Category Archives: Greece

(Forbes) Portugal Is Back From The Brink Of Economic Collapse — Could Greece Be Next?

(Forbes)

Photographer: Henrique Almeida/Bloomberg

Seven years after sliding into the swamp of depression, Portugal is still a rich country, at least according to one measure, per capita GDP, which stood at 22347.03 U.S. dollars in 2016.

That’s 177% of the world’s average, and close to its all-time high of 22829.85 USD in 2008, according to Tradingeconomics.com.

Portugal’s Key Metrics

Metric Value
Per Capita GDP 22347*
Per Capita GDP PPP 27007*
GDP Annual Growth Rate 2.9%
Global X MSCI Portugal Index YTD (PGAL) 33.73%

*2016

Source: Tradingeconomics.com 9/21/17

Then there’s human development, an index in which Portugal ranks among the top fifty countries in the world, close to Spain and Greece.

Portugal’s Human Development Metrics (2015)

Country Overall Ranking Life Expectancy Expected Years of Schooling
Greece 29/188 81.10 17.2
Spain 27 82.38 17.7
Portugal 42 80.37 16.6
France 21 82.57 16.30

Source: Human Development Report

Portugal is recovering from the deep recession that accompanied the debt crisis of 2010-14. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 2.90% in the second quarter of 2017, thanks to a rebound in investment spending. That’s well above the 1.22% 1996—2017 average, and a big comeback from the -5% during the bottom of  the 2010-14 depression.

Debt rating agencies have taken notice. Last week, S&P Global Ratings revised the country’s sovereign credit rating to “BBB-” from “BB+” and assigned a stable outlook.

My recent book The Ten Golden Rules Of Leadership is published by AMACOM, and can be found here.

(ECO) Grécia sai do Procedimento por Défice Excessivo

(ECO) O Conselho Europeu confirmou esta segunda-feira a recomendação da Comissão Europeia para retirar a Grécia do Procedimento por Défice Excessivo.

Portugal saiu oficialmente em junho. Três meses depois, é a vez de a Grécia sair do Procedimento por Défice Excessivo. O Conselho Europeu retificou esta segunda-feira a decisão de julho da Comissão Europeia.

Depois de muitos anos de dificuldades severas, as finanças gregas estão em muito melhor estado“, afirmou o representante da Estónia, Toomas Tõniste, cujo país ocupa neste momento na presidência do Conselho Europeu. “Estamos agora no último ano do programa de ajuda financeira, e o progresso que está a ser feito irá permitir à Grécia ter acesso ao financiamento nos mercados financeiros a juros sustentáveis”, explicou o ministro das Finanças estónio.

Tal como Portugal, a Grécia passará agora a estar sob as regras do braço preventivo das regras europeias. O país deixa de ter as suas finanças públicas sob vigilância reforçada de Bruxelas, goza de alguma flexibilização das regras orçamentais e liberta-se da ameaça das sanções por não cortar o défice.

Segundo o Conselho Europeu, as autoridades gregas comprometeram-se a manter um saldo primário de 3,5% do PIB até 2022. Ainda que para este ano esteja projetado um ligeiro défice, as autoridades europeias estão confiantes de que o equilíbrio orçamental foi atingido. Além disso, o Conselho Europeu espera que a Grécia diminua o seu rácio de dívida de 179%.

O Procedimento por Défice Excessivo à Grécia tinha sido aberto em abril de 2009. Nesse ano, o défice atingiu os 15,1%. Sete anos depois, em 2016, a Grécia atingiu um excedente orçamental de 0,7%. A Comissão Europeia prevê que o défice este ano seja de 1,2%.

Apesar das finanças públicas estarem em melhor estado, o mesmo não se pode dizer da economia grega. O PIB retraiu no final de 2016, tendo depois recuperado ligeiramente no primeiro trimestre deste ano. No segundo trimestre, a economia da Grécia avançou 0,8%, ainda aquém de crescimento mais significativos.

A 16 de junho, o Conselho de ministros das Finanças da União Europeia (Ecofin) formalizou, em Luxemburgo, a saída oficial de Portugal e da Croácia do PDE.

(ECO) Fundos dizem adeus à dívida portuguesa e olá à grega

(ECO) Com os juros da dívida portuguesa a descer e as obrigações a subir, os fundos de investimento começam a escolher dívidas de maior retorno como a grega ou a cipriota.

A Standard & Poor’s retirou a dívida portuguesa do “lixo”, considerando-a agora uma dívida de qualidade. Os juros da dívida atingiram mínimos de dois anos e as obrigações subiram. E embora estas pareçam boas notícias para os portugueses, para alguns fundos de investimento não são. É o caso do Blue Bay Asset Mangement e da Old Mutual Global Investors, que veem agora retornos mais altos em dívidas de mais risco, como a grega ou a cipriota.

A taxa a dez anos está a subir, mas continuam abaixo dos 2,50%, tendo já atingido os 2,387%, o valor mais baixo desde o final de setembro de 2015. E esta tendência de queda é transversal à maioria das maturidades, com a taxa do prazo a dois anos abaixo de zero. Mark Downing, investidor do Blue Bay, afirma à Bloomberg que “o dinheiro fácil” poderá já ter acabado. “Muitos dos retornos que tivemos vieram de Portugal e há mais a retirar de outras dívidas”, considera Dowding. “Temos fundos nos quais podemos investir, mas temos preferido o Chipre ou a Grécia a Portugal.”

“Muitos dos retornos que tivemos vieram de Portugal e há mais a retirar de outras dívidas. Temos fundos nos quais podemos investir, mas temos preferido o Chipre ou a Grécia a Portugal.”

Mark Dowding

Investidor do Blue Bay Asset Management

A dívida portuguesa continua a ser considerada “lixo” por duas das três principais agências de rating, mas também estas mantêm uma perspetiva positiva, com muitos a preverem uma subida de rating nos próximos 12 meses. Para Nicholas Wall, gestor de portefólio do Old Mutual, o fundo não está preparado para voltar a apostar nas obrigações nacionais, visto que “já aproveitámos a melhor parte do rally”. “Com estesspreads e tendo outras dívidas como da Grécia e do Chipre, não vamos atrás [da dívida portuguesa] por agora”, considera.

Ainda que existam dúvidas acerca da sustentabilidade da dívida grega quando o país terminar o programa de resgate, no próximo ano, os investidores têm contado com um retorno de 17% durante este ano, o valor mais alto da Europa, enquanto a dívida portuguesa tem gerado 11% de retorno.

Com o custos de financiamento a descer, os mercados estarão atentos à próxima emissão de dívida. A última vez que Portugal foi a mercado para se financiar em 1.750 milhões de euros obteve taxas negativas recorde. No prazo a 12 meses, a taxa ficou nos -0,345%. “Algumas pessoas que acompanham a história portuguesa poderão deixar de ser credores a longo prazo”, conclui Nicholas Wall, acrescentando que estes “se voltarão a envolver” se a pressão vendedora aumentar.

(BBG) The IMF Needs to Stop Torturing Greece

(BBG) The fund should write down the country’s debt, not demand another bank recapitalization.

Friend or frenemy?

 Photographer: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

“Beware of Greeks bearing gifts,” wrote the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the 21st century, it’s the Greeks who should have been more careful about accepting offerings — specifically from the International Monetary Fund, which is now torturing the country in a misguided effort to get its money back.

Greek officials have worked hard to shore up their economy and finances. From 2010 through 2016, the government achieved the all-but-impossible task of shrinking its primary budget deficit by nearly 18 percent of gross domestic product, and is finally in surplus. After a brutal contraction of almost 30 percent, the economy is exhibiting positive signs in almost every area — industrial production, new automobile registrations, construction permits, tourist arrivals.

The banking sector, too, has made great strides. After two full inspections of their loan books — first by BlackRock in 2013 and later by the European Central Bank’s Single Supervisory Mechanism — the banks have been fully recapitalized twice. They have bolstered their provisions against bad loans, and their capital ratios are now significantly higher than the European average, providing a buffer against any future losses.

Greece, however, still carries a heavy burden: the roughly 250 billion euros that the IMF and its European partners lent the country to save its economy and most likely the entire euro area. This stock of official bail-out debt remains due even though private creditors have been amply haircut, restructured and wiped out. In 2012, for example, the government’s private-sector bondholders were forced to accept a loss of nearly 80 percent. Greek bank shareholders have seen their investments wiped out twice in recapitalizations.

The IMF could write off its debt and lighten Greece’s burden. This would benefit the country’s long-term economic health, and therefore Europe’s, too. Instead, the fund is demanding further austerity measures and insisting on “structural” reforms of dubious value. By sticking to this economic ideology, it is neutering the nascent economic growth and stifling any hope of real prosperity.

The IMF came forward as Greece’s savior during Europe’s financial crisis, but now it looks more like a frenemy. Consider the history of the debt. When a country joins the IMF, it is assigned an initial “quota,” based primarily on its GDP. A member country can typically borrow up to 145 percent of its quota annually and up to 435 percent cumulatively — or possibly more in “exceptional circumstances.” These are essentially credit limits, designed to not overburden the borrower with debt. Yet amid the crisis, the IMF agreed to lend an eye-popping 3,212 percent of Greece’s quota. Together with loans from the fund’s European partners, Greece’s official-sector debt amounts to more than 135 percent of GDP.

The IMF knew perfectly well that its loans could never be repaid. I have heard this directly from officials involved in the process. All the participants at the time — including U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet and IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn — made a conscious and very political (not financial) decision to prevent the crisis from spreading and keep the euro area together. Without such an enormous loan, Greece would have certainly been forced to leave the currency union.

So what to do? Greece sorely needs to regain investor and consumer confidence today. For this to happen, the country’s official sector lenders need to write down the debt or convert it into equity, chalking it up to the cost of keeping the euro area together.

The IMF’s stance is preposterous. It is motivated by self-interest, rather than by what would be best for Greece. The fund has simultaneously tried to block Greece’s return to the capital markets and attempted to undermine Europe’s new banking union by demanding yet another recapitalization. Considering that the country — like all euro members — can’t achieve macroeconomic adjustment by devaluing its currency, extreme care must be taken. Consumer and investor confidence, not exports, will ultimately drive growth.

Lack of confidence is undermining the Greek economy. Sentiment indicators have remained in negative territory, even though industrial production has been growing since 2015. The gloom has prevented renascent growth from prompting a new cycle of investment, as it normally would. Without that positive feedback, growth can’t accelerate.

The banking system doesn’t need another recapitalization. Loans are best worked out by institutions that have a relationship with borrowers and can find solutions without creating unnecessary disruption. This is precisely how the U.S. went about restructuring troubled mortgages with its Home Affordable Refinance Program, which laid the foundation for an economic and housing recovery. This could be a model for Greece.

Greece has done its part, by pursuing legal reforms that provide banks with new tools to resolve troubled loans. But the IMF began undermining the new legislation even before it took effect, arguing that it would never work. This is counterproductive because it dissuades borrowers and lenders from cooperating to find solutions that make the debt burden manageable and ultimately allow businesses to return to growth. Backstabbing Greece as it tries to make progress is not responsible behavior.

Meanwhile, the negative effects of the IMF’s “plan” are easy to see: further erosion of investor confidence in Greece and an undermining of European banking regulators’ political independence. All parties need to focus on fostering stability and solvency, leaving past politics at the door. This is the missing ingredient which, when found, will bring the recovery that the Greek public has been waiting for.

Private investors have suffered. The Greek people have suffered mightily. Now the IMF has to do its part by writing off Greece’s debt, ceasing demands for another recapitalization and letting Europe’s leaders take charge.

(OBS) O caso do estatístico grego -Helena Garrido

(OBS) O homem que calculou o verdeiro défice público grego foi condenado a dois anos de pena suspensa. Um caso revelador das fragilidades da construção europeia. A independência passa a exigir heróis.

Tudo começou em 2010. Andreas Georgiou, um grego a viver nos Estados Unidos e a trabalhar para o FMI, resolve aceitar a liderança da autoridade estatística grega, que passaria a ter o estatuto de independência há muito exigido pelas entidades europeias. Nesta altura já estava identificado o problema das contas públicas gregas. O défice público estimado para o ano de 2009 era de 13,6% do PIB em Abril de 2010. O novo presidente limita-se a voltar a avaliar os números, na sequência até de reservas que ainda eram colocadas pelas autoridades europeias – que nesta altura já estão a emprestar dinheiro à Grécia. E em Outubro de 2010 Georgiou entrega um novo valor: 15,4% do PIB, mais 1,8 pontos percentuais que a estimativa anterior. E é aqui a origem de todo o processo judicial que cai sobre Andreas Georgiou a partir de 2011 e do qual se tem defendido com recursos próprios.

Numa história que envolve pormenores tão rocambolescos como a espionagem do seu mail — e que pode ser lida em pormenor aqui –, o então presidente do instituto de estatística começa a viver um pesadelo em 2011. É nesta altura que a justiça grega aceita investigar a acusação de que Andreas Georgiou inflacionou o défice público grego de 2009 prejudicando o país. Entre os mais variados processos, com recursos e anulações, a última decisão condena Andreas Georgiou a dois anos de prisão, neste caso por não ter levado a votação o valor que apurou para o défice público.

Nestes seis anos, o homem que desempenhou a sua profissão de estatístico de forma independente, que expôs a realidade financeira que os governos gregos anteriores tinham escondido, tem sido obrigado a defender-se por sua conta e risco, sem qualquer apoio institucional.Neste artigo da Bloomberg são revelados os apoios que tem tido de colegas e amigos para suportar os custos da sua defesa.

O caso do estatístico Georgiou mostra até que ponto pode ser perigoso exercer com independência a liderança de instituições e cumprir as regras europeias ou até estatísticas. Para respeitar as regras europeias – que deveriam aliás ser as de qualquer democracia -, o presidente de uma instituição pode enfrentar pena de prisão no seu país, pode ser acusado de trair a pátria. E se isso acontecer tem de se defender sozinho, tem de arranjar dinheiro para advogados.

Nenhum caso foi tão longe como este. Em Portugal também ouvimos e lemos, em momentos mais dramáticos, acusações de traição da pátria quando quem está a governar quer esconder informação. Na realidade, o que se está é a ameaçar os interesses do governo instalado na altura. Nunca se chegou ao ponto de processar ninguém mas, no último ano, por exemplo, assistimos ao condicionamento de instituições como o Conselho de Finanças Públicas.

O que aconteceu ao ex-presidente daquele que é o equivalente grego do nosso Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE) expõe, de forma kafkiana, as incongruências da construção europeia. Enquanto presidente da autoridade nacional de estatística, que responde perante o Eurostat, entidade independente ligada à Comissão Europeia, Georgiou, como todos os seus colegas, é obrigado a respeitar as regras e as metodologias europeias. Mas perante o sistema judicial nacional está exposto a acusações de “inflacionar” números, transformado no “culpado” que desculpabiliza os erros dos governos.

Foi a falta de independência e poder das entidades que contabilizam o défice público que nos conduziu à “surpresa” da crise das dívidas soberanas na Zona Euro. Em Portugal, ainda que numa dimensão mais reduzida e sem o mesmo dramatismo, também se descobriu em 2011 que havia despesa não contabilizada, que o défice afinal era maior do que se dizia. A falta de transparência das contas públicas jogou até contra nós na altura do pedido do empréstimo – demasiado curto para as necessidades que tínhamos.

Como a independência política das instituições parece requerer cada vez mais heróis e o tempo não é de heróis, corremos um risco sério de assistirmos à repetição do passado. Por aqui, em Portugal, condiciona-se atacando ou tentando descredibilizar quem tem poder para ser independente ou não dando às instituições os recursos necessários. É a primeira fase de limitação da independência que dá aos governos o poder absoluto que não deveriam ter. As regras europeias podiam e devia dar uma ajuda, protegendo quem como Georgiu luta pela independência e transparência da informação.

(EUobserver) Macron to ‘rebuild’ EU with citizen conventions

(EUobserver)

Macron in Athens: “we must have the courage to find again the path of democracy.” (Photo: Emmanuel Macron/Twitter)

French president Emmanuel Macron wants to launch citizens’ debates across Europe in order to “rebuild” the EU in a more democratic way.

“Europe can continue its destiny only if it is chosen and wanted,” he said in Athens on Thursday (7 September).

In a speech symbolically delivered in “the cradle of democracy”, on the Pnyx hill, with the Acropolis behind him, the French leader called on Europeans to “have the courage to find again the path of democracy.”

He said that he wanted to organise a series of “democratic conventions” in the first half of 2018 in EU countries that were willing to do so.

He explained that “the peoples of Europe will be consulted and will debate on principles proposed by the governments.”

Then a “roadmap for Europe in the next 10 or 15 years” would be elaborated upon the citizens’ ideas.

Referring to previously lost EU referendums in France, Netherlands, and Ireland, he noted that “the European project was turned down by peoples” but that those peoples “were not heard”.

“In Europe today, sovereignty, democracy, and trust are in danger,” Macron said.

“We must rediscover the enthusiasm that the union was founded upon and change, not with technocrats and not with bureaucracy,” he added.

Macron’s proposal on conventions was reminiscent of how he launched his own political career last year.

He started with a questionnaire to citizens when he created his political movement, which helped him to make a “diagnosis” of voters’ expectations ahead of the 2017 elections.

His Athens gambit was also part of a strategy to shape EU politics, and to put France and Macron himself centre stage.

Macron, who has met almost all EU leaders in recent weeks, has said he will soon make 10 “concrete propositions” to rebuild Europe.

He intends to present them after the German elections on 24 September, but before German coalition talks start, so that they can be taken into account in the discussions to elaborate the next German government’s programme.

Macron gave some indications on Thursday of what he will propose.

He said he was in favour of transnational lists for the European elections. He also said that he wanted a eurozone parliament “which would enable the creation of democratic responsibility.”

The strengthening of the eurozone will form the bulk of Macron’s propositions.

Jab at IMF

Repeating ideas first aired last week, the French president said in Athens that he wanted a eurozone budget and a European finance minister. He added that the eurozone should have its own capacity to manage financial crises.

He criticised the EU management of the Greek crisis, in particular its call to involve the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2010.

“I don’t think it was the right method for the IMF to supervise European programmes and intervene in the way it did,” he said, pleasing his Greek hosts.

“The IMF had no place in EU matters,” Macron said.

Macron, who received the Order of the Redeemer, Greece’s highest decoration, said: “We still find in Greece the exacerbated problems Europe is suffering from.”

He called for debt relief for Greece and urged the IMF not to ask for new requirements to go down that path.

(EUobserver) EU brushes off ‘democratic scandal’ of Greek bailout

(EUobserver)

The European Commission has defended its role in the Greek bailout despite Pierre Moscovici, the EU finance commissioner, having called the Eurogroup “a democratic scandal.”

The Eurogroup is a club of eurozone states’ finance ministers presided over by Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem but dominated in practice by his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble.

  • Moscovici (l) reportedly caved into Dijsselbloem demands on the Greek bailout (Photo: eu2017mt/Flickr)

It imposed its will on Greece when the country was teetering on the verge of economic collapse and a eurozone exit in 2015, in exchange for access to bailout funds from the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund.

A Commission spokesperson on Tuesday (5 September) noted that the EU executive had “invested a lot of time and effort and resources to keep Greece in the eurozone.”

But Pierre Moscovici, the EU finance commissioner, took a more critical line.

Over the weekend, he described the Eurogroup as a “democratic scandal”, given that its talks are held behind closed doors and without any public accountability.

“Let’s face it, the Eurogroup as we know it is rather a pale imitation of a democratic body,” he said in his blog on Saturday (2 September).

Moscovici said the governance behind the EU’s economic and monetary union had also lacked proper democratic oversight.

“Sometimes in the past, when we look at Greece, it has been close to a democratic scandal,” he said.

Double standards

Moscovici’s admission is all the more striking given the recent publication of a book by Greece’s former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis.

Varoufakis, who steered Greek talks at the Eurogroup until his resignation in July 2015, provides a detailed account of the Commission’s double-standards during the initial rounds.

He said that Moscovici would agree in private to easing the austerity measures but, in the Eurogroup, the Commission’s representative would then reject everything in favour of harsh measures driven by Dijsselbloem and Schaeuble.

In one private meeting in Dijsselbloem’s office, Varoufakis said that Moscovici had even capitulated to Dijsselbloem, despite having previously agreed to concessions that would render the Greek programme more flexible.

Dijsselbloem refused to agree to the measures proposed by the Commission. Varoufakis said that Moscovici had responded to Dijsselbloem with “whatever the Eurogroup president says” in a voice that quavered with dejection.

“During the Eurogroup meeting, whenever I looked at him [Moscovici] I imagined the horror Jacques Delors or any of the EU’s founding fathers would have felt had they observed the scene in Jeroen’s [Dijsselbloem’s] office,” writes Varoufakis.

Greece is now facing years of austerity as its international creditors continue to dispute how to grapple the recession-hit country’s mountain of debt.

The International Monetary Fund, one of Greece’s three creditors, is pushing for concessions for debt relief against a resistance led by Germany and some other EU states.

Most of the bailout funds have gone towards paying off international loans and proved beneficial to German and French banks that were massively exposed to Greek public debt in the lead up to the financial crisis.

According to one study, Germany had also ended up with large profits, yielding interest savings on German bonds of more that €100 billion during the period of 2010 to 2015 from the Greek debt crisis.

(JE) Syriza retoma agenda política ‘radical’ para atrair apoiantes

(JE) “Tornou-se importante para o Syriza lembrar ao seu círculo eleitoral que ainda tem uma agenda ativista radical e que não amoleceu perante a pressão dos monitores de resgate financeiro”, explica o comentador político Aris Hatzis.

Os sucessivos apertos financeiros e reformas impostas pelo programa de resgate financeiro foram um golpe duro para a Grécia e para o partido no poder, o Syriza. Com a popularidade em queda vertiginosa nas sondagens, a coligação da esquerda radical, liderada por Alexis Tsipras, primeiro-ministro grego, procura agora reavivar algumas das suas ideologias consideradas radicais para atrair os seus principais apoiantes.

“Tornou-se importante para o Syriza lembrar ao seu círculo eleitoral que ainda tem uma agenda ativista radical e que não amoleceu perante a pressão dos monitores de resgate financeiro”, explica Aris Hatzis, professor de direito da Universidade de Atenas e comentador político.

Entre as medidas que o Syriza tem vindo a adotar nos últimos meses está o apertar do cerco aos tradicionais “inimigos do partido”: advogados e médicos de classes abastadas, académicos formados no estrangeiro e investidores privados. A nova legislação aprovada por Alexis Tsipras estipula um reforço do volume de impostos sobre estes profissionais e dos padrões académicos.

Os analistas acreditam que o Syriza quer, com estas medidas adotadas, recuperar o seu posicionamento na fação mais à esquerda e mostrar que este não ficou comprometido com o programa de assistência financeira ao país. Isto acontece depois de a Grécia concluir com sucesso a segunda revisão do resgate, com amplos elogios dos credores, União Europeia e Fundo Monetário Internacional (FMI).

Nas pesquisas de opinião, o partido conservador da Nova Democracia lidera as preferências dos gregos com dois dígitos de avanço sobre a Syriza. Nas ruas, a onda de protestos contra o Governo e as medidas de austeridade não para de aumentar, apesar dos sinais de retoma na economia.

Atenas voltou ao mercado de dívida soberana, pela primeira vez em três anos, em julho, com uma emissão de títulos de 3 mil milhões de euros. O Governo grego está concentrado na implementação de reformas económicas, depois de ter chegado a acordo com os parceiros europeus para continuar a receber financiamento do Banco Central Europeu (BCE) e Comissão Europeia no valor de 86 mil milhões de euros.

(Ekathimerini) Gov’t sources see Erdogan tactics behind increase in migrant arrivals

(Ekathimerini)

There are fears within the ranks of the government that a new intensified influx of undocumented migrants from neighboring Turkey is happening with the blessings of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan though the development is also being viewed as potential leverage with the European Union with which Ankara’s relations are being sorely tested.

Although arrivals from Turkey are still way below the heights they reached at the peak of the refugee crisis in 2015, they have increased in recent weeks with more than 1,000 migrants and refugees landing on the islands of the eastern Aegean last week.

Government sources believe this increase is not accidental, but is occurring as Turkish authorities turn a blind eye to human smuggling along the country’s coastline, and is expected to continue. The same sources do not connect Ankara’s stance on the refugee issue to its cultivation of tensions with Athens in the Aegean – recent weeks have seen a spike in Turkish violations of Greek air space despite the moratorium that usually applies over summer – but with the recent deterioration of relations between Ankara and Brussels.

As government sources note, by allowing the increased influx of migrants heading to Europe, Erdogan is seeking to send a warning as Turkey’s EU membership talks appear to be headed for collapse.

Meanwhile the government is bracing for the beginning of returns to Greece of migrants from Germany and other European countries.

Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas confirmed, in comments to The Guardian last week, that returns are to begin in September. Mouzalas said he was unsure where the new arrivals would be hosted but insisted that conditions at state-run reception centers have improved.

Human rights groups have consistently decried conditions at many venues, particularly on the islands of the eastern Aegean, which are currently operating at double their capacity as thousands of migrants await the outcome of asylum applications or deportation.

Tensions have been building on Lesvos, Samos and Chios, both in the centers and in the local communities where tolerance of growing migrant populations is being tested.

(JN) Grécia suspende publicação dos dados preliminares do PIB

(JN“Divergências” no apuramento dos dados estão por detrás da decisão. A última vez que a Grécia divulgou dados do PIB anunciou uma contracção da economia de 0,1%. 15 dias depois, quando revelou os dados mais pormenorizados anunciou que a economia afinal tinha crescido 0,4%.

Grécia suspende publicação dos dados preliminares do PIB

Os países da Zona Euro reportam sempre uma primeira leitura do produto interno bruto (PIB), que se trata da estimativa rápida, onde apenas revelam a evolução da economia, sem mais dados. 15 dias depois reportam mais informação. No caso de Atenas, nos últimos trimestres estas duas datas de publicação têm ditado números muito diferentes. Esta é a razão de a Grécia ter decidido suspender a publicação destes dados iniciais, revela a Reuters.

A última que a Grécia publicou dados do PIB foi em Maio, revelando a estimativa para o PIB do primeiro trimestre do ano. Na altura reportou uma contracção da economia de 0,1%. 15 dias depois publicou a actualização dos dados, reportando um crescimento económico de 0,4%. E este não foi um caso isolado. Em Março, o instituto de estatística do país, o ELSTAT, revelou que a economia helénica tinha contraído 1,2% no último trimestre do ano passado. 15 dias depois, quando publicou os dados mais detalhados revelou que, afinal, a economia tinha contraído apenas 0,4%.

Fonte oficial do ELSTAT explicou à Reuters que esta discrepância de leituras levou a que fosse decidido suspender esta primeira leitura. E justificou a diferença de valores com o facto de não haver informação completa na primeira publicação.

“Não temos todos os dados necessários a tempo das estimativas rápidas. Só temos dados para os dois primeiros meses do trimestre do desemprego e não temos os dados finais da balança de conta corrente”, explicou fonte oficial do instituto de estatísticas helénico.

“Queremos avaliar a disponibilidade das fontes de informação necessárias e melhorar a consistência das estimativas”.

A maioria dos países da Zona Euro publica a estimativa do PIB 45 dias depois do trimestre terminar e 15 depois publicado os dados mais detalhados. Portugal é um deles. A estimativa rápida do PIB do segundo trimestre do ano será conhecida a 14 de Agosto. E a leitura seguinte é publicada a 31 de Agosto.

A Reuters adianta que a Grécia não ficará como o único país a não reportar a estimativa rápida do PIB. Irlanda e Luxemburgo não revelam estes dados.

(BBG) Editorial Board:The Scandalous Persecution of a Greek Whistle-Blower

(BBG) Andreas Georgiou is still being punished for cleaning up his country’s public accounts.

Just doing his job.

Photographer: Roy Gutman/MCT via Getty Images

The statistician who exposed the true extent of Greece’s fiscal collapse must think that doing the right thing was the worst decision he ever made. Andreas Georgiou has been vilified at home and charged with multiple violations of the country’s civil and criminal law. An appeals court has just upheld his conviction for a minor procedural offense, giving him a suspended sentence, and with more serious charges still pending, his protracted legal ordeal isn’t over yet.

This officially sanctioned persecution is disgraceful and ought to stop. The European Union has criticized the Greek authorities for their actions in the case, but to no great effect. That needs to change.

Georgiou was recruited in 2010 from the International Monetary Fund to clean up Greece’s public accounts. For years, Greek politicians had leaned on national statisticians to disguise the extent of public borrowing. When Athens asked the EU and the IMF for help, they demanded an accurate accounting. Georgiou found that the budget deficit was 15.4 percent of gross domestic product, much higher than previously thought.

That number was the benchmark used to calculate the size of Greece’s bailout and the degree of budget tightening demanded in return — prompting allegations that Georgiou had manipulated the figures, siding with foreign creditors against his country. His persecution at the hands of the press and his own government began.

The appeals court found Georgiou guilty of failing to consult the board of the statistical agency he led. (Georgiou suspended board meetings after finding that one of its members had hacked into his emails.) Further appeals are possible so the conviction may yet be overturned. Meanwhile, much more serious charges of cooking the books and acting against the national interest have not been resolved.

Throughout Georgiou’s time in charge, the EU’s own statistical agency, Eurostat, approved his work. That work was undertaken in the first place because the EU deemed it essential. The Greek government, under EU pressure, is paying only part of his heavy legal costs, and the administration of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras continues to make him a scapegoat for Greece’s economic disaster.

This travesty has gone on far too long. The Greek government should recognize Georgiou as a brave civil servant who did his job, indemnify him for his legal costs, and press for a prompt resolution of the remaining issues. And the European Union should insist more firmly on all of the above.

+++ P.O. (FT) Euro-zone officials in warning on Greece statistics trial ‘farce’

P.O.

A statistics trial “farce” as correctly the FT puts it, is the kind of “show” we usually see in Third World dictatorships, that want to maintain appearances, even if they are the only ones that believe in them.

In this Greek affair every single party involved, with no exceptions, is to be blamed, for indecent behavior, or even a criminal one.

The former Greek governments, the current one, Mr Aléxis Tsípras that rejected a first proposed deal only to accept a second one much worse, the SYRISA Party, the International Monetary Fund, Goldman Sachs that helped manipulate accounts, all the European Union entities that were always aware of what was going on, France and Germany that did nothing except bailout their own banks and financially profit from the crisis, the European Central Bank, and finally all the other Euro zone Countries that allowed this Greek tragedy to continue just to keep this virtual reality game going on.

There are no innocents!

Not even the Greeks!

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

 

Eurozone officials in warning on Greece statistics trial ‘farce’

By Jim Brunsden and Arthur Beesley in Brussels and Kerin Hope in Athens, Source: FT.com

Senior eurozone officials have warned that the continued prosecution in Greece of its former statistics chief is threatening to drive a wedge between Athens and its euro area creditors, only weeks after the country brokered a deal on the next stages of its €86bn bailout.

A suspended sentence handed down this week against Andreas Georgiou has prompted consternation among EU policymakers, reviving what many capitals fear is a series of politically motivated trials intended to restore the economic reputation of previous governments.

The long-running affair is likely to be put on the agenda of eurozone finance ministers in September amid “concern about the conviction across institutions”, said a diplomat. The judicial proceedings centre on Mr Georgiou’s time in charge of Elstat, the independent statistics agency set up as a condition of the first Greek bailout.

In remarks on Twitter that reflect deep unease in Brussels at Mr Georgiou’s conviction, Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission vice-president, said he was following developments with concern. It was “important that [the] independence of Elstat and people who do their jobs are protected in line with the law”, said Mr Dombrovskis, who has responsibility for euro affairs.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Dombrovskis said the independence of national statistics offices was a “key pillar of the proper functioning” of the euro and “one of the main elements forming the trust amongst euro area member states”.

“This is why it is protected in EU law. This is why it cannot be challenged.”

In an informal, written account of Mr Georgiou’s trial in an Athens appeal court, a European statistics expert called as a defence witness described the case as “an intimidating pre-set farce”.

The account, mailed to some EU officials and seen by the Financial Times, lays bare the extent of the worries within European institutions about the affair. “It was blatantly clear that no one listened to our declarations,” the expert wrote.

The account described “open threatening behaviour” in court and a “horribly hostile” atmosphere, saying the proceedings had to be stopped for 45 minutes because people were shouting and screaming during the expert’s evidence. “I would have never thought that ‘trials’ like this could happen in a democratic EU country.”

Mr Georgiou has so far faced six closed-door deliberations by the supreme court and four open trials over claims that he inflated the size of the country’s budget deficit in 2009.

In addition, he has faced linked claims that he damaged the country’s interests, violated internal procedures, defamed Elstat colleagues and continued working for his former employers, the International Monetary Fund, even after he joined the new agency.

The affair dates back to 2011 when a junior financial prosecutor ordered an inquiry into whether Mr Georgiou had been working against Greek interests. Separate cases were later filed by two sacked Elstat board members and a senior Elstat employee.

He denies all the charges, and has been supported by European institutions which accepted Elstat data without reservation when he was in charge from 2010 until 2015. Mr Dombrovskisreiterated that “we have full confidence in the reliability and accuracy” of that data.

Contrary to prosecution claims against Mr Georgiou, EU officials have repeatedly argued that he played a decisive role in improving the reputation of Greek statistics that had been shattered by Athens’ repeated understating of the deficit in the years before the crisis erupted in the country in 2009.

In the latest case, three appeal court judges ruled unanimously that Mr Georgiou was at fault for failing to inform and discuss statistical issues with fellow board members, even though this would have gone against the EU’s code of statistical practice.

The re-emergence of the Georgiou affair comes at a time of mounting optimism around Greece and its bailout.

Last month, the commission said that Athens should no longer be considered as being in breach of EU deficit rules, proposing to close an “excessive deficit procedure” opened when Greeceplunged into its sovereign debt crisis in 2009. In recent weeks, the country also succeeded in carrying out its first bond sale for three years.

One senior EU diplomat said it was not certain that the affair would go so far as to disrupt the bailout. “But [the] general position would be one of strong support for Georgiou.”

“The figures which he returned were validated by Eurostat,” the senior diplomat said, in reference to the EU’s statistics office. “I would be surprised if there were not unanimity on this approach.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017

(c) 2017 The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved. Please do not cut and paste FT articles and redistribute by email or post to the web.

 

(Reuters) Former Greek statistics chief found guilty of breach of duty

 

(Reuters) Greece’s former chief statistician was convicted on Tuesday of “breach of duty” for having failed to tell the statistics agency’s board that he had sent Greek fiscal data for 2009 to its European counterpart Eurostat.

Andreas Georgiou, a former International Monetary Fund economist, was found guilty by an appeals court and handed a two-year suspended sentence. He was acquitted of charges that he did not convene board meetings and that, while at statistics agency ELSTAT, he kept a job at the IMF for a few months.

Lawyers for Georgiou, who stepped down in 2015 after five years running ELSTAT through the height of the Greek and euro zone debt crisis, said he would appeal.

“Mr. Andreas Georgiou believes fully in his innocence, for which he will fight for as long as it takes… until his final and complete acquittal,” the lawyers said in a statement.

The ruling can be appealed at Greece’s top court.

The prosecutor said in court that Georgiou’s actions displayed “substantial moral disdain”.

Some Greek politicians have said his recalculation of the country’s public finances in 2009 showed Greece was seriously fiscally derailed and needed to be bailed out.

Discrepancies in the way the budget deficit was calculated before 2010 — which angry euro zone partners say concealed the extent of the deficit — helped trigger the financial crisis that subsequently engulfed Greece and the euro zone.

Georgiou has denied allegations that he exaggerated Greece’s debt problems or helped Athens’ foreign creditors, including the IMF, his former employer.

In 2013, Georgiou was charged with inflating figures for the 2009 budget deficit, which he denied. Those charges were dropped in May but a Supreme Court prosecutor has proposed that the case be reopened.

Georgiou’s case has seen fellow senior economists and statisticians from around the world rally behind him. Some are helping to pay for his defense costs.

International lenders who have extended three bailout loans worth a total 260 billion euros to Greece since 2010 have also expressed concerns over the case.

An EU Commission spokeswoman told a news briefing after Tuesday’s ruling: “We have full confidence in the reliability and accuracy of ELSTAT data during 2010 to 2015 and beyond.”

 

(ECO) Grécia coloca dívida a seis meses a um juro inferior de 2,5%

(ECO) O ministro das Finanças grego anunciou que nos próximos meses haverá novos leilões de dívida de longo prazo.

A Grécia colocou esta quarta-feira 812,5 milhões de euros em dívida a seis meses a uma taxa de juro de 2,50%, claramente abaixo da de 2,78% do anterior leilão comparável de 5 de julho, foi anunciado.

Segundo informou a Autoridade de Gestão da Dívida Pública grega (PDMA), a procura foi de 1.163 milhões de euros, 1,86 vezes a oferta inicial de 625 milhões de euros.

Nos últimos leilões a taxa de juro tem estado a descer ligeiramente à medida que a procura tem aumentado, depois de quase ano e meio sem alterações devido à ausência de investidores estrangeiros. A Grécia tem um limite máximo de dívida pública de curto prazo em circulação, de 15.000 milhões de euros, montante alcançado em 2014, pelo que só pode colocar no mercado títulos na mesma quantidade da dos que se vão vencendo.

O leilão desta quarta-feira foi o primeiro de dívida de curto prazo depois de na semana passada a Grécia ter emitido títulos a cinco anos, no primeiro teste aos mercados financeiros em três anos. O Tesouro colocou um total de 3.000 milhões de euros a uma taxa de juro de 4,625% e a procura foi superior a 6.500 milhões de euros.

Na altura, o Governo de Alexis Tsipras mostrou-se satisfeito com este teste, cujo objetivo é atrair investidores para criar uma ‘almofada financeira’ tendo em vista o final do programa de resgate, que vence em agosto de 2018.

(BBG) Editorial Board: Greece Still Hasn’t Turned the Corner

(BBG) The country sold some bonds this week, but let’s not get carried away.

Business as usual.

Photographer: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Greece returned to the private debt market this week for the first time in years, raising 3 billion euros at a relatively affordable interest rate of 4.6 percent. That’s encouraging news — but it doesn’t mean the euro zone’s most flattened economy is on course for sustained growth.

The economy is showing signs of life, growing a bit in the first quarter, and the government has gotten a tighter grip on the budget. But Greece’s long-term debt position is still dire, and its deeper structural reforms have barely begun. Greece hasn’t yet put its problems behind it.

Investors are apparently willing to take an optimistic view of their likelihood of getting repaid. The International Monetary Fund has helped fuel this optimism by approving “in principle” new assistance to Greece, which serves as a seal of approval for its policies and those of its euro-zone official creditors.

But note that the IMF is stretching the meaning of “in principle” beyond the bounds of ordinary usage. It says the so-called standby arrangement will become effective only after its officials get “specific and credible assurances from Greece’s European partners to ensure debt sustainability.” It’s been asking for such assurances for months and Europe’s governments still haven’t delivered. It’s unclear why the fund thinks this state of affairs warrants its support, even “in principle.”

Greece’s position isn’t hopeless by any means. Europe as a whole is doing better, and the short-term outlook for growth in Greece is fair. But the situation remains serious. The budget stringency demanded by the EU, and achieved against the odds, won’t support future growth: That has to come from supply-side reforms to liberalize the labor market, promote investment and encourage domestic competition. Long-term financial stability depends on progress in those areas — and on long-delayed measures to make the country’s debts manageable.

It’s good that Greece is growing again, albeit hesitantly, and that private investors are willing to lend. But the last thing Greece needs is complacency about its prospects.

(JN) Grécia paga juro de 4,6%. Tsipras diz que dados são “positivos”

(JNA Grécia está a receber ordens de compra de obrigações soberanas a cinco euros. A indicação é de que a taxa se situará em torno de 4,625% e a operação deverá ficar fechada esta tarde. Atenas pondera emitir 3.000 milhões de euros.

A emissão sindicada de dívida grega a cinco anos deverá ter uma taxa de juro a rondar 4,625%, segundo fontes citadas pela Reuters. A operação deverá ficar fechada ainda esta terça-feira, 25 de Julho. E marca o regresso da Grécia aos mercados de financiamento de médio e longo prazo após uma ausência de três anos.

Durante a manhã, o mercado apontava para uma taxa de 4,75%. Mas dada a elevada procura pelos títulos, o tesouro helénico conseguiu baixar o juro para 4,625%, segundo as últimas indicações dadas por fontes citadas pela Bloomberg. A procura supera os 6.500 milhões de euros e Atenas pondera emitir 3.000 milhões de euros.

Apesar de a operação ainda estar a decorrer, o primeiro-ministro Alexis Tsipras, disse, citado pelas agências, que as informações recolhidas até ao momento sobre a operação eram “positivas”. Isto depois de ter reconhecido, ao The Guardian, que no passado cometeu “erros, grandes erros” e de ter prometido que “vamos retirar o país da crise”.

Em Abril de 2014, quando a Grécia fez um teste ao mercado após anos de interregno, pagou 4,95% para emitir a cinco anos. Ainda assim, o juro oferecido é maior do que alguns antecipavam, o que poderá ajudar a convencer os investidores.

Lutz Roehmeyer, gestor do Landesbank Berlin Investment, que detém dívida helénica nos seus portefólios, disse, citado pela Bloomberg, que a orientação para a taxa de juro “aparenta ser bastante atractiva. As expectativas eram de 4,5%, portanto a probabilidade de sucesso é muito elevada”.

A par da emissão a cinco anos, a Grécia está a recomprar títulos que vencem em 2019 para gerir o perfil da dívida. O objectivo das autoridades gregas é seguir uma estratégia que permita aceder regularmente aos mercados de financiamento, de forma a preparar a saída do programa de assistência em Agosto de 2018.

O teste ao mercado ocorre após o acordo em Junho com os pares europeus sobre o futuro do programa e a aprovação condicional do FMI para libertar mais fundos para o resgate, na condição de que se discutam mais medidas de alívio da dívida, para a tornar sustentável.

Esses desenvolvimentos permitiram que agências de “rating” como a Moody’s e a S&P melhorassem a perspectiva, apesar de continuarem a classificar a Grécia vários níveis abaixo de grau de investimento.

(ECO) Tsipras admite erros. Varoufakis acusa-o de “incoerência”

(ECO) Tsipras e Varoufakis continuam em conflito. O primeiro-ministro grego deixou várias críticas ao seu ex-ministro das Finanças, revelando até que este “adora” Schäuble. Varoufakis já respondeu.

O atual primeiro-ministro e o ex-ministro das Finanças da Grécia trocaram acusações esta segunda-feira, na sequência de uma entrevista cedida por Alexis Tsipras. Numa altura em que o país está prestes a sair do Procedimento por Défices Excessivos, vai voltar aos mercados esta terça-feira e com a nova ajuda já autorizada, o conflito entre os dois políticos continua. A cisão entre os dois ocorreu em julho de 2015, menos de seis meses do Governo ter tomado posse.

Eu cometi erros, grandes erros“, confessou o atual primeiro-ministro grego, em entrevista ao The Guardian, publicada esta segunda-feira. Qual o maior erro? “A escolha de pessoas para lugares-chave”, admitiu. Questionado sobre se a referência era diretamente para Yanis Varoufakis, Tsipras rejeitou a ligação, mas disse que o ex-ministro das Finanças grego foi a escolha certa para a primeira abordagem de conflito com os credores.

Contudo, a crítica a Varoufakis chega com Tsipras a acusá-lo de querer reescrever a história: “Talvez chegará o momento em que certas verdades serão ditas (…) quando chegarmos ao ponto de analisar o que ele [Varoufakis] apresentou como plano B, que era tão vago que nem valia a pena discutir”. “Era simplesmente fraco e ineficaz“, classificou Tsipras.

No entanto, o próprio governante do Syriza assumiu os erros que cometeu enquanto líder dos destinos da Grécia. Tsipras justifica-se com a sua falta de experiência governativa, principalmente no que toca à “dimensão das dificuldades no dia-a-dia”. “Atualmente tenho uma diferente noção da que tinha previamente”, referiu. Contudo, Tsipras garante que nunca quis sair da UE: “Sair da Europa e ir para onde… para outra galáxia?

Talvez chegará o momento em que certas verdades serão ditas.

Alexis Tsipras

Primeiro-ministro grego

Alexis Tsipras vai mais longe quando o assunto é o seu ex-ministro das Finanças, chegando a dizer que este tinha grande estima por Schäuble, o ministro das Finanças alemão. “Acho que [Schäuble] é o alter ego dele. Ele adora-o. Ele respeitava-o e ainda o respeita muito”, afirmou o primeiro-ministro grego.

Varoufakis acusa Tsipras de uma “profunda incoerência”

Em resposta à entrevista, Yanis Varoufakis publicou uma carta de opinião também no The Guardian. O ex-ministro das Finanças afirma que há uma “profunda incoerência” na resposta de Tsipras sobre o seu papel no Governo.

“Ou eu fui a escolha certa para ser o ponta de lança da ‘colisão’ com a troika dos credores da Grécia porque os meus planos eram convincentes, ou os meus planos não eram convincentes e, por isso, eu fui a escolha errada como primeiro ministro das Finanças”, contrapôs Varoufakis.

O ex-ministro das Finanças grego conclui que as respostas de Tsipras mostram a “impossibilidade” de manter uma crítica “radical” face aos anteriores Governos gregos enquanto se adotava a “doutrina” Tina (There Is No Alternative; Não Há Alternativa).

No texto Varoufakis é crítico do percurso escolhido por Tsipras, assinalando que a questão que se impõe é saber se ser prisioneiro dos credores é um plano melhor do que aquele que o atual primeiro-ministro rejeitou por ser “fraco e ineficaz”.

(Politico) IMF executive board votes to join Greek bailout program

(Politico) The fund is also prepared to provide a symbolic loan of up to €1.6 billion as a sign of good faith.

The International Monetary Fund Thursday agreed “in principle” to join Greece’s €86 billion bailout package, ending a long standoff between it and eurozone finance ministers that had threatened the rescue.

The IMF’s executive board voted Thursday in favor of the “precautionary standby arrangement” that it agreed with eurozone finance ministers last month, paving the way for the fund’s participation in the Greek program.

The IMF is also prepared to provide a symbolic loan of up to €1.6 billion as a sign of good faith, if EU creditors deliver more detail on further debt relief measures for Athens once the program ends next year.

Eurozone finance ministers and the IMF have been at odds over the debt sustainability of Greece’s third bailout package since last year. The fund had even threatened to walk away from the program if EU creditors offered the Greeks no further debt relief, which would have derailed the entire package.

Thursday’s vote puts an end to that uncertainty, although IMF participation was largely expected after it reassured eurozone finance ministers last month it would join the Greek program. And that agreement unlocked a total of €8.5 billion in bailout cash from Greece’s EU creditors to the impoverished country.

The eurozone’s bailout arm — the European Stability Mechanism — transferred€7.7 billion of that cash to Athens earlier this month. The ESM will disburse the remaining €800,000 in September, once Greece makes “significant progress” on reducing its government arrears.

(CNBC) Greece could return to the bond markets as early as next week

(CNBC) A farmer holds a Greek flag in front of parliament during a protest against the government’s tax and social security reforms on February 14, 2017 in Athens, Greece.

The Greek government seems ready to tap the bond markets again as early as next week, a source close to the situation told CNBC on Tuesday, which would mark the first time since 2014 that the country has borrowed from the capital markets.

Athens’ return is important to show that the reforms under the current bailout program are working to both international investors and Greek voters. However, the government needs to get the timing right to avoid any political or economic backlash.

A source close to the situation, who preferred to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the issue, told CNBC Tuesday that Greece’s market return is “most likely next week as the Greeks seem to prefer to wait for the IMF’s EB (International Monetary Fund Executive Board) meeting on Thursday and for (credit rating agency) S&P to make announcements regarding Greece’s debt rating on Friday.”

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos attends a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium May 22, 2017.

Francois Lenoir | Reuters
Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos attends a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium May 22, 2017.

Members of the IMF’s executive board are due to meet Thursday to discuss issues related to the Greek bailout, including the sustainability of its debt. The Fund’s opinion on the Greek bailout is crucial given that it’s promised to contribute to the financial rescue, although it hasn’t yet said by how much. The IMF has also been a vocal supporter of making Greece’s debt more sustainable.

Rating agencies also have an influence on how global investors react to a Greek bond issuance. The S&P confirmed to CNBC that it’s going to discuss the situation of Greece on Friday but for regulatory reasons it cannot unveil whether there will be a rating upgrade.

Last week, Moody’s noted that credit metrics have improved for Greece with economic growth and public finances on a more sustainable path. “The recent upgrade and positive outlook on Greece’s sovereign rating reflect our view that the prospects for a successful conclusion of Greece’s third adjustment program have improved,” Kathrin Muehlbronner, senior vice president at Moody’s, said in a statement.

Greek bonds rallied to post-crisis levels this week as investors have become more confident on the economy and the prospects of a market return.

ESM’s Regling: Confident Greece can have sustainable growth

ESM’s Regling: Confident Greece can have sustainable growth  

“There are basically two reasons for this,” Jan Randolph, director of IHS Markit sovereign risk rating, told CNBC Tuesday about the recent fall in yields. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

“Greece has been performing better than to plan, with the fiscal adjustment stronger than expected … This together with some resumption of modest growth is expected to turn debt dynamics positive; with many rating agencies (including IHS Markit) moving Greece’s sovereign ratings slowly away from a possible default scenario.”

He added: “Secondly, Greece has secured another bailout program extension in June, with IMF involvement despite difference with other euro zone partners on the nature and degree of debt relief.”

Last June, the euro zone agreed to disburse a tranche of 8.5 billion euros ($9.2 billion) which allows the country to comply with summer payments. The Greek debt agency wasn’t available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

P.O. (HB) Germany Profits From Greek Debt Crisis

P.O.

Of course it does!

The whole eurozone area is serving it’s Master… Germany.

It has allways been obvious.

And i Francisco have written on this fact many times over the years.

And i Francisco have also run an editorial policy on this site to show this obvious fact…

Or does any one think for a nano second that articles appear randomly on this site…?

Give me a break…

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(HB) New figures show that Germany has earned more than €1.3 billion from the hundreds of billions in aid given to Athens over the past decade.

76416165 Greek coin DPA
One more for Germany’s piggy bank. Source: DPA

The German government has long been accused by critics of profiting from Greece’s debt crisis. Now there are some new numbers to back it up: Loans and bonds purchased in support of Greece over nearly a decade have resulted in profits of €1.34 billion for Germany’s finance ministry, which confirmed the number in response to a parliamentary query from the Green Party, according to a report by German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The profits come from a range of programs, running into the hundreds of billions, that Germany and other euro-zone countries have backed to keep Greece’s government and economy afloat since its massive debt crisis emerged in 2009. It includes, for example, a €393-million profit generated from a 2010 loan by the development bank KfW, which is owned by the German government.

The report also shows that Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, has received profits from the Securities Market Program (SMP), a now-defunct government bond-buying plan initiated by the European Central Bank and run from 2010 to 2012. The ECB collected more than €1.1 billion in 2016 in interest payments on the nearly €20 billion-worth of Greek bonds it bought through the SMP, according to the report. This year, the figure will be €901 million, which will again be redistributed to the euro zone’s 19 member states. Since 2015, Germany has collected a total of €952 million in SMP profits.

The new revelations drew strong criticism from the Greens Party, in opposition. “The profits from collecting interest must be paid out to Greece. [Finance Minister] Wolfgang Schäuble cannot use the Greek profits to clean up Germany’s federal budget,” Manuel Sarrazin, European Union expert for the Green Party in the parliament, told the Süddeutsche newspaper.

“It might be legal for Germany to profit from the crisis in Greece, but from a moral and solidarity perspective, it is not right.”

Sven-Christian Kindler, budget policy spokesperson, Green Party

Mr. Schäuble, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, has been cannily keeping Germany’s federal budget balanced over the past four years, taking on no new debt. Berlin’s surplus amounted to €6.2 billion in 2016 alone. Critics complain that Greece’s crisis has helped it achieve that goal.

“It might be legal for Germany to profit from the crisis in Greece, but from a moral and solidarity perspective, it is not right,” Sven-Christian Kindler, budget policy spokesperson for the Green Party, also told the paper.

Mr. Schäuble has said he is open to reducing Greece’s interest burden but has resisted calls to end them completely. His finance ministry has argued that, with inflation, deferring interest payments would eventually end up costing Greece’s creditors.

Euro zone governments, together with the International Monetary Fund, have so far participated in three bailout programs for Greece totaling more than €240 billion, with Germany bearing nearly 30 percent of the contributions (see graphic below). For the current program, run by the EU’s permanent bailout fund called the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Germany has provided €21.7 billion of the more than €80 billion in bailout funds earmarked for Athens, as well as put up a further €168 billion in guarantees. The ESM and its predecessor, a more temporary version called the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), own half of Greece’s total debt.

12 Germanys Piece on the Greek Pie-01

Germany has also profited from the role played by the European Central Bank, which bought government bonds from Greek banks in a bid to avoid the country tumbling out of the euro currency bloc. In 2015, the SMP profits earned from the previous year were supposed to be sent back to Greece, but then the beleaguered country required its third bailout. That locked the 2014 profits in a holding account.

Greece’s third bailout package has remained controversial and repeatedly been in danger of collapse. Germany’s consistently tough line has been a repeated source of chagrin for Greece and its allies. In June, the euro zone agreed to hand out another €8.5-billion tranche in promised aid, but the bailout package still does not include a plan for debt reduction, which the International Monetary Fund wanted in exchange for financially supporting of the bailout. Mr. Schäuble was the strongest voice against debt reduction, though he has also insisted on keeping the IMF on board. In the end, the IMF supported the bailout “in principle” as a result.

“If the creditors are not yet at that stage where they can agree on and respect our assumptions, if it takes them more time to get there, we can acknowledge that and give them a bit more time,” IMF Chief Christine Lagarde told Handelsblatt last month. “So, we can be in a program, but the disbursement will only take place once debt relief is clearly articulated by the creditors.”

The IMF’s forecasts insist that Greece’s debt levels are unsustainable, but the euro-zone bosses said the Greek economy should be able to generate large budget surpluses, enabling it to sustain its debt load.

The current Greek debt load is 180 percent of gross domestic product, according the IMF report, which Handelsblatt obtained in March. That same report looked at three scenarios that resulted in the debt either coming down to 49.1 percent of GDP, exploding to 226 percent of GDP, or somewhere in between by 2060.