News Column

Greece Forced to Borrow as It Awaits Crucial Bailout

Nov. 13, 2012

Greece was forced to borrow from markets on Tuesday, raising 4.06 billion euros (5.15 billion dollars) from the sale of short-term treasury bills, as it continued to wait for a crucial bailout instalment.

The auction was necessary to avoid bankruptcy after eurozone finance minister delayed a decision on the bailout.

Greece raised 2.76 billion from 4-week bills, at an interest rate of 3.95 per cent, and a further 1.3 billion euros in 13-week bills at 4.2 per cent, the debt agency (PDMA) said.

Athens has to pay off 5 billion euros worth of treasury bills that mature on November 16 and had been counting on money from the next aid tranche to help cover that.

Since the country's international's creditors - the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - have delayed the release of 31 billion euros in bailout funding, Athens was faced with no other option but to roll over the bills or face immediate bankruptcy.

Eurozone finance ministers agreed Monday to give Greece two more years to restore its finances, but delayed a decision on a bankruptcy-inhibiting bailout tranche until they gather again on November 20 to make a decision, as there was still work to do on finalizing the details of the bailout.

Athens had originally been tasked with completing its financial homework by 2014, but a "deeper than expected" recession would have left it having to find 20.7 billion euros (26.3 billion dollars) in cuts for 2013-14, instead of the 11.5 billion euros first planned.

Experts from creditor groups recommended setting a 2016 deadline.

The change would likewise apply to the Greek debt load, with Athens now having until 2022 - instead of 2020 - to reach a debt of 120 per cent of gross domestic product.

Fresh data released last week by the EU had shown that Greek debt is on pace to reach almost 190 per cent of GDP by 2014.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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