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The Greek debt exceeded the amount of 321 billion euro

25 August 2013 / 17:08:39  GRReporter
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At the end of the first half of 2013, the Greek debt already amounted to the shocking 321 billion euro. This amount is greater than the debt that Greece had in 2009 before the crisis. The debt was further burdened with additional 16 billion euro in 2013 and is 18 billion euro higher compared to June 2012, when it was 303 billion euro. This movement is disturbing.

This unimaginable amount corresponds to 180% of the Greek GDP and is continuing to increase with the amount of interest, in this way facing the economic headquarters of the government with the dilemma how to deal with it. No consensus exists at expert level (or in the Troika between the IMF and the European Commission) on how the country can deal with its public debt without a new cut.

The problem with the expiration of bonds

"Debt remains the main problem. If not reduced drastically, a large portion of available resources will be given in order to cover the interest and the budget will be moving in a very limited scope in the coming years. Things will continue to be difficult," said representatives of the Treasury. Despite their low rate, interests amount to between 11 billion euro and 12 billion euro per year.

On the other hand, representatives of the Ministry of Finance are talking about a solution that will result in a reduction of interests by reducing the interest rate and mainly contribute to solving the problem of expiration of bonds in 2014, which will be the most difficult year since at that time there will be no other contributions to Greece's current programme.

This disagreement which will be felt particularly dramatically in the political scene after the German elections, affected Alpha Bank, which is against a new debt restructuring and for a more gradual European solution of the problem.

What will the surplus bring?

As mentioned in the bank’s study: "After achieving a primary surplus in 2013, Greece will be able to achieve a further reduction of interest payments (which have already been reduced enough) so that it could service its public debt. If this happens, the deficit of the general management will be converted probably at levels below -2.5% in 2014 from -3.2% as provided by the IMF. Also, the deficit can be reset as of 2015."

As for co-financing from EU Structural Funds, it has already been increased to 18.5 billion euro in the period 2014-2020, from 11.5 billion euro - the amount that was taken into consideration when assessing the viability of debt in November 2012.

However, there is an assessment by the IMF (from July 2013) that Greece may face a financial gap of 4.4 billion euro in 2014 and 6.5 billion euro in 2015. This gap is due to the fact that in 2014 Greek government bonds of about 24.9 billion euro will expire, which are almost entirely owned by central banks of the Eurozone.

Furthermore, in 2015 additional bonds worth 16.4 billion euro will also expire, which are also largely owned by central banks. According to the IMF, Greece will have to repay 30.2 billion euro from 41.3 billion euro which it owes under these bonds, and there is doubt in terms of the payment of the remaining 11.1 billion euro.

A breath of fresh air as of 2015

Based on these assessments, the IMF seems to pressure European governments to extend the expiration of those credits after 2014 and 2015, so that Greece won’t be forced to pay them completely over the next two years. This decision could become a reality if Greece actually achieves a surplus in 2013.

On the other hand, it is recognized that the financial hole is practically non-existent, since Greece will reach larger surpluses in 2013 and 2014 compared to what is programmed, and because the country has capital amounting to 11.5 billion euro in the Financial Stability Fund, which can be used without any further debt increase.

From 2015 to 2025 end dates of loans to Greece will be less and there won’t be a financial hole.

Tags: Greek government debt International Monetary Fund bonds loans
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