The Bank of Greece refuted earlier today a report by German financial newspaper Handelsblatt that the troika of international lenders gave an ultimatum to Greece that the European Central Bank will stop liquidity to Greek banks unless Athens and troika come to an agreement by end of 2014.
According to Handelsblatt, the ECB will stop re-financing Bank of Greece unless Athens agrees with its international creditors. So far, the ECB uses Greek bonds as collateral and lends at a 0.05 percent interest rate. In case there is no agreement, Handelsblatt says, ECB will stop re-financing Bank of Greece by buying Greek bonds.
In that case, BoG will be forced to borrow through the ELA system (Emergency Liquidity Assistance) at 1.55 percent interest rate. This means that Greek banks can only offer loans with high interest rates since the cost of borrowing will be higher.
The German newspaper makes these claims with sources from Brussels, Berlin and Athens. Handelsblatt says that the Eurogroup wants negotiations to end before Christmas and puts pressure on Athens to accept the troika’s demands. At the same time, the troika keeps asking for more measures and reforms, while Athens looks determined to refuse certain demands.
“This is nonsense,” a Bank of Greece official told newsit.gr, commenting on the Handelsblatt report.
At the moment, the general climate in Europe favors financial liquidity, especially after yesterday’s intervention by the Head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi. Analysts point out that it is the first time Draghi says so unequivocally that it ECB is determined to proceed, if necessary, to massive bond purchases even without a unanimous decision of ECB board members.