ECB in Athens as talk of third Greek bailout heats up

IMF puts Greece’s uncovered funding needs for 2014-2015 at €10.9bn


The European Central Bank was checking up on how well Greece is meeting its international bailout obligations today, a day after Germany’s finance minister said a third aid programme would be needed to keep Athens afloat.

Joerg Asmussen, a member of the ECB’s executive board, was to meet Greece’ prime minister, finance minister and central bank governor, and to have talks with Greek business leaders.

His immediate concern is with the next tranche of aid from Greece’s second international bailout, due in October.

But his visit was announced the same day that German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told an election campaign audience that Greece will need a third bailout on top of rescue loans worth about €240 billion already obtained for 2010-2014.

A Greek finance ministry official said any further help for Greece would aim to cover its funding shortfall in 2014-2016 and would be much smaller than the previous aid packages, given the country’s limited funding needs for the period.

The International Monetary Fund has put Greece’s uncovered funding needs for 2014-2015 at €10.9 billion.

At least part of that shortfall stems from national European central banks refusing to roll over part of the Greek bonds they hold.

Such estimates are revised frequently and are highly sensitive to budget and economic growth projections, which Greece’s lenders are expected to update in the fall.