Greece needs a dollar but it’s only got a dime and it’s running down the road and running out of time, world press reports say.
It’s a Race Against The Clock for Greece
CNBC – Matt Clinch and Julia Chatterley
ust a day after a credit rating downgrade by Standard & Poor’s (S&P), a leading figure at the agency has detailed his concerns about the lack of progress in negotiations between Greece and its international creditors.
“(There’s) very little progress, and this is all the more worrisome because Greece is running out of time. We cannot quite be sure how much liquidity there is left,” Moritz Kraemer, the chief sovereign rating officer at S&P told CNBC Thursday in Washington D.C.
“We are definitely talking about a matter of weeks and not months and the government is starting to scrape the barrel of, sort of, liquidity from state companies, pension funds et cetera. So it’s a race against the clock.”
On Wednesday, the rating agency cut Greece’s credit rating to “CCC+” from “B-” with a negative outlook. It said Greece’s debt was “unsustainable” without “deep economic reform or further relief.”
IMF Snub Pushes Greece Toward Default
The Guardian – Philip Inman
has been pushed a step closer to default and potential exit from the euro after one of its main lenders, the International Monetary Fund, all but ruled out allowing the cash-strapped country to delay repaying the €1bn (£722,000) due next month.
The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, said delaying the payments would be an unprecedented action that would only make the situation worse.
Speaking at the organisation’s spring meeting, she said: “Payment delays have not been granted by the board of the IMF in the last 30 years.”
Her intervention is likely to heighten fears that senior policymakers in the US and Europe are preparing for Greece to leave the eurozone.
She said that delays had “been granted to a couple of developing countries … and that was not followed by very productive results”.
The IMF is a rules-based institution, Lagarde said. While all options were available, she added: “It’s clearly not a course of action that could be recommended in the current situation.”
Her comments followed a report that the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, had sounded out the IMF over whether Athens could ask for a delay on the payments it is struggling to afford. The scramble to get the funds together could leave Athens unable to meet pensions and welfare payments at the end of May.
The report in the Financial Times said that Varoufakis was rebuffed after he made an “informal approach” to discuss the issue.
The Pressure Builds on Greece
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde on Thursday (Apr 16) played down talk of Greece delaying its debt payments, maintaining pressure on Athens as it runs out of money to pay.
With an Apr 24 deadline looming for Greece to reach a deal on new financing from EU creditors, markets are fearful that it could fail to pay its debts and split from the eurozone.
Lagarde cut off one possible avenue of relief, saying there was little chance that Greece would be able to delay payments of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Fund next month.
“We have never had an advanced economy ask for payment delays,” the Fund’s managing director told reporters in Washington, at the opening of the IMF-World Bank spring meetings.
“It’s clearly not a course of action that would actually fit, or be recommendable in the current situation,” Lagarde said. “Payment delays have not been granted by the board of the IMF in the last 30 years.”
Greece has denied reports that it has already formally asked for a delay in payments to the IMF, and Lagarde’s response suggested that any such approach would not be welcomed.
In this, the IMF is closing ranks with Greece’s European Union creditors as the clock ticks on Athens reaching a new financing deal with its bailout lenders before its next debt payment comes due.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ new Greek government has sought an easing of austerity and reform conditions on the IMF-EU bailout loans, but creditors have refused to budge.
“We continue to work with other institutions and the Greek authorities. Talks are ongoing. However at this stage, we are not satisfied with the level of progress,” European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Thursday.
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