Greece and its private creditors say they have made progress during talks in Athens on a debt-swap accord needed to lower the country’s borrowings and clear the way for a second round of international aid.
“The elements of an unprecedented voluntary private-sector involvement are coming into place,” ha detto Charles Dallara, direttore dell'Istituto di Finanza Internazionale, a Washington-based lobby group representing creditors negotiating with the Government.
European officials and the nation’s private bondholders agreed in October to implement a 50 per cent cut in the face value of just more than €200 billion ($320 miliardo) of Greek debt by voluntarily exchanging outstanding bonds for new securities, with a goal of reducing Greece’s borrowings to 120 per cent of gross domestic product by 2020.
An accord with bondholders is key to a second financing package for the cash-strapped country, which faces a €14.5 billion bond payment on March 20.
“Now is the time to … finalise this historic deal and contribute to the economic stability of Greece, the euro area and the world economy,” Dallara said in a joint statement with Jean Lemierre, a special adviser to the chairman of BNP Paribas.
A 4-hour meeting with Institute officials and Prime Minister Lucas Papademos broke up about 1 am local time on Saturday in Athens.
The two sides were in contact by telephone later in the day, said a Greek finance ministry official.
An institute steering committee team of experts was in Athens and working with the Government toward an agreement, ha detto.
The parties were nearing an agreement under which old bonds would be swapped for new securities with coupons averaging between 4 per cento e 4.5 percento, said a person with knowledge of the discussions.
Unresolved issues remained, such as whether private investors would be treated differently from official creditors in the event of a later default, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks were confidential.
The objective is to reach a deal by today, the person said, when finance ministers from the eurozone meet.
The two sides have struggled to reach an accord on the coupon and maturity of the new bonds, which would determine losses for investors.
Il Financial Times, citing people close to the discussions, reported that officials from the European Commission, Banca centrale europea e Internazionale di Fondo Monetario (FMI) called for an interest rate averaging 3.5 per cento di nuove obbligazioni, dopo gli obbligazionisti privati avevano già concordato un 4 cento per coupon.
Il Wall Street Journal, citando una persona con conoscenza diretta dei colloqui, ha detto ieri che le discussioni abbiano bloccato di nuovo come il FMI e la Germania hanno spinto per una cedola media di meno di 4 per cento sui nuovi titoli.
Il portavoce dell'Istituto Frank Vogl ha negato che i colloqui si erano interrotti.
Dallara and Lemierre are “pienamente disponibile alla leadership del governo greco per telefono in caso di necessità,” ha detto.