It was argued in an earlier blog on the Greek debt crisis that a deus ex machina was needed to find a resolution to the impasse between Greece and its creditors. The most likely candidate for such as role was the IMF.
Three days before the Greek referendum on whether or not to accept the Troika’s proposals, the IMF has stepped onto the stage. To the undoubted surprise of the other two partners in the Troika (the European Commission and the ECB), the IMF argues that Greece’s debts are unsustainable and that much more is needed than a mere bailout (which simply rolls over the debt).
According to the IMF, Greece needs €52bn of extra funds between October 2015 and December 2018, large-scale debt relief, a 20-year grace period before making any debt repayments and then debt repayments spread over the following 20 years. In return, Greece should commit to supply-side reforms to cut out waste, reduce bureaucracy, improve tax collection methods and generally improve the efficiency of the economic system.
It would also have to agree to the previously proposed primary budget surplus (i.e. the budget surplus excluding debt repayments) of 1 per cent of GDP this year, rising to 3.5 per cent in 2018.
So it this what commentators have been waiting for? What will be the reaction of the Greeks and the other two partners in the Troika? We shall see.
IMF says Greece needs extra €50bn in funds and debt relief The Guardian. Phillip Inman, Larry Elliott and Alberto Nardelli (2/7/15)
IMF: 3rd Greek bailout would cost €52bn. Or more? Financial Times, Peter Spiegel (2/7/15)
IMF: Greece needs to reform for sustainable debt, financing needs rising CNBC, Everett Rosenfeld (2/7/15)
The IMF has made an obvious point about Greece’s huge debt. Here’s why it still matters Quartz, Jason Karaian (3/7/15)
Greece: when is it time to forgive debt? The Conversation, Jagjit Chadha (2/7/15)
Greece: Preliminary Draft Debt Sustainability Analysis IMF (2/7/15)
Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis for Greece IMF (25/6/15)
- To which organisations is Greece indebted? What form to the debts take?
- To what extent is Greece’s current debt burden the result of design faults of the euro?
- What are the proposals of the IMF? What effect will they have on the Greek economy if accepted?
- How would the IMF proposals affect aggregate demand (a) directly; (b) compared with the proposals previously on the table that Greece rejected on 26 June?
- What would be the effects of Greek exit from the euro (a) for Greece; (b) for other eurozone countries?
- What bargaining chips can Greece deploy in the negotiations?
- Explain what is meant by ‘moral hazard’. Where in possible outcomes to the negotiations may there be moral hazard?
- What has been the impact of Greek austerity measures on the distribution of income and wealth in Greece?
- What are the practicalities of pursuing supply-side policies in Greece without further dampening aggregate demand?