Showing posts with label Greek Crisis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greek Crisis. Show all posts

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tsipras Fights on All Fronts as Greece Back in the Spotlight

By Elena Chrepa
16 Απριλίου 2018, 8:00 π.μ. EEST Updated on 16 Απριλίου 2018, 3:20 μ.μ. EEST
Economy remains priority in the final race to bailout exit...
...But concerns rising on Turkey, Macedonia, looming election

Bloomberg

Consider what Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is up against.

As Greece prepares to free itself from an eight-year European bailout, its 43 year-old premier is confronting challenges at home and abroad. On the domestic front: preparations for post-bailout economic life and the first general election since the end of the program, including feuds with both allies and rivals. On the foreign-policy front: increased tensions with traditional rival Turkey and regional instability stemming from a dispute over a neighboring country’s name.

Tsipras’s ability to navigate through all this could determine just how stable the country and its region will be in coming years, experts say, and the European Union, the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are all watching with interest.

“The wo

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Euro zone to unlock new loans to Greece, working on debt relief

MARCH 12, 2018 / 8:12 PM / 2 DAYS AGO

Francesco Guarascio, Jan Strupczewski
4 MIN READ

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone creditors are expected to disburse new loans to Greece this month and are working on debt relief measures, the head of the bloc’s finance ministers said on Monday, steps that should help underpin its economic recovery.

Greece’s 86-billion-euro bailout program, its third since 2010, is due to end in August and international lenders are debating how to ensure the country makes its exit on a sustainable footing.

Among options under consideration in Brussels are support measures that could run into tens of billions of euros and help ease servicing costs on a public debt pile that, in terms of economic output, is among the biggest in the world.

Greece Is Quietly Backsliding on Reform

Greece needs public sector reform and investment, not more debt-fueled consumption.
By Phylis Papadavid
Bloomberg

Greece’s planned August exit from its third European Stability Mechanism bailout has triggered investor optimism. Its July 2017 bond issuance, the first in three years, was oversubscribed, as were subsequent issuances in February of this year. And yet financial investors should curb their optimism. Greece’s return to the markets, and its economic recovery, are likely to be a bumpy and slow -- especially if it continues to delay key reforms.

Clashes break out in Greece over foreclosures


By Associated Press March 14 at 12:34 PM
ATHENS, Greece — Five people were detained Wednesday during clashes between riot police and protesters attempting to disrupt a central Athens auction of foreclosed properties.

Left-wing activists have stepped up protests in recent weeks against online auctions as the government remains under pressure from bailout lenders to speed up the process and ease the strain on banks stemming from a huge backlog of nonperforming loans.

The auctions are required as part of the country’s international bailout, which is due to end in August. Creditors have also promised to deliver some debt relief for Greece if it fulfils all the conditions of the bailout.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Greece enters final round of reform talks with creditors


The Washington Post

By Associated Press February 26 at 11:21 AM
ATHENS, Greece — Greece entered a last round of reform talks with creditors Monday, just five months before the country’s massive rescue program ends — and with the government and central bank publicly disagreeing on how to finance the nation after the bailout.

Government officials said the talks with representatives of Greece’s European partners and the International Monetary Fund in Athens would cover privatizations and energy.

But the negotiations were upstaged by a continued spat between Greece’s central bank governor, Yannis Stournaras, and the government over financing policies after the bailout runs out in August. The country will then have to raise money from international investors in bond markets — at a much higher rate than bailout creditors charge.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Work has begun on whether Greece needs debt relief: EU rescue fund head

FEBRUARY 23, 2018 / 7:54 AM / UPDATED 4 HOURS AGO
Reuters Staff


TOKYO (Reuters) - Technical work has begun to determine if Greece requires debt relief after its expected exit from a bailout program later this year, the head of Europe’s rescue fund said on Friday.

Requiring investors to take a haircut, or accept losses on the value of government debt, would not be part of any restructuring once Greece exits its bailout program, said Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism, the euro zone rescue fund.

“The technical work has started so that we are ready by the summer when the program ends,” Regling told reporters after giving a speech in Tokyo.

Greece Approves Bribery Investigation Involving Political Elite


By Niki Kitsantonis

Feb. 22, 2018
ATHENS — After 20 hours of acrimonious debate, Greek lawmakers on Thursday approved the formation of a parliamentary committee to investigate accusations linking 10 high-profile politicians to bribery by a Swiss drug manufacturer.

The investigation, which will follow separate and secret votes for each of the 10 politicians, was backed both by members of the coalition government and by some in the opposition. It will examine whether the politicians took kickbacks from the pharmaceutical company Novartis, or were aware of illicit payments.

The list of people to be investigated is dominated by the Greek political elite: It includes two former prime ministers, Antonis Samaras and Panagiotis Pikramenos; the current central bank governor, Yannis Stournaras; and the European Union commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Greece, Turkey Try to Calm Tensions After Aegean Sea Crash

The prime ministers of Greece and Turkey worked to calm tensions after Greek coast guard vessel is damaged in a collision with a Turkish patrol boat in Aegean Sea.
Feb. 13, 2018, at 4:58 p.m.

US News

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-02-13/erdogan-warns-greece-cyprus-over-gas-search-aegean-islets

By DEREK GATOPOULOS and SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The prime ministers of Greece and Turkey worked late Tuesday to calm escalating tensions after a Greek coast guard vessel was damaged in a collision with a Turkish patrol boat in the Aegean Sea, the site of a boundary dispute.

A government official in Athens said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece and Turkish Prime Minister Benali Yildirim spoke by telephone about the circumstances of the boat crash. The official asked not to be named pending an official announcement.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Greece Takes Step to Normalcy With Bond as Bailout Nears End

By Sotiris Nikas  and Lyubov Pronina
8 Φεβρουαρίου 2018, 12:19 μ.μ. EET Updated on 8 Φεβρουαρίου 2018, 4:52 μ.μ. EET
Country to price seven-year bonds to yield-hungry markets
Debt relief discussion and a new monitoring scheme to come

Bloomberg

Greece will sell 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) of seven-year bonds in another step toward exiting a bailout program in August that has kept the nation afloat.

The offer for the 2025 notes will price to yield 3.5 percent, inside an initial target of about 3.75 percent, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak about it. Investor orders for the sale topped 6 billion euros, the people said. Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Nomura Holdings Inc are the bookrunners for the bond.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Investors Welcome Greece Back Out of the Naughty Corner: Gadfly


The Washington Post

By Mark Gilbert | Bloomberg January 25
As the global elite gathers in Davos for the World Economic Forum, the European Union has been applauded for its political and economic progress in the past year. And nowhere is the bloc’s newfound cohesion more evident than in Greece.

The country has been the main beneficiary of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s 2012 pledge to do “whatever it takes” to save the common-currency project -- even if the nation’s debt doesn’t qualify for the central bank’s bond-buying program.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Hedge Fund Sees Juice in Greek Rally as Yields Hit 2006 Low


By Todd White  and Sid Verma
9 Ιανουαρίου 2018, 3:59 μ.μ. EET Updated on 9 Ιανουαρίου 2018, 6:43 μ.μ. EET
Convergence trade remains favorite of Algebris Investments
Borrowing costs drop as traders eye recovery, end of bailout

One of Western Europe’s most dramatic bond-convergence trades this decade -- Greece over Germany -- looks like it will reward investors yet again in 2018.

London hedge fund Algebris Investments is among those betting economic momentum will take the country’s borrowing costs even closer to Germany’s after the Mediterranean country’s 10-year yield spread narrowed by about 44 basis points this month alone. Algebris says it may shrink by as much as 75 basis points.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Greece’s Olive Oil Industry Offers a Lesson on Economic Hurdles

The country is a major producer of ‘green gold,’ but sells much of it in bulk
The Wall Street Journal

By Nektaria Stamouli | Photographs by Andrea DiCenzo for The Wall Street Journal
Dec. 18, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET
106 COMMENTS
STREFI, Greece—Workers at Yiannis Skiadas ’ mountainside mill pressed prized Kalamata olives on a recent day to extract the thick, fragrant oil known regionally as “green gold”—most of which would get shipped abroad in bulk and blended into Italian olive oil.

Mr. Skiadas could earn almost three times as much by branding his oil and selling it himself. But that would require investing in every step from cultivation to marketing, and quick cash from Italian customers is appealing after a decade of economic pain in Greece.

“Thank God for the Italians,” he said.

Greek olive oil should be a shining example of the country’s export sector. Instead, it offers a lesson in why Greece remains deeply uncompetitive despite years of pressure to fix its economy.Greece has what should be significant competitive advantages, including a climate that is favorable for agriculture and a 22% drop in labor costs since 2010, around the start of the Greek debt crisis.

But the country has been unable to leverage its low cost base to pull itself out of economic malaise. The value of Greek exports fell last year, despite years of efforts aimed at promoting export-led growth. Just 2.5% of Greek enterprises are involved in export activity, according to a recent survey by Ernst & Young.

Bank lending is scarce in a country mired in debt. And Greece’s notoriously inefficient bureaucracy makes it time-consuming to secure health and safety approvals and export paperwork, according to Greek exporters.

Similar problems affect other Greek agricultural products from peaches to wine. Exports of textiles and household appliances have also slipped in recent years.

The failure of Greece’s olive-oil makers to break into the international market for branded oil is especially painful. Greece is the world’s No. 3 producer of olive oil, according to Eurostat, but just 4% of branded olive oil sold world-wide is Greek, according to a 2015 report by the National Bank of Greece .

The reason: Greek olive-oil producers have mostly stuck to making bulk oil, unable or unwilling to invest in making the branded product that can command lofty prices in foreign markets. Only 27% of Greek olive oil is exported as a branded product, compared with 50% from Spain and 80% from Italy.

“Greece hasn’t invested to create a brand name, as have Italy and Spain,” says Christina Sakellaridi, who heads the Greek Exporters Association. “Now it’s difficult to compete with them.”

By sticking with bulk oil rather than branded oil, Greece is forgoing about €250 million ($294 million) in revenue each year, according to the National Bank of Greece report, money the capital-starved country desperately needs.

Many Greek olive farms and mills are family-operated and have fewer than 10 employees, according to olive-growers’ associations. Their small size leaves them with little of the money and management skill needed to upgrade their products and establish a brand name.

For those who do invest, the payoff can be significant. Before the crisis, Georgios Skarpalezos sank money into new machinery for his mill. Now he makes extra virgin olive oil that he sells in, among other places, London’s Harrods department store. He makes as much as €4 a liter, while a middleman, usually an oil-mill owner, might make as little as 10 to 20 euro cents a liter on bulk oil.

“I cannot produce huge quantities, because I have to focus on the quality of the product,” said Mr. Skarpalezos, showing dark glass bottles designed to safeguard the oil.

Olive-oil producers also often need to import products such as Mr. Skarpalezos’ glass bottles and plastic caps.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Greece's Eurobank close to deal to sell Romanian assets to Banca Transilvania

NOVEMBER 10, 2017 / 10:47 AM / UPDATED AN HOUR AGO
Reuters Staff
1 MIN READ

Reuters

ATHENS, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Greece’s Eurobank said it is close to finalising a deal to sell its Romanian subsidiaries to Banca Transilvania.

The potential sale is part of a restructuring plan agreed by Greece’s third largest lender with European Union authorities, and includes Romanian units Bancpost, ERB Retail Servces IFN and ERB Leasing IFN.

Public debt, unemployment, big NPL pile weigh on Greece: central bank governor

NOVEMBER 10, 2017 / 11:57 AM / UPDATED 16 MINUTES AGO
Reuters Staff
2 MIN READ


Reuters

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s banks have shown progress in tackling a stockpile of non-performing loans, Bank of Greece governor Yiannis Stournaras said on Friday, but said it would remain a challenge for the country.

Greek banks are saddled with 103 billion euros in bad loans, equal to almost 60 percent of the economy, after years of financial crisis and crippling recession. The European Central Bank wants that reduced by 38 billion euros by the end of 2019.

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Turning Point for Greece

By Marcus Ashworth

Bloomberg

Nov 6, 2017 1:00 AM EST
Greece is taking a step closer to get the respect it deserves from Europe.Yields on the country's government bonds, which have already taken great strides lower this year, hit a new low last week on news the government is preparing a major debt swap. The exercise, first reported by Bloomberg News, should allow Greece to sell bonds in future -- and help end its dependence on the largess of its main creditors.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Refugees in Greece demand transfer to Germany, start hunger strike

NOVEMBER 1, 2017 / 3:35 PM / UPDATED 18 HOURS AGO
Karolina Tagaris, Deborah Kyvrikosaios
3 MIN READ
ATHENS (Reuters) - A group of mainly Syrian women and children who have been stranded in Greece pitched tents opposite parliament in Athens on Wednesday in a protest against delays in reuniting with relatives in Germany.

Some of the refugees, who say they have been in Greece for over a year, said they had begun a hunger strike.

“Our family ties our stronger than your illegal agreements,” read a banner held up by one woman, referring to deals on refugees between European Union nations.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Don't blame others for your problems, Germany's Schaeuble tells Greece

OCTOBER 25, 2017 / 12:03 AM / UPDATED 14 HOURS AGO

Reuters Staff

3 MIN READ


REUTERS

ATHENS (Reuters) - Outgoing German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble urged debt-wracked Greece to stop blaming others for its financial woes and stick to a reform agenda instead of relying on debt relief.

Schaeuble, a leading advocate of Greece’s tough austerity programs and one of Germany’s most powerful politicians, was elected speaker of its lower house of parliament on Tuesday.

The 75-year-old lawyer, whose no-nonsense approach on austerity made him a popular hate figure among Greeks, told Greek Skai TV that Athens must take responsibility for its fiscal difficulties and act on them.

Monday, September 25, 2017

EU ends Greece's deficit procedure in positive signal to markets

SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 / 12:04 PM / UPDATED AN HOUR AGO
Reuters Staff
2 MIN READ


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union states decided on Monday to close disciplinary procedures against Greece over its excessive deficit after improvements in Greece’s fiscal position, confirming the country’s recovery is on the right track.

The move, although largely symbolic, sends a new signal that Greece’s public finances are again under control, facilitating the country’s plans to tap markets after a successful issue of bonds in July which ended a three-year exile.

EU fiscal rules oblige member states to keep their budget deficits below 3 percent of their economic output or face sanctions that could entail hefty fines, although so far no country has received a financial penalty.

Greece had a 0.7 percent budget surplus in 2016, and is projected to maintain its fiscal position within EU rules’ limits this year.

“In the light of this, the Council (of EU states) found that Greece fulfils the conditions for closing the excessive deficit procedure,” the EU said in a note.

“After many years of severe difficulties, Greece’s finances are in much better shape. Today’s decision is therefore welcome”, Estonia’s finance minister Toomas Toniste said.

The EU states’ decision confirmed a proposal by the EU executive commission in July to end the disciplinary procedure for Greece.

The economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the decision was “a recognition of the tremendous efforts and sacrifices the Greek people have made to restore stability to their country’s public finances.”

But he stressed that Greece still needs to positively exit its bailout program which ends in August after a third review of the country’s reforms by international creditors.

“There needs to be constructive cooperation between all institutions and the Greek authorities to ensure a smooth and swift conclusion of the third review, with no unnecessary drama,” Moscovici said.

Friday, September 22, 2017

As Crisis Ebbs, Tsipras Promises Doubters a 'New' Greece


By REUTERSSEPT.
21, 2017, 9:57 A.M. E.D.T.

ATHENS — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has found a precious commodity he hopes can help him and the nation turn a corner after years of crisis and austerity -- time.

Since taking power in early 2015, he has spent most of his days and nights in firefighting mode, battling Greece's creditors to renegotiate the harsh terms of a series of bailout deals.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It's Bailout-Review Time in Greece and Markets Are Wary - Again

By Sotiris Nikas  and Viktoria Dendrinou
20 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017, 5:00 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Crunch time for Greece as review tests bailout-exit capability
IMF demands on Greek banks, debt relief among review issues
The moment of reckoning may soon be upon Greece.

As the country enters the final year of its bailout, questions remain on whether it will be able to stand on its own feet when the rescue program ends. In the immediate term, with creditor representatives descending upon Athens last week for the third review, other concerns loom large: Will this review of the bailout program be different from the previous two? What role will the International Monetary Fund play? Will Greece complete the 95 measures in the review in time?