Sun, Apr 05, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Greece can pay IMF on time: source

BAILOUT BONANZA:IMF and EU analysts are scrutinizing a list of economic reforms proposed by Athens that could see the ‘troika’ giving Greece another 7.2 billion euros

AFP, ATHENS

Greece is set to meet its financial obligations to the IMF and pay workers’ salaries and pensions next week, a government source said on Friday, easing speculation that Athens could default on its debts with unknowable consequences for global markets.

“Everything that should be paid next week, the IMF, wages, pensions, will be,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Greece must pay the IMF 460 million euros (US$501.17 million) by Thursday next week to meet the conditions of its loan agreement, and speculation had been rife it would fail to pay if forced to choose between workers and the institution.

Another source told reporters that the payment of 250 million euros in interest due later this month and the 2.4 billion euros’ worth of government bonds due to mature on April 13 and 17 were also no longer sources of anxiety for Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ administration.

Reducing Greek debt — which last year reached 176 percent of national output — is among the main priorities of Tsipras’ SYRIZA party.

IMF and EU analysts are scrutinizing a list of economic reforms proposed by Athens in a bid to unlock another 7.2 billion euros in loans to stave off possible bankruptcy and a euro exit.

Two meetings of eurozone analysts are due to take place next week on the topic of Athens’ finances.

Since 2010, Athens has received two successive loans from the EU and the IMF totaling 240 billion euros in exchange for tough austerity measures.

In related news, Cyprus is to scrap its last remaining capital controls, two years after they were imposed in the heat of its banking crisis, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday.

In a televised news conference on the economy, Anastasiades said the last of the draconian measures — imposed to avoid a run on banks — would be lifted on Monday.

“The removal of the remaining restrictions marks the final restoration of confidence in our banking system,” Anastasiades said.

“This reinforces the positive outlook for raising investment under conditions of full trust and confidence,” he said. “It strengthens the ability of the banks to raise capital and safely finance the economy.”

After a three-year recession Cyprus expects to return to marginal growth this year.

Cypriot authorities closed the banks for two weeks in March 2013 as they put the final touches on a 10 billion euro bailout from the EU and the IMF.

They imposed a raft of measures on domestic and international capital movements when the banks reopened. All domestic capital restrictions were lifted in May last year.

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