Greece

Greece’s National Bank (NBG) plans to securitise three billion euros of non-performing mortgage loans by 2022, its chief executive said on Friday, as the country’s lenders battle to deal with a legacy of bad debt, Reuters reported. Non-performing exposures in the Greek banking sector totalled 81.8 billion euros ($91.3 billion) in December, which at 46.7% of their loan books is the euro zone’s highest. The government and central bank have come up with more radical initiatives involving securitisations as the urgency for Greek banks to slash their soured loans rises.

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Greece’s central bank governor has warned that a package of pre-electoral handouts due to take effect next week could derail the country’s budget target agreed with its bailout creditors, the Financial Times reported. Yannis Stournaras’s warning came as parliament on Wednesday approved hastily prepared measures that the leftwing Syriza government hopes will boost its popularity ahead of EU parliament elections on May 26. The package of cuts in value added tax and a pension bonus would cost around €1bn, according to the finance ministry.

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By many measures Greece has turned a corner: Its stock benchmark has jumped 26 percent in 2019, set for its best first half in two decades, and trumping European shares’ 8.1 percent gain, Bloomberg News reported. Last year, the country recorded the strongest economic growth since 2007. Greece’s 10-year bonds yield 3.3 percent, a fraction of the 37 percent the country had to pay at the height of the financial crisis. For all that, many Greeks are still struggling to claw out from under mountains of debt after a decade during which the economy cratered, contracting by more than a quarter.

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Greece extended its budget surplus last year, reflecting the leftwing Syriza government’s expectations of a record-busting figure, in the latest sign of Athens pleasing investors after a decade-long debt crisis that took it to the brink of leaving the eurozone. One of the bloc’s poorest members showed a surplus of 1.1 per cent of gross domestic product for 2018, compared with a revised 0.7 per cent for the previous year, and a far cry from its 5.6 per cent deficit of 2015, its statistics office said on Tuesday. Figures published in December for the first 11 months of 2018 had shown that Gre

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Greek revival is an architectural style involving columns of marble. It’s also a good description of a ridiculed nation’s prestige among investors, involving columns of numbers measuring unexpected economic durability, a Bloomberg View reported. Global investors snapped up 2.5 billion euros worth of Greece’s 10-year bonds last month, the first such offering in nine years. That made the Hellenic Republic's debt the world’s most prized, buoyed by gross domestic product growth that’s outperforming Germany, France and the euro zone.

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Greek utility Public Power Corp (PPC) is considering the securitisation of part of its backlog of unpaid bills, it said in a bourse filing on Thursday, as repayment looms next month on an existing bond, Reuters reported. Chief Executive Manolis Panagiotakis said in January that declining profit was making it harder to issue debt, but was confident PPC would repay a 350 million euro ($394 million) bond due in May. In a brief statement following a report in Ta Nea newspaper, the company said it was examining all available financing options in order to deal with overdue receivables.

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Eurozone governments approved the release of €1 billion ($1.1 billion) of funds for Greece, after a monthslong spat over whether the country is reneging on the economic overhauls that it promised when its bailout ended, The Wall Street Journal reported. Eurozone finance ministers meeting in Romania on Friday decided that Greece has enacted enough overhauls to receive the money, which come from the profits that eurozone central banks made on Greek government bonds during the country’s debt crisis.

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Can the EU bind future governments to promises made by previous prime ministers? It’s a Brussels dilemma that goes beyond the difficulties posed by a certain soon to be departing member state, the Financial Times reported. Greece is also becoming a test case for how the EU can wield control in a country that has escaped its leash in one sense. Athens exited nearly a decade of European bailouts last summer. After receiving hundreds of billions of euros in return for painful and swingeing economic reforms, the country is back borrowing on the debt markets.

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Greece cleared a key hurdle toward receiving around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in cash for debt relief, as the European Commission said the country has fulfilled all reform conditions required in its latest post-bailout audit, Bloomberg News reported. In a report reviewing Greece’s record in completing the overhauls attached to further aid, the EU’s executive arm paved the way for a final decision to be taken by euro-area finance ministers when they meet in Bucharest, Romania, later this week.

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The Bank of Greece warned Monday that the country is likely to miss its 2019 growth target due to mounting international uncertainty and doubts over the government's commitment to reforms, the International New York Times reported on an Associated Press story. Central bank governor Yannis Stournaras, presenting the bank's annual report, said the Greek economy was likely to grow by 1.9 percent this year. That's below the European Commission's forecast of 2.2 percent and Greece's official budget estimate of 2.5 percent.

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