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Greece gets clean bill of health from lenders

Monday, April 15, 2013 - 02:36

April 15 - Greece receives a clean bill of health from its international creditors, securing more rescue aid and prompting its finance minister to say he would ask for much more debt relief if Athens keeps meeting its bailout targets. Ciara Sutton reports.

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Back on track and heading for growth - that's the outlook for Greece from the so-called troika which has just completed a review of the country's debt. It paves the way for the next tranche of bailout money. IMF mission chief for Greece, Poul Thomsen says the country should return to growth in 2014. (SOUNDBITE)(English) IMF MISSION CHIEF FOR GREECE AND MEMBER OF TROIKA POUL THOMSEN SAYING: "Greece has indeed come a very long way. The fiscal adjustment has been exceptional by any international comparison. Greece has consistently delivered on its fiscal targets." The troika's review is the first since a 240-billion euro bailout installment was paid in December. In return Athens passed a new round of austerity measures. That left the economy in its sixth year of recession, with a further 4.5% contraction expected this year. With unemployment at 27 percent - double that for 15 - 24 years olds many Greeks aren't convinced by talk of recovery and neither are investors says Saxo Bank's Nick Beecroft. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NICK BEECROFT, CHAIRMAN AND SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, SAXO BANK, SAYING "I think that's a rather sanguine judgment on Greece. It was rather immediately contradicted by a comment from the German finance ministry that Greece hadn't met the necessary goals to get its next tranche of aid. And I'm afraid that's rather closer to the mark." But Greece was ordered to recapitalise its banking sector so it could start lending again. And the troika says that process is nearly complete, with around 50 billion euros dispersed to four core banks. The country may also get debt relief, in the shape of lower financing costs, if it meets its fiscal targets, including a primary budget surplus. Finance minister Yannis Stournaras is confident. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) GREEK FINANCE MINISTER YANNIS STOURNARAS SAYING: "Until now, two thirds of the required fiscal adjustment has been implemented for the periods 2010-2016. The remaining adjustment is difficult but not unachievable, there is light at the end of the tunnel - patience and consistency is required. The prophets of catastrophe have been proven wrong, Greece remains in the euro zone." But there's still plenty more pain to come. The government is planning to sack 15,000 civil servants to make way for new cheaper workers. Talk of recovery next year may seem a long way off for them.

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Greece gets clean bill of health from lenders

Monday, April 15, 2013 - 02:36