Greece says it can pay €450m IMF bill on time
Greece yesterday insisted it would able to meet a €450m (£330m) payment due to the International Monetary Fund next week as the nation struggles to avoid bankruptcy.
Prime Minister Alex Tsipras is making progress in negotiations with eurozone ministers over economic reforms needed to unlock £7.2bn in bailout funds.
The nation’s deputy finance minister Dimitris Mardas scotched reports that Greece had threatened to default on the 9 April payment in a conference call with European leaders earlier this week, telling Greek television: “We strive to be able to pay our obligations on time. We are ready to pay on 9 April.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Greece would receive fresh funds only when creditors approve the comprehensive list of reforms Athens has presented.
Greece’s banks are still shut out of international markets and they are being propped up by expensive emergency loans from the European Central Bank.
The government is planning to sell €875m in short-term debt the day before the IMF payment falls due, although there is little appetite for the debt except among Greek banks.
But Cyprus – bailed out by international lenders in 2013 – gave a sign of its return to health today as President Nicos Anastasiades announced that the last remaining restrictions on transferring money out of the country will be eliminated next week.
Cyprus introduced the limits – such as a daily withdrawal limit of €300 – to prevent a run on its banks in March 2013 when it received its own rescue from international creditors. The rescue included the seizure of uninsured deposits in the country’s two biggest banks to prop up the teetering financial sector.