Suspense over Athens debt talks

Published on 23 January 2012 at 11:56


“Greek debt holders lay down limit for losses,” headlines the Financial Times, after talks broke off in the early hours of January 21 between Greece and the Institute of International Finance (IIF), a lobby group representing private creditors who have lent money to the Greek government.

According to the London daily —

… the mood in Athens was tense on Sunday night after it became clear that an outline agreement on cutting Greece’s debt by €100bn could not be reached ahead of Monday’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels... [IIF chief Charles] Dallara said the IIF’s position tabled with Greek authorities on Friday night — believed to include a loss of 65-70 per cent on current Greek bonds’ long-term value — was as far as his side was likely to go.

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The snag in the discussions, which aim to prevent a full-scale Greek default when a €14.4bn bond comes due on March 20, appears to be the term to maturity of the new replacement bonds and the rate of interest that Greece will pay.

According to Athens daily To Ethnos, “the thriller continues”:

… certainly the goal is to reduce the 100 billion euro debt, but in all cases, bankruptcy must be avoided and given the negative growth outlook, new austerity measures must be adopted.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times notes -

The Greek economy is in free fall after shrinking by more than 6 per cent last year compared with official forecasts of 3.8-4.5 per cent.

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