IMF spox on Greece program, debt ceiling issue

21 July 2017
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An IMF spokesman on Thursday referred directly to a debt ceiling that the Fund calculates for still bailout-dependent Greece, in the wake of numerous press reports this past week claiming that the IMF’s “calculus” scuttled an attempt by Athens to return to the markets.

Speaking during a press briefing prior to a scheduled IMF executive board meeting in Washington D.C.
the Fund’s deputy spokesman, William Murray, first sidestepped questions on whether the country should return to the markets and whether it was ready. He was succinct, however, on the question of a debt ceiling.
“… virtually all IMF programs have debt ceilings associated with them… how countries manage their debt, their liabilities influences the debt ceiling; beyond that I don’t have anything further to say on Greece. You’ll see in some of the papers that are likely to be released today what the debt ceiling analysis is (for Greece).”

Murray also cited a same-day comment by a Greek government spokesman, who stated that Athens’ plan is to return to the markets in 2018, whereby he added:

“Let me remind you that the whole point of IMF programs, whether it’s Greece or any other country, is to ultimately bring a country back to private capital markets… that’s clearly a function of this Greece program,” he said.
Murray emphasized that the Fund’s insistence on “specific and credible” debt sustainability proposals and actions from Europe vis-a-vis the Greek debt and economic policy actions.

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