Monday, May 3, 2010

Greece Gets a $146 Billion Bailout

Greece is getting a bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to the tune of $146 Billion. The people supporting this see it as a last gambit to stem the tide of default because if Spain goes under the whole region could be in trouble.

"Euro-region ministers agreed to a 110 billion-euro ($146 billion) rescue package for Greece to prevent a default and stop the worst crisis in the currency’s 11-year history from spreading through the rest of the bloc.

The first payment will be made before Greece’s next bond redemption on May 19, said Jean-Claude Juncker after chairing a meeting of euro-region finance ministers in Brussels yesterday. The 16-nation bloc will pay 80 billion euros at a rate of around 5 percent and the International Monetary Fund contributes the rest. Greece agreed to budget measures worth 13 percent of gross domestic product.
“The EU can afford to bail-out Greece and even Portugal, but it cannot afford bailing out Spain,” said Andrew Bosomworth, Munich-based head of portfolio management at Pacific Investment Management Co., which oversees the world’s largest mutual fund from Newport Beach, California. “Therefore a lot is resting on getting Greece right.”

Germany will provide 28 percent of the euro region’s overall contribution.

In return for rescue funds, Greece agreed to measures that the ADEDY civil servants union called “savage.” Greece will cut wages and freeze pensions for three years as well as increase the main sales tax to 23 percent from 21 percent. Progress will be monitored quarterly, the Greek government said.
The financial lifeline lasts three years and forces Greece to cut its budget deficit below the European Union’s limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product by the end of 2014, a year later than originally planned. The shortfall was 13.6 percent last year, the second-biggest in the region after Ireland.

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