While Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras said he won’t accept a third bailout from international lenders, talk persists he’ll have no choice but to break another promise.
Plot Thickens Over Third Bailout
CNBC – Holly Ellyatt
Investors and euro zone-watchers were left scratching their heads Tuesday, after mixed reports on whether Europe was considering a third bailout for Greece …
On Monday, Spain’s economy minister said euro zone countries were discussing a new rescue plan for the country worth between 30-50 billion euros ($33-56 billion) — but European Union (EU) officials said there were no such talks …
Speaking at an event in Pamplona, northern Spain, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said a third bailout would set more flexible conditions for Greece …
However, the plot thickened when a spokeswoman for Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, said there was no discussion of a new rescue plan, and senior euro zone officials agreed, Reuters reported.
Third Bailout? Greece Says It Has March Cash
Barron’s – Dimitra DeFotis
Greek parliamentarians this week are getting to work on austerity and reform bills that are likely to cause friction with international lenders, writes Teneo Intelligence geopolitical Analyst Wolfango Piccoli writes:
“This is part of an effort to appease Syriza’s left wing and keep popularity ratings high by following through on pre-elections pledges. Still, intra-party tensions are slowly brewing and are set to grow further as the government starts to implement some of the more challenging reforms agreed with the Eurogroup. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is far from being dominant within Syriza and his leadership faces an uphill struggle to fend off leftist dissenters within his party.”
The European Central Bank has earned 1.9 billion in profits on Greek bonds, and Greece owes 1.5 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund in March. But transferring that ECB money back to Greece won’t happen until reform happens …
A spokeswoman for the Greek government, however, sought to reassure investors and others Monday that the country has “solutions” to cover the loan payment and other funding requirements this month …
Tax revenue has dropped and Greece “is expected to run out of cash by the end of March, possibly sooner,” Reuters reports.
Greece Faces Cash Crunch, IMF Payments Come Due
Wall Street Journal – Matthew Dalton and Victoria Dendrinou
Greece faces a cash crunch in the coming weeks with little hope of financial help soon from the rest of the eurozone, threatening a serious blow to the country’s fragile economy.
Though the Greek government secured an extension of its bailout program last week, that doesn’t give Athens access to cash pledged to it from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund. To unlock that money, it will need to agree on a revised program of austerity measures and economic overhauls with its creditors, and pass them into law.
That process is likely to take months of fraught negotiations—but Greece doesn’t have that kind of time. It must repay the IMF €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) in March alone, with the first installment of nearly €300 million due on Friday.
The financing through to the summer is inevitably going to require quite a sharp increase in arrears if they are going to make their repayments to the IMF,” Mr. Nixon said. “Even if Greece manages to survive, it will be seat-of-the-pants, finger-tips-on-the-edge-of-the-precipice, which will really exact a toll on the rest of the economy.”
That leaves Athens with few options, none of them appealing. The government may have €2 billion in cash left over from last year, estimates James Nixon, chief economist at Oxford Economics, a consultancy based in the U.K.
Another €2 billion may be left in various government funds, such as Greece’s beleaguered social-security funds, and the government could find another €1 billion by delaying payment to suppliers, Mr. Nixon said.
ECB Needs Creative Accounting With Greece
MarketWatch – David Marsh
The European Central Bank faces pressure to carry out a new feat of creative accounting to meet Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis’s request for renegotiation of €6.7 billion in ECB bonds due to mature in July and August.
In a round of interviews, Varoufakis has pledged that his country will make repaying its debts to the International Monetary Fund its main priority.
About €2 billion needs to be repaid to the Fund this month. But the Greek minister has drawn a strong distinction with the ECB, making it likely that the central bank may have to bring in further conditionality into its traditional insistence that it should always be treated as a preferred creditor on a par with the IMF.
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