What does it mean for a country to have access to the markets. E.g: There is an ongoing discussion when Greece will follow a prosperity path in order to enter again the "markets".

  • $\begingroup$ I think here it is meant, that if Greece would get competitive enough, then Greece is able to export its goods-especially to other EU-countries. Greece has more or less full access to the EU-market (e.g. no costums). Therefore it cannot be meant, that Greece has many and strong restrictions to export its goods. And if Greece has more exports than imports, then the greek economy get more money from the buyers abroad than the greek economy has to pay for the imports. This surplus can help to get on a prosperity path. The money can be used for investments, for example. $\endgroup$ – callculus Jul 20 '15 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ @calculus No. Here "markets" refers to Financial Markets where the country could borrow directly from private lenders. $\endgroup$ – Alecos Papadopoulos Jul 20 '15 at 18:17
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    $\begingroup$ @calculus I am Greek, living in Greece, and I tried to enter the Financial Markets, and they wouldn't let me in. But I was able to sell some olive oil to the goods markets. :)... Seriously now, this is common knowledge. $\endgroup$ – Alecos Papadopoulos Jul 20 '15 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ @AlecosPapadopoulos I heard a rumor that if you are caught trying to sneak into the Markets you get a slap from an Invisible Hand. $\endgroup$ – Giskard Jul 20 '15 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ @denesp Rumors. The Hand is very Visible. And it sings, as it comes and goes, a cute little song, with the title "The Tails are Greek". My head is a little fuzzy from the slaps but I think it went something like (in 3/4 tempo) "No mountain as high as your interest / No ocean as deep as your discount / Extreme Value Theory is no match for Youououou (pause).../ The Tails, belong to You!". $\endgroup$ – Alecos Papadopoulos Jul 20 '15 at 19:42

When a country loses access to markets they mean access to debt markets. Here is a quote from a paper if you need a citation:

Greece lost access to credit markets when debt exceeded 130% of GDP, whereas Belgium successfully handled identical debt relative to GDP. What determines the highest debt that a country could repay, defined as “fiscal limit?” Can we estimate the fiscal limit for a country which has never lost access to markets? We use historical data on primary surpluses (surpluses excluding interest payments) and debt relative to GDP for six high-debt, developed countries, two of which lost access to markets after the 2008 global financial crisis, to estimate the behavior of the primary surplus in response to changes in debt. The high-debt countries include Belgium, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, and Portugal.

Predicting Sovereign Fiscal Crises: High-Debt Developed Countries (Daniel and Shiamptanis (2015))

Specifically, "closed" means that that the sovereign can no longer raise funds from capital markets. Depending on the specific situation, some entities within that country can continue to raise external funds. A business with significant assets or good prospects may be able to continue to raise funds even when the country cannot. In Greece, at least until recently, this was the case. See the article Greek companies get back on the road, with help from bonds.

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