Fitch Ratings Director Douglas Renwick backed European policy makers’ decision to push back Greece’s debt targets and said there may be a move to do the same for other bailed-out nations.
“With Greece you have to be realistic on how much time they need,” Renwick said in an interview with Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television’s “On the Move” in London today. “If you look at how much debt reduction they’ve done over the last three years, it’s actually been quite significant. They started from a very bad position.”
A disagreement with the International Monetary Fund broke out this week after euro-area finance ministers granted Greece an additional two years to reach debt-reduction goals in its bailout program. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde will attend a meeting in Brussels next week as finance chiefs discuss ways of plugging the nation’s funding gap. Renwick said he’s “positive” a deal will be reached.
“Greece has done its side of the bargain, it’s implemented its budget, which was politically a very difficult thing,” Renwick said. “With the eurogroup, the ball is in their court, they need to see how they’re going to get this program sustainable again.”
“More broadly, we may be seeing a move toward extending out program targets for other countries as well,” he said. “We’re uncertain about that. But at the end of the day I don’t think there’s too much leniency here, the eurogroup is very conscious that these measures need to be done. It’s positive to be realistic.”
Lagarde declined today to predict the outcome of the Nov. 20 meeting of euro-area finance ministers. She said the IMF’s objective is that Greece regain access to markets as soon as possible. She is cutting short a trip to Southeast Asia to attend the gathering in Brussels.
“It’s not over until the fat lady sings, as they say,” she told reporters in Manila when asked if an agreement can be achieved. “I would not say anything else.”
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