DAVOS Jan 25 Financial markets' sentiment
towards the euro zone may have turned the corner, but banks will
offer no more concessions in crucial talks to reduce Greece's
private sector debt, BNP Paribas chairman Baudouin Prot said on
He said the European Central Bank's move to flood the
banking sector with almost half a trillion euros in short-term
loans had helped to change the mood.
"I am a cautious optimist," Prot told Reuters at the World
Economic Forum in Davos.
"We are starting to see signs of a shift in sentiment
towards Europe. The ECB three-year financing facility was really
a catalyst. We are on the right track, but we need to keep
Greece is hoping to wrap up tortuous negotiations this week
on a bond swap that aims to knock 100 billion euros ($130
billion) off its debt burden when private creditors return to
Athens for a fresh round of talks to avert a chaotic default.
After weeks of bargaining, deadlocks and an intervention by
euro zone ministers, Greece and its bondholders find themselves
back at the drawing board as they search for a compromise needed
to clinch a bailout for Athens before it runs out of money.
The focus of a new round of talks is expected to be whether
banks budge from what they have billed as their "final offer" of
a 4 percent coupon on the new bonds that Greece will swap out
for existing debt after euro zone finance ministers rejected
"The offer that is now on the table is the maximum
acceptable for a voluntary deal," Prot said. "All the elements
are now in place. I hope the discussion in the next few days
will enable all parties to reach a constructive agreement."
($1 = 0.7708 euros)
(Writing by Patrick Graham)