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Der Spiegel claims: IMF wants Greece to Restructure Debt

Are we serious? Is this the reason the Troika will pay a non-scheduled visit to Athens? To prepare the ground for a debt restructure? Or is it just a sinister blackmail against the Greek government to speed up fiscal ‘reforms’ like exterminating tax evasion, lay offs in public administration, privatisation, sales of public assets? As usual I was quicker with my commentingquestions than posting the news itself.

Anyway many Greek media and Reuters report that:

The International Monetary Fund(IMF) is privately pushing Greece to restructure its debt soon in view of the unsustainable fiscal burdens it is carrying, marking a change of course, German magazine Der Spiegel reported.

Without citing any sources, it wrote on Saturday that high ranking IMF officials were recommending this to European governments due to Greece’s current debt pile that is roughly one-and-a-half times its entire annual economic output.

Early in March, IMF European Director Antonio Borges told reporters he was “confident that Greek debt is sustainable”, adding that the Greeks had made “quite a bit of progress on their banks” as well.

I remember too that even during the last months IMF officials had rejected the idea of debt restructuring…

In the meantime, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou reacted to Spiegel’s claimssaying “There is absolutely no chance of a restructuring of Greek debt”. A dismissal of the claim came also fromEuropean Union spokesman Jens Mester,  who said: “All support measures are in place, and there is no reason now to start thinking of this possibility of restructuring Greece’s debt.” (Reuters)

Greek and European officials have long insisted that Greece can recover without restructuring its debt, and that even discussing a restructuring now would be counter-productive by damaging banks across Europe and causing panic in markets.

Der Spiegelnotes that, although the IMF believes Greece should soon begin talks with creditors on a debt restructuring, it is still not willing to call for the move openly out of fear this could increase market pressure on Portugal. Portuguese bond yields have soared in the last several weeks because investors think Lisbon may soon be forced to seek a bailout.

Here is the short pre-publication of Der Spiegel claim in German. Full Article will be published on Monday

Der Internationale Währungsfonds (IWF) zweifelt am Erfolg der Rettungsbemühungen für Griechenland und drängt auf eine baldige Umschuldung des Landes. Diese Forderung vertraten hochrangige Vertreter des Währungsfonds in den vergangenen Tagen bei Gesprächen mit Beamten europäischer Regierungen. Im IWF bahnt sich damit ein Kurswechsel an. Nun glaubt der Fonds offensichtlich selbst nicht mehr daran, dass sich das Land mit den bisherigen Maßnahmen sanieren lässt. Notwendig sei eine Verringerung der Schuldenlast von derzeit rund 150 Prozent des Bruttoinlandsprodukts, argumentierten IWF-Vertreter gegenüber den Europäern. Denkbar sei ein Schuldenschnitt, die Verlängerung der Laufzeiten von Anleihen oder niedrigere Zinszahlungen. Alle drei Alternativen laufen dar auf hinaus, dass Inhaber griechischer Staatsanleihen auf einen Teil ihrer Rendite verzichten müssen. Nach den Vorstellungen des IWF soll die griechische Regierung schon bald Gespräche mit ihren Gläubigern aufnehmen und ihnen die geplante Umschuldung mitteilen. Der IWF schreckt allerdings noch davor zurück, seine Überlegungen öffentlich zu machen, weil er fürchtet, das ebenfalls angeschlagene Portugal dadurch in noch größere Schwierigkeiten zu bringen. Der Spiegel.

Good game, boys!

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