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IMF Declares War On Germany: In “Secret” Report Lagarde Says Greece Will Need Massive Debt Relief

EU SOURCE SAYS EURO ZONE LEADERS KNEW OF LATEST IMF DEBT ANALYSIS FOR GREECE BEOFRE AGREEING ON THIRD BAILOUT TERMS

A divide between the IMF and Europe (read: Germany), regarding writedowns on Greece’s debt to the EU has been brewing for quite some time and recently returned to the international spotlight when, a few months back, the Fund indicated debt relief was a precondition for its participation in any further aid for Athens.

More recently, the IMF released a report on Greece’s debt sustainability just prior to the referendum. The timing appeared to be strategic and may have helped secure the “no” vote for Tsipras.

Unfortunately, the IMF didn’t appear to anticipate the PM’s complete capitulation and now, the subject of debt relief has again been put off, this time until Greece officially passes the new “deal” through parliament and legislates its terms.

Today, another “secret” IMF document on the sustainability of Greece’s debt burden has surfaced and not surprisingly, the Fund is once again pounding the table on a haircut. One is certainly left to wonder if the US (and its veto power) are pulling the strings behind the scenes and orchestrating “leaks” at opportune times. Here’s more from Reuters:

Greece will need debt relief far beyond what euro zone partners have been prepared to consider due to the devastation of its economy and banks in the last two weeks, a confidential study by the International Monetary Fund seen by Reuters shows.

The updated debt sustainability analysis was sent to euro zone governments late on Monday, hours after Athens and its 18 partners agreed in principle to open negotiations on a third bailout programme of up to 86 billion euros in return for tougher austerity measures and structural reforms.

“The dramatic deterioration in debt sustainability points to the need for debt relief on a scale that would need to go well beyond what has been under consideration to date – and what has been proposed by the ESM,” the IMF said, referring to the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund.

European countries would have to give Greece a 30-year grace period on servicing all its European debt, including new loans, and a very dramatic maturity extension, or else make explicit annual fiscal transfers to the Greek budget or accept “deep upfront haircuts” on their loans to Athens, the report said.

 

The updated debt sustainability analysis (DSA) was sent to euro zone governments late on Monday, hours after Athens and its 18 partners agreed in principle to open negotiations on a third bailout program of up to 86 billion euros in return for tougher austerity measures and structural reforms.

“The dramatic deterioration in debt sustainability points to the need for debt relief on a scale that would need to go well beyond what has been under consideration to date – and what has been proposed by the ESM,” the IMF said, referring to the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund.

European countries would have to give Greece a 30-year grace period on servicing all its European debt, including new loans, and a very dramatic maturity extension, or else make explicit annual fiscal transfers to the Greek budget or accept “deep upfront haircuts” on their loans to Athens, the report said.

It was leaked as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble disclosed that some members of the Berlin government thought Greece would have been better off taking “time-out” from the euro zone rather than receiving another giant bailout.

The IMF study said the closure of Greek banks and imposition of capital controls on June 29 was “extracting a heavy toll on the banking system and the economy, leading to a further significant deterioration in debt sustainability relative to what was projected in our recently published DSA”.

The latest IMF study said Greek debt would now peak at close to 200 percent of economic output in the next two years, compared to a previously forecast high of 177 percent.

Even by 2022, the debt would stand at 170 percent of gross domestic product, compared to an estimate of 142 percent issued just two weeks ago. Gross financing needs would rise to above the 15 percent of GDP threshold deemed safe and continue rising in the long term, the updated IMF study said.

Moreover, the latest projections “remain subject to considerable downside risk”, meaning that euro zone countries might have to provide even more exceptional financing.

The IMF study also appeared to challenge the assumption by some European officials that Greece will be able to meet some of its financing needs from the markets in 2018.

“Borrowing at anything but AAA rates in the near term will bring about an unsustainable debt dynamic for the next several decades,” it said.