IMF sees new gaps in the fig­ures

Talks with cred­i­tors be­gin as the pri­mary deficit is ex­pected to be twice as big as an­tic­i­pated for 2015

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY SOTIRIS NIKAS

Ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Athens and its cred­i­tors are be­gin­ning in Greece and Peru, with the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund rais­ing the is­sues of ad­di­tional mea­sures worth 1.35 bil­lion eu­ros for this and next year and the light­en­ing of the Greek debt.

In its Fis­cal Mon­i­tor re­port, the IMF has down­wardly re­vised its es­ti­mates con­cern­ing the pri­mary bal- ance of the Greek bud­get and the debt from the tar­gets that the bailout agree­ment had set in Au­gust.

The Fund is now ex­pect­ing Greece to record a pri­mary deficit of 0.5 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct this year, against a tar­get for 0.25 per­cent, which cre­ates a hole of 450 mil­lion eu­ros. For next year, the pre­vi­ously an­tic­i­pated 0.5 per­cent pri­mary sur­plus is now seen com­ing to zero, with the gap es­ti­mated at 900 mil­lion eu­ros.

That means the IMF is in­di­rectly ask­ing for ad­di­tional mea­sures of 1.35 bil­lion eu­ros for 2015 and 2016, for the bailout tar­gets to be met. It also an­tic­i­pates a gap of 400 mil­lion eu­ros for 2017, and a much big­ger hole of 1.8 bil­lion eu­ros for 2018. In to­tal, the pe­riod of the new agree­ment (2015-18) will re­quire ex­tra mea­sures of 3.5 bil­lion eu­ros, the Fund be­lieves, for the tar­get of a pri­mary sur­plus of 3.5 per­cent of GDP to be met by 2018.

It also ex­pects state debt to soar: In 2016 it is seen com­ing to 206.6 per­cent of GDP (against a 200.9 per­cent tar­get in the bailout agree­ment), and con­tin­u­ing to miss its tar­gets ev­ery year up to 2020, when it will amount to 182.5 per­cent against a tar­get for 174.5 per­cent of GDP. There­fore, the IMF is ex­ert­ing more pres­sure to have the Greek debt light­ened to make it sus­tain­able.

All this and much more will be dis-

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1.1266 cussed at a tech­ni­cal level in Athens as well as be­tween Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos and the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Fund and the US ad­min­is­tra­tion on the side­lines of the an­nual meet­ing of the IMF in Lima.

The top rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the coun­try’s cred­i­tors are now ex­pected to ar­rive in Athens on Oc­to­ber 20 for a pre­lim­i­nary and brief dis­cus­sion with the gov­ern­ment ahead of their for­mal ar­rival in early Novem­ber for the start of the first re­view.

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