IMF in talks on raising Greece aid stake - FT
WASHINGTON, April 27 |
WASHINGTON, April 27 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund is considering raising its contribution to a planned multi-billion euro Greek bailout by 10 billion euros, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
The IMF is in talks to increase its share of the planned Greek financial package to 25 billion euros, the newspaper reported, citing senior bankers and officials in Washington and Athens.
Currently, the size of the package totals 45 billion euros. The IMF has so far agreed to fund one-third of the total package, and euro zone members the rest.
The fund could make that sum available under a planned three-year loan, according to an Athens-based analyst familiar with the talks, the newspaper said.
"The fund's current ceiling for Greece is 25 billion euros and the release of the extra amount is under discussion," the analyst told the FT.
Market pressure on Greece has intensified and signs have grown it would need much more than the 45 billion euros already committed.
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters during weekend meetings of the IMF and World Bank that Greece would need "more than had been said previously." He declined to specify the amounts under discussion.
Asked on Sunday by reporters whether aid could reach 80 billion to 90 billion euros, Greek Finance Minister George Papconstantinou said he could not give specific figures.
On Monday he said discussions with the EU and IMF in Athens were very close to an agreement.
The IMF declined to comment. IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be in Berlin on Thursday for a long-scheduled meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other global institutions, including the World Bank.
Public opposition in Germany against bailing out debt-stricken Greece has become a politically thorny issue for Merkel. Members of her Christian Democrats (CDU) said on Tuesday it would raise the subject of forcing investors to take a discount on Greek debt in talks with Strauss-Kahn and ECB officials on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, rating agency Standard and Poor's slashed Greek debt to junk status on Tuesday and also downgraded Portugal, as investors worried political pressure, especially in Germany, could hamper getting aid to Greece quickly. [nLDE63P0LU]
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