Hard line rhetoric has been echoing in Athens all to the backdrop of a financial clock which is ticking at a heightened pace towards what could be the biggest default in world history.
But the clock could stop. Lithuanian Finance Minister Rimantas Sadzius said in an interview on Tuesday, “the European Union is all about compromise.”
That’s not making the headlines in Greece. “Hard ultimatum from the EU, 96 hours until an agreement or an accident,” screamed one.
“I don’t agree with the view that there was an ultimatum. An ultimatum has another meaning: that you have four days or else. There was no ‘or else’, but surely it won’t be for two more days. I think that it will be for al least five or 10 more days so that there is time for an agreement to be achieved,” opined Nick Kafkas Head of Research and Analysis for Merit Securities
First the ECB’s Governing Council will review the emergency funding for Greek banks on Wednesday. One source said there will be no sudden ending to it.
A deal should be reached on Friday giving time for national governments to approve it.
If not the curtains could close on this Greek drama by the end of this month.
“The market still sees the Greek negotiations as a big game of poker, on both sides and expects there will be negotiations up to the last day. I would expect the Greeks will stay in the eurozone but if things go on like this until the middle of March, plans will have to be made for a Greek exit. The eurozone would be able to manage that but it is not desirable,” said Robert Halver, Head of Market Research for Baader Bank.
On opening Greek markets took a hit. The main Athens index fell by more than 4 percent. As the day progressed it recovered some ground though was still 2 percent down by mid-afternoon. Greeks and financial institutions are waiting on the ‘poker players’.