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Breaking news: Eurozone agrees to release part 2 fund for greece bail out

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by BabuK, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

    Mar 9, 2012
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    Greece's winning of a crucial swap of its government debt has been welcomed by European leaders.
    Luxembourg's Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the conditions were now in place for Greece to get its latest eurozone bailout.
    The Greek deal with its lenders is the largest restructuring of government debt in history.
    The Greek Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, hailed the deal as an "exceptional success".
    Take-up was high enough for the government to force unwilling investors to consent to the deal.
    Speaking after a conference call of European finance ministers, Mr Junker said the deal would help make Greece's debt more sustainable.
    "The eurogroup considers that the necessary conditions are in place to launch the relevant national procedures required for the final approval of the euro area's contribution to the financing of the second Greek adjustment programme," he said in a statement.
    Holders of 85.8% of debt subject to Greek law and 69% of its international debt holders agreed a debt swap, according to the Ministry of Finance.
    Athens needed to get 75% to push through the deal, which is a condition of Greece's latest bailout.
    The European Union and International Monetary Fund have said that if the debt swap did not go through then Greece would not get its latest bailout of 130bn euros (£110bn; $173bn).
    EU economic affairs commissioner, Oli Rehn said he was pleased with the debt deal but expected Greece to maintain it's focus on austerity.
    "I am very satisfied by the large positive turnout of the voluntary debt exchange in Greece," he said.
    And a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said take-up was "encouraging".
    European leaders are due to discuss the deal on Friday ahead of a meeting next week to agree on the bail-out.
    'Historic endeavour'
    The Greek Finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, told parliament on Friday that the deal - which cuts Greece's debts by around 105bn euros ($138.8bn, £87.9bn) - meant it was a "good day" for Greece.
    "We have achieved an exceptional success... and I believe everyone will soon realise that this is the only way to keep the country on its feet, and give it the second historic chance that it needs," said Mr Venizelos
    The Greek government has promised to continue implementing austerity measures demanded by the EU and IMF.
    So far the deal involves 172bn euros worth of debt, according to the Greek government website, with investors taking a total loss of up to 74%.
    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association will meet later on Friday to determine whether the deal would be deemed a credit event - a technical default - triggering the payment of insurance of up to $3.2bn, significantly less than feared.
    Market reaction to the news was subdued on Friday with little change on most European markets.
    Stock exchanges had rallied strongly on Thursday on hopes that the deal would go through - with the stock market in Athens up more than 3% and the markets in Paris and Frankfurt also higher.
    Greece said it has extended the deadline for bondholders not governed by Greek law to sign up until 23 March.
    The deal was also welcomed by representatives of private sector lenders to Greece, who said it paved the way for agreement on the EU bailout.
    "The very strong and positive result provides a major opportunity now for Greece to move ahead with its economic reform program, while strengthening the euro area's ability to create an economic environment of stability and growth," said Josef Ackermann, chairman of the International Institute of Finance, which represents private lenders.
    Austerity cutsThe news comes as the latest GDP figures for Greece showed the economy contracted by 7.5% in the final three months of 2011.
    The revised figures are worse than the previously estimated 7%.
    The weak economic data comes ahead of a further round of austerity measures.

    The government is pushing through spending cuts equal to 1.5% of its output, including cuts in pensions and civil service job cuts.
    It has also been told to make its economy more competitive by cutting the minimum wage and making labour markets more flexible.
    The aim is to cut the Greek government's debt from 160% of GDP to a little over 120% of GDP by 2020.
    Some economists fear further austerity measures will damage the economy increasing the chance Greece will require more bailouts or debt write-offs.
    Others argue the economy will become more competitive, attracting investment and generating jobs.
    "This does not mean the debt situation in Greece is resolved, and this is not the last time we will be hearing about this. But it is a relief that it didn't go the other way. It could have been a lot worse," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Group in New York.