July 23, 2011
Euro zone officials and bankers plan to conduct a voluntary swap of privately-held Greek bonds for longer maturities within a few weeks to minimize the period during which Greece is in partial default, a senior EU official said.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said talks were continuing aimed at starting the bond exchange in late August and concluding it in early September.
"This operation is designed so it is likely to be at a point of time in the last days of August and first days of September when it will be done at the same all over Europe," he said.
"That is the moment when there will be a selective default or a restricted default, according to the ratings agencies. It can be quite short," he said.
Greece's private sector creditors will take a 21 percent loss on their bond holdings as part of a 37 billion euro contribution over the next three years to a rescue plan for the debt-stricken country agreed at a euro zone summit on Thursday.
The money will come from a variety of debt swaps, plus a buyback of Greek debt on the secondary market and a rollover of maturing Greek bonds into 30-year instruments.