Despite the escalating likelihood of Greece exiting the eurozone, analysts are sanguine about the potential impact on trade and banking.

The far-left party Syriza is tipped to be victorious in snap elections on 25 January and its leadership has already confirmed that it will seek to renegotiate the terms of the country’s bailout, if it comes to power.

This could ostensibly see Greece renege on some of the most punitive terms that came with receiving the finance, such as cuts in public spending, restructuring of the labour market and mass privatisation. This would, euro-watchers agree, herald the end game for Greece’s tumultuous time in the single currency, with the country tipped to exit the euro either voluntarily or by expulsion.

The prospect of a so-called “Grexit” had a disastrous impact on markets in 2010 and 2011, with fears over contagion spreading to the other troubled economies in Europe’s periphery, such as Cyprus, Portugal, Spain and even Italy.

However, most economists are downplaying the potential impact this scenario would have on trade and trade finance. Europe’s financial system is viewed as being much more robust now than four years ago and better equipped to absorb any shocks.

It’s thought that any downturn could be – relatively speaking – contained to Greece itself and that it certainly won’t have a massive impact on Europe’s trade.

For the rest of Europe, Greece is largely insignificant as a trading partner. Its GDP is less than 2% of eurozone GDP. In 2013 it was Germany’s 40th largest export market, taking around 0.4% of German exports. The picture might be slightly less rosy for those more exposed to the Greek market – Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania etc, but the likelihood of a sustained dip in trade volume is small.

“Policy developments since the last Greek crisis suggest that a Grexit would now be less damaging to the rest of the eurozone. As well as bigger bailout funds, there are arrangements in place in the form of the [European Central Bank’s] Outright Monetary Transactions (OMTs) plans and a likely forthcoming quantitative easing programme that should help to limit market contagion,” says Gareth Leather of Capital Economics.

Indeed, the main offshoot may be similar to the product of the Ukraine crisis through 2014, which saw business confidence plunge throughout Europe, but very little material impact on data. With such a fluid political risk environment, exporters are loath to invest heavily, preferring to sit on their cash and see how things unfold.

At a time when the eurozone is on the cusp of deflation, this will certainly be unwelcome, but Brussels will hope that its expansionary fiscal policy will help generate demand and, therefore, boost trade.

Looking at trade lending: the bulk of debt finance in Europe is domestic, and this is unlikely to be affected.

“But inter-country lending could be impacted, German banks lending to Italian companies. That fragmentation of the lending market could happen. However the same protections from bond market contagion should work in the lending market,” says Christian Schulz, senior economist at Berenberg Bank.

Surely, the most obvious impact would be on Greece itself. Some have speculated that Greece readopting the drachma would allow its exports to flourish, since it would have the power to devalue its own currency, therefore making its goods less expensive for overseas buyers. However, given that Greece is a minor exporting nation, this seems hopeful at best.

“Some hope that if Greece left the eurozone, it would lead to a devaluation of the currency and make it more cost competitive. That’s certainly true, but other than tourism, there’s not much of an export base available that Greece could benefit from,” adds Schulz.

The other side of the coin is the cost of imports. By using a weaker, independent currency, it’s likely that consumers and companies in Greece would be forced to pay more for imported goods, which would have a big impact on manufacturing and production.

Further afield, the Grexit would have less impact still.

“In 2012, when fears of a Eurozone break-up last reached their peak, exports from emerging Asia to the eurozone fell by nearly 10% year on year. Exports to the eurozone are equivalent to around 10% of GDP in Hong Kong and Vietnam. In principle therefore, every 10 percentage point fall in exports to the eurozone could knock one percentage point off growth in these two economies.

“In practice, the impact, especially in Hong Kong, is likely to be much smaller since many of the goods that are exported to the eurozone are actually imported from elsewhere first,” says Leather at Capital Economics.

However, the heavy investment pouring into Greece’s economy from China could be disrupted by any radical changes. China has invested in a range of infrastructure assets, including the purchase of Greece’s largest port in Piraeus.

“If the Grexit comes with the policies Syriza wants to follow, such as raising minimum wage and undoing labour market reforms – if they want to return the Greek economy to 2007 without being in the eurozone, that makes it much less attractive. The promises made to Chinese investors will have been broken,” Schulz said.

Chinese state-owned company Cosco last year signed a 35-year agreement to run the two container terminals at Piraeus in return for hundreds of millions in development finance. It is indicative of a wider trend of Chinese expenditure in the Greek government’s fire sale of public assets.

In tandem, there has been a big increase in bilateral trade, with Chinese exports to Greece rising by more than €2.2bn a year. Whether this would continue in the wake of a Grexit is unknown.