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IMF Sees Enough Greek Liquidity Buffers in Coming Months

Greece doesn’t have pressing financing needs as its creditors leave the country without an agreement enabling a disbursement under a rescue package, an International Monetary Fund spokesman said.

“The timing of the disbursement really depends on how the discussions evolve,” Gerry Rice, the IMF’s communications director, told reporters today in Washington. “We believe that Greece’s financing needs in the coming months can be met from existing liquidity buffers.”

The Greek government and officials from the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission have been locked in talks since September, with the two sides disagreeing over fiscal measures needed for the country to achieve its 2014 budget projections. The so-called troika mission chiefs will leave Athens today and return early next month, according to a statement.

“Greece has been facing a crisis for quite some time, there are very difficult issues to be addressed in a range of areas,” Rice said. “I don’t think it’s surprising that it would take a while to work these through.”

He said the IMF expects Greece to post a budget surplus excluding interest payments in 2013, a year earlier than expected.

“As demonstrated in this year’s experience, the Greek authorities have a strong track record on meeting their fiscal targets and are fully committed to those for next year,” Rice said.

Asked about Bitcoin, a virtual currency that prompted a U.S. Senate committee hearing this week and has since reached record highs, Rice said the fund is following the issue as it raises concern on issues including consumer protection and regulation.

“For the time being, it’s too limited a phenomenon to have any macroeconomic significance for financial stability,” Rice said. “It’s something to watch.”

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