• 2015-04-17 17:17

    --Eurogroup Chief Says With Political Will Could Clinch Deal in 2 Weeks
    --Worried if Greece Can Make IMF Payments in May

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem Friday urged Greece not to wait until mid-May when it owes money to the International Monetary Fund before coming to its creditors with a viable list of reforms that would allow for funds to be disbursed to the cash-strapped country.

    Speaking to small group of reporters on the sidelines the Spring meetings of the IMF, Dijsselbloem said if there was renewed political will from Athens a conclusion to the current impasse could be made in as little as two weeks.

    "Too little progress has been made but some progress has been made so we'll need more time.

  • 2015-04-17 14:20

    --If Greece Needs EU Funds Must Reach, Implement Deal

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Friday that time is ticking for a deal between the Greek government and its creditors and despite the fact that the Syriza-led government is "politically inexperienced," the Eurozone is willing to help.

    Speaking at the Peterson Institute in Washington, on the sidelines of the IMF spring meeting, Dijsselbloem stated his "intention was to keep Greece in the Eurozone."

    He admitted that while most Eurozone countries are now on the road of recovery and towards growth, Greece is one issue still dominating the Eurogroup finance ministers' meetings.

    "I won't say all of it but most of the bad part of the crisis is behind us and now

  • 2015-04-17 12:00

    By Angelika Papamiltiadou

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - Greece's Finance Minister Yiannis Varoufakis said Friday that European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is personally committed towards an agreement in negotiations with Greece.

    Varoufakis had an hour long meeting with Draghi as well as Executive Board Member Benoit Coeure on the sidelines of the IMF spring meeting in Washington.

    "We had a productive meeting and talk about the day-to-day procedure that will lead us to the Eurogroup on April 24" Varoufakis told journalists after the meeting.

    "Mr Draghi expressed his personal interest for a quick and effective solution that will ensure Greece's return to growth" he added.

    --MNI Athens Bureau; email:

    [TOPICS: M$X$$$,M$Y$$$,M$$EC$]

  • 2015-04-17 10:54

    By Henriette Vogt

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - Germany's Finance Minister Schaeuble said Friday that no progress is expected on talks with Greece during the weekend meeting of the International Monetary Fund Spring meeting.

    However, he plans to meet with Greece's Finance Minister Yiannis Varoufakis at the informal Ecofin meeting in Riga next week, the official told reporters on the sidelines of the IMF meeting in Washington.

    "There's no news," Schaeuble said. "And I doubt that there will be any by next week."

    Although Schaeuble and Varoufakis are attending the IMF meeting, but Schaeuble said "a meeting with the Greek finance minister is not scheduled.

  • 2015-04-17 09:00

    By Silvia Marchetti

    ROME (MNI) - The Bank of Italy Friday raised previous growth forecasts as a result of the European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme, which it said has already had a positive impact on the country's financial markets, but warned that the recovery is not yet "consolidated" and urged the government not to abandon its reform path.

    "On the basis of its impact on interest rates and the exchange rate, the expanded asset purchase programme could raise GDP by more than one percentage point in 2015-16.

  • 2015-04-17 08:35

    By Martin Baccardax

    LONDON (MNI) - European investors will navigate the next-to-last week of April in much the same way as they have for most of the year: focused on developments in Germany and Greece.

    With the region's consistent - but uneven - recovery clearly underway, investors will look to sentiment data from Germany this week to gauge the strength and pace of activity in the Eurozone's largest economy.

  • 2015-04-17 05:00

    By Martin Baccardax

    LONDON (MNI) - Eurozone inflation remained in negative territory for the fourth consecutive month in March, according to final data published Friday by Eurostat, but the slowing rate of energy price declines suggests the European Central Bank's myriad policy initiatives appear to have halted the risk of currency area deflation.

    Headline February HICP was confirmed at -0.1%, Eurostat said, unchanged from the March 31 estimate and a notable improvement from the -0.3% reading in February.

  • 2015-04-17 04:30

    -LFS Dec-Feb Jobless Rate 5.6%; In Line With BOE Q1 Forecast

    LONDON (MNI) - UK unemployment continued to decline, with the headline jobless rate hitting its lowest level since back in mid-2008, the official data show.

    The Labour Force Survey jobless rate fell to 5.6% of the workforce in December to February from 5.7% in November to January, hitting its lowest level since May to July 2008. The LFS jobless rate has been flat or falling every quarter since February 2013.

    The 5.6% reading is in touching distance of the Bank of England staff estimate of the medium term equilibrium, or non-inflationary, jobless rate of around 5.5%. BOE staff, however, are expected to lower that equilibrium rate in the May Inflation Report.

  • 2015-04-16 15:00

    By Martin Baccardax

    LONDON (MNI) - European Central Bank Executive Board member Peter Praet expressed confidence Thursday that currency area inflation will gradually return to the Bank's price stability target and that sustained disinflation in the Eurozone is unlikely.

    In prepared remarks for a panel discussion on "The Elusive Pursuit of Inflation" at the International Monetary Fund's Spring Meeting Seminar in Washington, Praet, the ECB's chief economist, also defended the Bank's quantitative easing programme and the introduction of negative interest rates.

    "Our expanded asset purchase programme has had three tangible effects," Praet explained.

  • 2015-04-16 11:12

    By Angelika Papamiltiadou

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio said Thursday that Greek banks' exposure to government bonds, excluding loans, is much smaller than some of its Eurozone peers as a result of the previous restructuring.

    Speaking on the sidelines of an event at the Levy Institute in Washington, Constancio noted the figure is only 3% and compares to figures such as 9% in Spain and 7% in Portugal.

    "The exposure percentage is not as big as in other Eurozone countries because of the PSI restructuring ... it terms of securities, bond assets, i am not counting loans, is only 3% of their total assets," Constancio told journalists.