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Banks reopen as Greece bids for 'normal'

Monday, July 20, 2015 - 02:13

Greek banks reopen after three weeks of closure in a sign that some normality is returning, if only partially. Capital controls are still in place and German Chancellor Angela Merkel says swift bailout talks are needed if Greece is to get back on its feet. Ciara Lee reports.

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A cautious attempt by Greece to return to normality - banks finally reopen their doors. But after being closed for three weeks to prevent the system from collapsing, limits on withdrawals remain in place and transfers abroad are still not possible. A weekly withdrawal limit of 420 euros is in place instead of the previous daily limit of 60 euros. The stock market also remains shut. It's a situation German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described as "not a normal life". Mike Ingram, Market Strategist at BGC agrees. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE INGRAM, MARKET STRATEGIST AT BGC, SAYING: "Greek banks remain pretty much shuttered. And of course until there is a more comprehensive recapitalisation of the banking system, that has to remain the case. And of course that recapitalisation is itself contingent on a successful conclusion of a substantial financial package from the ESM." Merkel is pushing for swift negotiations on the new bailout. EU officials hope the deal will be in place by mid-August when Greece needs to make new payments to the ECB to redeem its maturing debt. A 7.16 billion euro bridge financing is enough to see Athens through July - including today's ECB repayment of 4.2 billion euros - but not August. And more help needed beyond that, says Ingram. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE INGRAM, MARKET STRATEGIST AT BGC, SAYING: "Re-profiling of Greek debt is necessary. We need to see significant maturity extensions, we need to see significant coupon reductions, we need to see a significant increase in the grace period, essentially the sort of things that the IMF has been insisting on and what a lot of private sector economists have indeed been pressing for for a very long time." Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's acceptance of a tough package of bailout demands from European partners has already seen some changes come into force. VAT on food and public transport increasing by 10 percent. Tsipras now faces a backlash at home with many in his government pushing for new elections to be held as early as September or October. But investors appear satisfied with the developments. European shares edged higher in morning trade, closing in on fresh six week highs.

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Banks reopen as Greece bids for 'normal'

Monday, July 20, 2015 - 02:13