Greece says it’s on target while Portugal teeters

Steve Dinneen
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GREECE claimed it is on track to meet the fiscal targets laid out in the terms of its International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout, despite being on the verge of missing the 2010 deficit target.
IMF and EU inspectors said that, while it would mis
s its 2010 target by around 1.5 per cent, the country had made enough of an effort to qualify for the next, €9bn (£7.6bn) installment of its loan.

IMF mission chief for Greece, Poul Thomsen said: “The programme is broadly on track and policies are being implemented as agreed.”

The IMF also moved to reassure markets spooked by the second Eurozone bailout being negotiated in Dublin that Athens would not be left in the lurch if repayments on its emergency loan become too burdensome. Thomsen said: “What we are saying to the markets is we know there could be a problem [for Greece]. Don’t worry about it, if it proves to be a problem we’ll deal with it.”

Meanwhile, Portugal teetered ever closer to the edge yesterday as it announced its state deficit has widened, prompting fears it could be the next Eurozone domino to fall. The beleaguered country is desperate to avoid an IMF bailout, with its Prime Minister adamant it will be able to cut its budget sufficiently.