International Monetary Fund European Director Antonio Borges said he currently sees no need for a Greek debt restructuring and suggested the country could sell more state assets.
“At this point we think that Greece should be moving in the right direction where debt is sustainable,” Borges said at a press conference in Frankfurt today. “There is no need for any debt restructuring.”
European nations may provide more aid to Greece, recipient of the first euro-area bailout, as it struggles to reduce a debt load that some investors say will lead to a restructuring. The Greek government is preparing 50 billion euros ($71 billion) of asset sales to help pay down debt that reached 143 percent of gross domestic product last year, the most in the euro region.
“The government has an extraordinarily large portfolio of assets” and 50 billion euros “is less than 20 percent of all assets that the Greeks could privatize,” Borges said. The balance sheet of the government’s Real Estate Development Company amounts to 280 billion euros, he said. “I’m only signaling that we are talking about a low percentage of the total.”
Officials from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the IMF yesterday began their fourth evaluation of Greece’s economy. The review is required before June, when the country is scheduled to receive 12 billion euros of aid.
“The Greek adjustment program hasn’t brought all the results we had expected,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who leads the group of euro-area finance ministers, said today in Mainz, Germany. “This program has to be bolstered in coming weeks so that Greece can return one day to financial markets, which Greece with certainty won’t be able to do in 2012.”
Borges said the IMF hasn’t received a request by the Greek government to extend the 110 billion-euro aid package that was negotiated last year.
“We’re extremely focused on getting the current program to succeed,” Borges said. “The Greek program is very ambitious. Things never go exactly as expected, there are always deviations here and there but there have also been compensating factors.”