November 14, 2019 / 11:01 AM / a month ago

Greek Finance Minister says early repayment of IMF loans to be concluded by early December

THESSALONIKI, Greece (Reuters) - Greece will have completed its early repayment of loans to the International Monetary fund by early December, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Thursday.

“It will be concluded in the next two to three weeks,” Staikouras told a conference in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, referring to the early repayment of loans worth around 2.7 billion euros ($2.98 billion).

The move allows Athens to reduce its debt-servicing costs, because IMF loans carry higher interest than Greece would now pay in the market.

In October, the euro zone’s rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism, agreed to allow Greece to pay back earlier some of its debt to the IMF.

The decision followed a Greek government request to the ESM in September to repay some of its loans to the IMF, worth about 9 billion euros.

During its worst debt crisis in decades, which broke out in late 2009, Greece was cut off from the markets and borrowed heavily from euro zone governments and the IMF. Its third international bailout expired in August 2018.

Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas, Writing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Jon Boyle

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