In Greece, Thursday was deadline day for a bond swap offer to private creditors. If more than two-thirds accept the plan, it will lead to the release of a 130 billion euros in bailout funds to save the Greek economy.
Hours ahead of the 21:00 CET deadline, holders of nearly 57 percent of the total 206 billion euros in outstanding debt were already committed. They included major banks and pension funds.
“This recapitalisation will be significant and will be necessary as to allow the Greek banking system to extend credit again to the real economy,” said Plato Monokroussos, Head of Financial Markets Research at Eurobank, Athens.
It is in the real economy that the money is desperately needed.
New unemployment figures released on Thursday showed Greece’s jobless total reached a record 21 percent of the workforce in December. Severe budget cuts have caused a wave of business closures and bankruptcies.
Greece’s problems are so severe, it has no credibility to raise money directly from the international financial markets. Analysts say the bond swap is the only way Athens can stave off a default.