Greece is backtracking on privatisation and markets are surging on a rumoured deal with Europe

Greek Prime Minister Alexis TsiprasREUTERS/Francois LenoirGreek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses a news conference after meeting European Parliament President Martin Schulz (not pictured) at the EU Parliament in Brussels February 4, 2015.

Rumours are throwing Greek markets all over the place today, as the tense public negotiations with the radical new government in Athens get underway.

Greece’s new government is backtracking on its plans for Greece’s ports, according to the Wall Street Journal. Syriza, who won Greece’s election in late January, had promised to stall the Port of Piraeus’ privatisation, but it will now go ahead.

Here’s the WSJ:

Selling the state’s 67% stake in the Piraeus Port Authority is one of the biggest divestments of an ambitious privatization plan agreed to by the previous conservative government with the so-called troika of creditors — the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — for the debt-ridden country to continue receiving bailout funds. It is also one of the more symbolic: The port of Piraeus, just a few miles south of the Greek capital of Athens, is the de facto home of Greece’s giant shipping industry and is one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean.

“The Piraeus sale is on. It will proceed as planned,” a senior finance-ministry official told The Wall Street Journal.

This may be a big part of the Greek government’s new effort to get a deal from Europe. Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is reportedly happy to keep going with 70% of the structural reforms Greece has agreed with the troika, and privatising the port would be an enormous show of good faith.

Other market rumours are throwing Greek stocks all over the place today. At 12:11 p.m. GMT (98:11 a.m. ET) MNI reported that the EU Commission was tabling a six month deal for Greece. That would likely mean the bridging loan that Varoufakis wants to tide Greece over until the end of the summer. Nothing’s confirmed yet, and the EU says there’s nothing formal on the table, but as of 1:20 p.m. GMT, Greek stocks are up by nearly 6%.

Here’s how that looks:

According to Bloomberg’s Guy Johnson, there’s a call this afternoon between Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and the European Commission’s Jean-Claude Juncker, so this may not be the last of the lines we heard today.

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