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Greece gets 8.5B euros plus promise of future debt relief

Greece gets 8.5B euros plus promise of future debt relief”

"Today Greece is turning over a new leaf".

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, right, speaks with Dutch Finance Minister and head of the eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem during a meeting at the office of the European Stability Mechanism in Luxembourg on T. AIP would also entail that IMF-managed resources would be supplied to the debt-stricken nation, conditional on the European creditors' ability to provide sufficient debt relief commitments for securing debt sustainability.

The benchmark ASE index rallied to a two-year high, gaining as much as 1.7 percent, with the banking index rising 3.8 percent.

With an eye to the longer term, the eurozone creditors also made clear they are ready to ease the burden of Greece's debt repayments when its bailout program ends next year, possibly by extending repayments by up to 15 years.

Euro zone governments threw Greece another 11th-hour credit lifeline worth 8.5 billion euros ($9.50 billion) late on Thursday and sketched new detail on possible debt relief as the International Monetary Fund finally offered to help out after two years of hesitation.

Speaking after a meeting of the eurozone's 19 finance ministers, Euclid Tsakalots said the country can "look forward with much greater confidence". Also, following a recommendation from the new French government of President Emmanuel Macron, the possibility was raised of linking Greek repayments to growth, which could mean debt repayments being postponed in the event of an adverse shock.

"I think that's really the best agreement we've had for quite a while, and it gives us the prospective to end the program in time and then to go to a Greek economy which will be, I would say, a normal country inside the eurozone", he said.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel", said Greek minister Tsakalotos (center), who "particularly" thanked France's Bruno Le Maire (second left).

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But the loans have only increased the country's huge debt.

"Greece and their creditors have reached an agreement concerning the next tranche of bailout money which should be supportive for stocks as it removes some uncertainty going forward", City of London Markets trader Markus Huber said.

"The release of IMF funds would be contingent on policy implementation and receipt of debt relief assurances so that debt can be deemed sustainable", she said.

"Yesterday what we had was a positive completion to the negotiations", government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said.

"It's a very constructive decision that will help Greece, also on the worldwide market, to gradually get more credibility", Luxembourg Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna said as cited by Bloomberg. The agreement allows the International Monetary Fund to abide by its lending rules while also participating in the rescue program - albeit in a partial manner - a prerequisite for many euro-area countries.

Despite years of austerity since Greece was first bailed out in 2010, the nation's debt burden still stands at about 320 billion euros, or around 180 percent of Greece's annual GDP. That's largely because the Greek economy has contracted around 25 percent, meaning a worsening in the debt load even as the government's budget improved markedly.

The IMF had insisted repeatedly that Greece's debt is not sustainable, and that the country would require significant debt relief from Europe before the fund could approve a new loan programme. More comprehensive details should emerge in the coming months. She added that the amount of this program will be "probably in the range of $2 billion" that would depend on debt-relief measures materializing.

The eurozone will now draw up an "exit strategy" over the next year "to enable Greece to stand on its own feet again", Dijsselbloem said.

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