Monday, December 3, 2012

Euro-Zone Finance Ministers Discuss New Bailouts

Wall Street Journal
December 3, 2012

A week after settling on a debt-relief plan for Greece, euro-zone finance ministers met again Monday to discuss two other bailouts in the works, one for Cyprus and another for Spanish banks, and review progress on a key piece of the Greek plan, a debt buyback the Greek government launched Monday morning.

The buyback is the most important part of last week's plan for cutting Greece's debt. But it is unclear how many of Greece's bondholders, many of which are non-Greek investment funds, will agree to sell their bonds back to the Greek government at sharply discounted prices. On Friday, a senior euro-zone official said a "complete reassessment" would be necessary if a large share of bondholders don't sign up.

There were signs that the buyback would yield less debt relief than expected. The plan cobbled together last week relies on the offer price being capped at the price of Greek bonds on Nov. 23. Monday's offer prices, which range from 32.2 euro cents to 40.1, depending on the bond maturity, are somewhat higher than prices on Nov. 23. Analysts expect the offer would cut roughly €20 billion ($26 billion) off Greece's debt pile.


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