IMF chief re­frains from pre­dict­ing out­come of Greek talks

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

MANILA

In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund Manag­ing Di­rec­tor Chris­tine La­garde has de­clined to pre­dict the out­come of a meet­ing of euro-area fi­nance min­is­ters on re­duc­ing Greece's debt even as of­fi­cials from Ger­many and Italy say an agree­ment will be reached next week.

"It's not over un­til the fat lady sings, as they say," La­garde told re­porters in Manila when asked if an agree­ment can be achieved at the Nov. 20 meet­ing. "I would not say any­thing else." Fi­nance of­fi­cials from the 17 euro coun­tries are seek­ing agree­ment on how to cut Greece's debt to sus­tain­able lev- els, a nec­es­sary step to dis­burse the next tranche un­der a bailout they co-fund with the IMF. A dis­agree­ment on the time­line for reach­ing the debt-re­duc­tion tar­gets broke out this week, rais­ing ques­tions on whether the IMF will keep fi­nanc­ing Greece.

The IMF's ob­jec­tive is that Greece can op­er­ate on a sus­tain­able ba­sis and re­gain ac­cess to mar­kets as soon as pos­si­ble, La­garde told re­porters in Manila on Sun­day. She is cut­ting short a trip to South­east Asia to at­tend the meet­ing of euro- area fi­nance min­is­ters in Brussels. Greece was granted an ad­di­tional two years to reach bud­get- deficit goals in its bailout pro­gram un­til 2016. Euro­pean fi­nance min­is­ters will dis­cuss ways of plug­ging the fund­ing gap re­sult­ing from that ex­ten­sion at the gath­er­ing.

Ital­ian Fi­nance Min­is­ter Vit­to­rio Grilli said yes­ter­day he is con­fi­dent that the pol­icy mak­ers will reach an agree­ment on aid­ing Greece when they meet next week, echo­ing com­ments by his Ger­man coun­ter­part Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble. "Right now we are fo­cused on find­ing to­gether with the sug­ges­tions and ad­vice of the IMF, a so­lu­tion," Grilli said in an in­ter­view with Bloomberg Tele­vi­sion in Lon­don. "Then we will see." Giv­ing Greece more time was the lat­est com­pro­mise in three years of cri­sis fight­ing.

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