Index plunged 28.28 points to a low of 3314.45 at the opening, and is now at 3,320.69, down 22.04 points or 0.66 per cent as at 10.09 am.

Said Phillip Futures investment analyst Howie Lee: "Huge downward pressure on most equity markets expected today as investors engage in knee-jerk selling. Early morning indices' movements have shown the Nikkei and the STI to have fallen. The selling is likely to spread to European and US markets once they open"

He added: "Euro is down, gold is up - suggesting some fear in the marketplace. Our base-case scenario is now for a Grexit; warning signals in most markets may be flashing code red in the coming few days."

CMC Markets analyst Nicholas Teo agreed. "With the 'No' result announced in early Asian trade, we are seeing big mark downs as markets open this morning, only to rebound off early lows. Take the Japan 225 for example, opening at a low close to 20120, is now fighting to recover 20,260."

But he pointed out that even as Asian markets opened weak this morning, what matters most will be the direction European bourses will lead with later, when they absorb the overnight news.

"The conclusive no vote by Greece seems likely to lead either to a watering down of the Troika's conditions for extending further credit to Greece or to a full blown Grexit," Mr Teo said.

"From a market point of view, both alternatives carry risks. The former will increase potential for similar demands from other European nations, while the latter will create a period of uncertainty and possible doubts about the long term viability of the Euro," he said.