Call it what you will, Greece’s spinning of its hopes to stay afloat are just that and the country’s going down like Ali floored Frazier, world press reports say.
Greece Flashes Debt Warning Signs
The New York Times – Landon Thomas Jr.
As the eurozone braced for the prospect of a default, financial markets were jittery last week and Greece’s own short-term borrowing costs were soaring. Repercussions of such a default are so difficult to predict that European officials have spent the last five years trying to avoid one.
Over the weekend, senior European officials said that while the Greek debt situation was dire, they still believed an agreement would be reached.
And the United States, starting at the top with Mr. Obama, is actively engaged in pushing both sides to come together to prevent a market-rattling default.
After two international bailouts for Greece since 2010, about 90 percent of its debt is owed to its eurozone neighbors, the I.M.F. and the European Central Bank.
At the moment, not one of those lenders is showing a willingness to give any additional payback relief to Mr. Varoufakis and the new left-leaning government in Athens.
Mr. Varoufakis’s next formal meeting with his country’s creditors is set for Friday in Riga, Latvia, where eurozone finance ministers are to assemble for their monthly gathering.
Wolfgang Schäuble, the powerful German finance minister, said here last week that no one should expect the meeting on April 24 to resolve anything.
Charting Greece’s Frightening Future
Bloomberg – Mark Whitehouse
Greece and its creditors would do well to step back and survey the wreckage as they enter yet another week of brinkmanship: Data on capital flows suggest they’ve undone years of confidence-building in a matter of months.
Haggling over the terms of loans from Germany and other official creditors is bringing Greece ever closer to a worst-case outcome: a default on its debts and possibly its exit from the European Monetary Union.
The protracted uncertainty itself is taking a toll. Worried depositors and investors are moving their euros out of Greece to safer places such as Germany, depriving the Greek economy of the private investment it desperately needs to grow.
Data from the Greek central bank, which records each euro that leaves the country as a liability, suggest the capital flight has reached unprecedented proportions. Over the six months through March, about 62 billion euros ($67 billion) were taken out of Greece. That’s the equivalent of a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product.
It’s hard to know when the exodus will end. Even if Greece and its creditors get past the current impasse, they will almost certainly have to start negotiations on a longer-term program to address a debt burden that, at more than 175 percent of GDP, remains far too large.
As Bloomberg View has argued, a better approach would be for Europe to focus on a final deal — including significant debt relief — that would quickly put Greece on a realistic trajectory toward solvency and economic recovery. The longer the bickering goes on, the more unnecessary damage will be done, eroding whatever benefits either side might hope to gain.
Why Putin’s Money Can’t Save Greece
The Telegraph – Mehreen Khan
Greece’s overtures towards Moscow seemed to have reaped some dividend. According to reports at the weekend, the Kremlin is willing to offer cash-strapped Athens a sweetener of up to €5.4bn as advanced payment for a planned natural gas pipeline running through the country.
The offer of Russian largesse comes as no surprise. During Alexis Tsipras’s trip to Moscow earlier this month, Vladimir Putin hailed the gas project – dubbed “Turkish Stream” – as providing “hundreds of millions of euros of transit taxes a year, just like that,” to the stricken economy.
Despite later denials from Moscow that a deal had been done and dusted, Greek sources told The Telegraph an agreement could now be penned as early as this week.
Syriza’s firebrand Leftist energy minister has also promised to threaten Europe’s “deep economic and geo-strategic interests” in a bid to finally gain some leeway in the country’s acrimonious bail-out negotiations.
“We still do not know our own strength,” said Panagiotis Lafanzis, head of Syriza’s Left Platform, who attacked Greece’s creditors as “neo-colonial powers”.
“Several of the so-called partners and certainly some in the International Monetary Fund want to denigrate and humiliate our government, blackmailing us to implement measures against the working classes,” added Mr Lafazanis.
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