Greece is considering defaulting on its sovereign debt and implementing a 50% haircut for bondholders, according to two Greek newspapers that quoted Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
While Greek officials did not deny the comments, they attempted to downplay the report. Venizelos later issued a statement that the report is an unhelpful distraction from the primary goal of providing Greece with bailout funds via the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF). ”All other discussions, rumors, comments, scenarios which are diverting our attention from this central target and Greece’s political obligation … do not help our common European task,” Venizelos asserted.
According to Reuters, “Newspaper Ta Nea said Venizelos had told Socialist lawmakers behind closed doors that the government’s central scenario was to stick to austerity plans to receive a second 109 billion ($146 billion) bailout and avoid bankruptcy…The alternatives were either an agreed restructuring of Greek debt with a 50 percent reduction in the face value of government bonds, or a disorderly default, he said.”
Venizelos was flying to Washington on Friday to attend weekend meetings with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. While there, he is also expected to also hold discussions with euro zone finance ministers.