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What's wrong with the arithmetic of the Greek equation?

25 May 2010 / 12:05:40  GRReporter
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There is no economist in the world or in Greece who will undertake the task of estimating the solution of the Greek financial equation. From being a matter of simple arithmetic, it has become a mystery with an increased difficulty due to the continued volatility of the participating digital values. 

On May 19 the Greek State paid €9 billion small issued maturities, made over the last decade, and special bonds given instead of cash to government organizations and insurance funds. By the end of 2010 the Greek state will still have to pay around €8 billion maturities of government securities which are not subject to negotiation in the secondary bond market. This amount does not include €23.5 billion, or nearly €2 billion per month, which the country must borrow to cover its budget deficit by end of 2010. The amount does not include the expiring in July and October interest rate policies, which are sufficiently large amounts, but will be offered at auction and differed in the future. 

These are the issued in April 2010 quarterly interest bonds worth €2.4 billion, the issued in January 2010 six-month interest bills worth €1.28 billion and the issued in July 2009 annual interest bills for €1.12 billion. The organization for government debt management believes that by offering these securities at auction and defers payment, it will first poll the market situation and will show that even in this difficult moment for the Greek economy, external creditors can be located. Of course, all this comes at a cost. The last time Greece offered policies to the markets was on April 20, 2010 and then it borrowed €1.95 billion from creditors at a 3.65 percent rate and in January the interest on the Greek bond was 1.67 per cent... 

On April 20, 2010 the Greek spread-index was 489 basis points. Today it is 560 basis points. This means that short-term crediting from international markets will have an even higher rate. The Ministry of Finance has not yet officially confirmed the news reported by the Organisation for managing external debt. Thus, crucial to the Greek equation becomes the second tranche of aid from the IMF/EU/ECB, which will be somewhere between €15-18 billion, but this amount will arrive in the Treasury, after representatives of the big three evaluate the progress of Greek reforms, which were agreed upon between the government of George Papandreou and representatives of three institutions. 

The mission of IMF, Brussels and Frankfurt will arrive in Athens during the first 10 days of June to verify the implementation of the budget and to check the progress on the most urgent reforms in the insurance system, local authorities and privatization of the state railway OCE. Again, the arithmetic of the Greek economy becomes very difficult. According to data by the Waste Court for the first 4 months of 2010 state enterprises and organisations remain the most expansive sectors of the Greek economy. By April, public transport in Greece has spent 63.3 percent of its annual budget, insurance funds - 65 per cent of it, same goes for public health, for which is considered, that it will eat its annual budget no later than the end of July. 
      
Arithmetic is not pink with regard to the revenue of the state budget. There revenue mark growth of 6 percent and the annual goal of the government is 10.9 per cent. Moreover, these figures do not report the delayed return of taxes, which compared with 2009 was reduced by 26.7 percent. Only the smaller than expected revenues in the budget black hole are forming at about €800 million in state Treasury. The Ministry of Finances believes that the picture will improve in May, because of the second increase in excise duties on cigarettes, alcohol and fuel and will be even more optimistic in July, when the second VAT increase will start operating. Then the costs will be reduced because of the 8 percent cut in civil servants' salaries and reduction in their Christmas bonuses it will enter into force. 

"There are still doubts that the Greek government will manage to adhere to agreements with the International Monetary Fund and European Commission. Greek governments have a rich history in this regard. Therefore, markets will continue to be wary of Greece's ability to repay its debts," said for La Tribue newspaper Olivier Blanchard, chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. In February the expert warned that Greece is awaited by extremely painful economic reforms in the next 10-20 years. Olivier Blanchard also said for La Tribue that other eurozone countries do not need such strict financial measures, because Greece's case is different and he believes that the package of €1 trillion is sufficient protection for the common European currency. 

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