Fears Greece to be hit by fresh financing threat

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) last night denied that Greece could lose out on its next tranche of aid, due next month, because of its creditors refusing to roll over the Greek bonds they hold.

“No financing problems will arise because the program is financed till end of July 2014,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in a brief statement.

Greece’s creditors – Eurozone countries, the European Central Bank and the IMF – agreed last December that the bloc’s 17 national central banks would replace some of the Greek bonds they hold with new Greek paper as the debt matures.

This was expected to spare Greece from having to redeem €3.7bn of debt in 2013-2014 and €1.9bn in 2015-2016.

However, some central banks are now refusing to redeem the bonds, due to fears that the strategy could be seen as direct financing of the Greek government – something the ECB forbids. Reports had suggested this financing gap would force the IMF to stop payments by the end of next month.

A team from the IMF has been in Greece to examine the country’s progress on its bailout programme. It said last night that the investigation had made “good progess”.