Greece may receive as much as 85 billion euros ($124 billion) in new financing, including a contribution from private investors, in a second bailout aimed at preventing default and ending the euro-region’s debt crisis, according to an Austrian Finance Ministry official.
Euro-area nations and private investors will contribute 70 percent of that aid, with the International Monetary Fund offering the rest, Thomas Wieser, head of the ministry’s economic policy and financial markets department, said at a briefing late Thursday in Vienna. European Union finance chiefs were expected to hold a conference call to free up a 12 billion- euro payment overdue from the original rescue, according to Bloomberg report.
“I’m certain we now have a sufficient consensus that we can take a decision during the weekend on the fifth tranche of the Greek loan package,” EU Economic and Monetary Commissioner Olli Rehn said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Helsinki Friday.
Progress on doling out aid to Greece comes after Prime Minister George Papandreou secured passage Thursday of 78 billion euros of additional budget cuts and revenue measures needed to meet the targets of the original bailout. Greece’s failure to trim the EU’s second-largest deficit as much as pledged pushed bond yields to records, leaving the country unable to sell debt next year as planned.
Greek two-year notes led gains by securities from the euro region’s most-indebted countries as speculation about an imminent Greek default eased. Two-year Greek note yields fell 115 basis points to 26.15 percent in London, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader prices. That yield topped 30 percent last month on default concerns.
A year after the bailout that was supposed to stop the spread of the debt crisis, Ireland and Portugal have followed in needing a bailout. Greece’s debt is set to top 150 percent of gross domestic product this year, the country is mired in the third year of a recession and needs more aid to avoid default. Germany has led the push for deeper deficit cuts and private- investor burden-sharing before tapping EU taxpayers for more funds. Finance ministers are trying to wrap up the new aid plan at a July 11 meeting in Brussels.
“The seriousness of the crisis suggests that an agreement on the form of private-sector involvement will probably be reached by the 11th July deadline, allowing a second bail-out package to be confirmed soon after,” Ben May, European economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London, wrote in a note to investors. “Nonetheless, with the level of Greek debt set to remain astronomically high, this will not mark the end of the Greek crisis.”
German and French banks, among the biggest holders of Greek debt, have stepped up talks in recent days on a plan to join the new rescue package through rolling over part of their Greek bonds. German banks Thursday agreed to swap Greek bonds maturing through 2014, which amount to about 2 billion euros, into longer-maturity debt, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in Berlin. The country’s so-called bad banks will provide 1.2 billion euros as well, he said.
While German and French officials have signaled a target of as much as 30 billion euros from the rollover, “one can’t say reliably how much the private sector will contribute,” Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter told the briefing. Any involvement has to be voluntary and can’t be allowed to trigger a credit default, she said.