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Greece warned by IMF over debt

Monday, January 19, 2015 - 02:16

The head of the IMF has warned Greece there would be consequences to restructuring its debt after elections. As Hayley Platt reports many in Greece remain equally gloomy about their prospects.

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Elections in Greece are just days away. But with the country still suffering from tough austerity measures many Greeks see little hope of their lives improving. Constantinos Polychronopoulos has been running a soup kitchen for the past three years. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) FOUNDER AND VOLUNTEER AT SOCIAL KITCHEN 'THE OTHER HUMAN', CONSTANTINOS POLYCHRONOPOULOS, AGED 51, SAYING: "I don't care about the result or who will be elected. COME IN HERE "No matter who gets elected I will continue to be unemployed, I still won't have a single euro in my pocket. So I don't care if we use the euro or the drachma. And there are three to four million Greeks like me, half the population." The country's leftist Syriza party is currently leading the polls, ahead of the ruling conservatives. It's promised to tear up the 240 billion euro bailout agreement if it wins Sunday's election, while still keeping the euro. Many believe it's not possible to do both and Greece will be stuck with austerity either way. Alastair McCaig is from IG. SOUNDBITE: Alastair McCaig, market analyst, IG, saying (English): "If they were to extrapolate themselves and move out of the euro zone obviously the ability of a nation to get debt would be greatly curtailed at considerably less attractive rates and as such the austerity would still be part of the day-to-day life of the average Greek." Greece's international lenders say any new government will have to stick with the bailout program. It's already been extended by two months, until the end of February. And there's talk it might be further extended by up to six months. But the IMF has warned against restructuring debt and Greece's problems aren't getting any easier. 10-year bond yields edged higher after Fitch cut the outlook on its credit rating from stable to negative due the political uncertainly. Market's are even bracing for a Greek exit. SOUNDBITE: Alastair McCaig, market analyst, IG, saying (English): "The closer we get to the election, the closer and the more factored in that possibility becomes. Fear factors always tend to increase the closer we get to as final decision." The next few days will be an anxious period for Greece and the euro zone. The economy has been stabilising in recent months - but poverty remains a huge problem. And one in four are still out of work. ///

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Greece warned by IMF over debt

Monday, January 19, 2015 - 02:16