FinMin con­firms mar­ket en­try

Stournaras says Athens and eu­ro­zone dis­cussing mea­sures to lighten Greece’s debt by 82 bil­lion eu­ros

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY SOTIRIS NIKAS

The Greek gov­ern­ment in­tends to re­turn to the money mar­kets within 2014 to cover some of its needs and avoid a third bailout, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yan­nis Stournaras con­firmed yes­ter­day dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Athens.

Athens is hop­ing that the coun­try will is­sue bonds in the sec­ond half of the year, while it has not ruled out do­ing so as early as the first half of 2014, even though Ger­many, in par­tic­u­lar, has ex­pressed its op­po­si­tion for an is­sue this year. When Stournaras was asked how the fund­ing gap for 2014-15 could be cov­ered, he in­cluded bor­row­ing from in­ter­na­tional mar­kets among the so­lu­tions on the ta­ble. The min­is­ter es­ti­mated the gap at 11 bil­lion eu­ros, adding that this could be cov­ered with­out a third loan pack­age.

“There are many sce­nar­ios,” said Stournaras, adding how­ever that this would de­pend on the suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of Greek banks’ stress tests.

“We are ready and in­clined to gain lim­ited ac­cess to the mar­kets in 2014, pro­vided of course the good re­sults con­tinue – and we have no doubt that the good re­sults will con­tinue,” he said. The min­is­ter is re­ported to have pointed to a five-year bond is­sue in the coun­try’s first at­tempt to re­turn to the money mar­kets this year.

Stournaras did say that “it is too early to say defini­tively how the gap will be cov­ered,” de­fer­ring such talk un­til af­ter the com­ple­tion of talks with the coun­try’s cred­i­tors on the is­sues of the on­go­ing mon­i­tor­ing of the Greek econ­omy.

Af­ter all, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has spo­ken in fa­vor of Greece re­turn­ing to the mar­kets in 2015, in line with re­ports in the Ger­man press that re­flect the views held in Ber­lin. How­ever, a re­port in the Fi­nan­cial Times yes­ter­day noted that Greece would be able to tap the mar­kets sooner rather than later.

Stournaras futher re­vealed that the eu­ro­zone and Greek au­thor­i­ties are ex­am­in­ing mea­sures to lighten the coun­try’s debt load by about a quar­ter, or 82 bil­lion eu­ros, in line with the cred­i­tors’ obli­ga­tions to Greece. The min­is­ter said that any new as­sis­tance from the bloc could come in the form of an in­ter­est rate re­duc­tion or the ex­ten­sion of the re­pay­ment pe­riod for the ex­ist­ing debt.

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