Greece Credit Event Triggers Credit Default Swaps

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Credit default swaps tied to Greek sovereign debt have been triggered and a much worried about disorderly default of the country's debt may be one step closer to reality.

According to the ruling body covering the derivatives industry -- the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) -- moves by Greece to include "collective action clauses" in their sovereign bonds and reduce investor payments are considered a restructuring event, and credit default swaps tied the bonds will need to be paid.

Estimated outstanding CDS tied to Greek bonds stands at approximately $3.2 billion, according to the ISDA.

The next step in the default process occurs on March 19 when the ISDA sets an auction date when buyers and sellers of the derivatives will square off and make payment on the contracts.

Actual payouts on the swaps may be significantly lower than the $3.2 billion estimate, the ISDA says. According to statement released Friday, the net payout would drop if the "recovery value" of the bonds were significantly lower than the face value. Based on those assumptions the maximum payable amount on Greek CDS would be $2.4 billion, according to then ISDA.

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