Greece’s Path to New IMF Loan Grows Even Rockier Following Leak

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras may be alienating the International Monetary Fund just when he needs it most.

The IMF has questioned whether the goal of reaching a fiscal surplus of 3.5 percent of gross domestic product, agreed to in last year’s euro-area bailout of Greece, is realistic. In the transcript of a conference call published by WikiLeaks on Saturday, the fund’s European Department director, Poul Thomsen, suggests the IMF would accept a revised goal of 1.5 percent. Thomsen has said euro-area countries would have to offer more debt relief if the target is loosened.

That scenario would take some fiscal pressure off Greece while setting the stage for a new IMF loan. Yet instead of seizing on that negotiating room, Tsipras added to tensions: He suggested fund officials weren’t negotiating in good faith, highlighting a different part of the transcript that he said shows the IMF considering a plan to cause a credit event in Greece. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde dismissed that accusation as “ridiculous” and said her staff has her full confidence.


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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Currency Analyst at OANDA
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Sky News, Bloomberg, CNBC and BBC. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.