Wednesday, October 31 09:50:26
Greece's international lenders are not currently discussing the possibility of another debt restructuring, or "haircut", for the country, the coordinator for the euro zone's finance ministers said today. The ministers will hold a conference call on Wednesday to discuss progress in negotiations between Athens and its lenders on reforms Greece must implement to receive emergency credits. Thomas Wieser, an Austrian, told German radio he had taken part in discussions with officials from the "troika" of lenders - the European Central Bank, European Commission and the International Monetary Fund - in the past two days.
"In none of these rounds of discussions and negotiations was the word 'haircut' ever mentioned," Wieser said, adding that media speculation about this topic "has nothing to do with the work of the troika". "The negotiations (between Greece and the troika) are not yet complete," he added. The troika is also preparing a report on Greek debt sustainability and pondering ways of finding extra financing if Greece were to reach a primary surplus, which excludes interest payments, of 4.5 percent of GDP in 2016 rather than in 2014.
A troika estimate presented to junior euro zone finance ministers last week showed that Greece would need an extra 30 billion euros ($39 billion) to be financed over the two extra years. Wieser said it would be "very, very tough" for Greece to reach the primary surplus target, given the depth of its recession. "We have made no decision yet (on giving Greece more time to fix its budget), but it could be that it could get one or two years more," he added. Greece is pushing for more time to meet its fiscal targets. The euro zone says no decisions are possible before the troika delivers its report on the state of the country's economy. ( C) Reuters