Stournaras calls for ‘realism and flexibility’
Greece and its foreign creditors must show “realism and flexibility” to swiftly complete a review of the country’s bailout program, Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras said on Wednesday. The review has dragged on for months amid disagreements on labor reforms and fiscal targets and a rapid conclusion would “strengthen the forecast for Greek economic growth from 2017 onwards,” Stournaras told a conference, according to a transcript of his speech. Greece wants to wrap up the review soon in order to participate in the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program within the first quarter. “A necessary precondition for economic recovery is primarily the completion of the second review and determined implementation of the structural reforms outlined in the new [bailout] program,” Stournaras said. “At the same time, special emphasis should be given to removing obstacles to privatizations that have already been agreed and the further promotion of the privatization program and utilization of public assets.” the Sklavenitis supermarket group’s takeover of the outlets of its bankrupt rival Marinopoulos, demanding the sale of 22 stores belonging to the two chains (19 of them in Attica), and the increased protection of suppliers with a high dependence on the two major retailers. The suppliers can only expect to receive 50 percent of what they are owed by Marinopoulos when Sklavenitis completes its acquisition of Greece’s biggest supermarket chain. mining giant’s customers. “It’s the first of its kind, certainly for a charterer of our rank,” Rashpal Bhatti, BHP Billiton Freight vice president, told Reuters before the first auction on Wednesday. BHP asked 13 ship owners and operators to submit offers through its online platform to transport 170,000 tons of iron ore from Western Australia to China next month. They included Japanese firms NYK Bulk and Mitsui OSK Lines, Greek-owned Anangel Maritime Services and commodity trader Cargill, Bhatti said.