Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Greece: Debt deal gives clarity to markets


LUXEMBOURG — Greece appears poised Thursday to get the approval for more rescue money from its peers in the 19-country eurozone, as well as the broad outlines of the debt relief it could get when its bailout program ends next year.

"Today Greece is turning a page".

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said the agreement would allow market access "in due course". "With unity and determination we move forward [to achieve] fair growth and heal the wounds of the crisis", Tsipras said in a tweet after midnight.

Athens all week insisted it would veto the deal, furious that the latest disbursement from its third bailout since 2010 could come without firm debt relief commitments after delivering on tough reforms.

However, the International Monetary Fund could join the programme with a financial support "in the range of $2bn" only after a full deal on additional measures of debt relief for Greece, she said.

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J.P. Morgan's Marco Protopapa and Aditya Chordia said Greece's "expectations, strongly linked to (governing party) Syriza's desire to receive a major political boost to a faltering electoral support, have long proved excessive".

The eurozone will now draw up an "exit strategy" over the next year "to enable Greece to stand on its own feet again", Dijsselbloem said.

To accommodate the IMF's need for more specifics on debt relief, the euro zone finance ministers said in a statement that in 2018 they would be ready to consider extending the maturities and grace periods of their loans to Greece by a range from zero to 15 years.

The meeting is set to decide on whether Greece has done enough for the bailout funds to be released and provide more clarity over what sort of debt relief the country can expect when it exits its bailout program next year.

However, Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, said enough progress had been made at Thursday's meeting for her to go to the executive board to get the stand-by facility, which will be less than $2 billion.Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, said enough progress had been made at Thursday's meeting for her to go to the executive board to get the stand-by facility, which will be less than $2 billion.

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To soften the blow on debt relief, France has asked its eurozone partners to offer Athens a commitment to debt relief linked to Greece's economic growth.

"On Thursday, we will manage to achieve that", German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, the eurozone's most influential official, told Bloomberg news agency.

Berlin also wants to retain leverage over Greece to make sure reforms remaining under the bailout are implemented.

Euro zone bailout fund chief Klaus Regling said his European Stability Mechanism would disburse 7.7 billion euros in early July to cover 6.9 billion euros in maturing debt and 0.8 billion of arrears.

"We can't live on 300 euros (£260)!" they chanted, with some waving sticks. Such a level of clarity would allow Greek bonds to be included in the European Central Bank's (ECB) quantitative easing (QE), allowing Greece to re-enter market in more confidence.

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