Greek FinMin: Goal in 2019 is 7 bln€ in market borrowing for 2019

10 January 2019
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Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Tuesday cited a seven-billion-euro figure that the Greek state will attempt to drain from the markets in 2019, while exploiting the fact that it has accumulated a sizable “cash buffer” in order to wait for the most favorable conditions in order to return to sovereign borrowing, as he said.

Tsakalotos’ “best-case” scenario came during an interview, with general elections coming no later than October 2019.

“Thanks to the cash buffer, we’re in the pleasant position of choosing when we’ll return to the markets,” he told a local radio station. He added that he believes the political opposition in the country is hedging its bets on the fact that the poll-trailing Tsipras government will not foray into the markets in 2019 after all.

The previously UK-based economics professor said the 24-billion-euro cash buffer, accumulated from unused bailout loans, also allows Athens to cover IMF or ECB debt before their maturity.

Moreover, he again promised that a long-expected plan to reduce massive “bad debt” plaguing Greece’s four systemic banks is “being readied”, saying positive growth rates and what he forecast will be higher real estate prices will help in this direction.

Asked about the government’s high-profile disagreements with Bank of Greece (BoG) Gov. Yannis Stournaras, Tsakalotos offered a more-or-less “diplomatic response”, saying the BoG is an independent body and that Stournaras has his own opinions.

“This is manageable … although he (Stournaras) should have adhered more close to his role as central banker,” he added.

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