Greece has a major debt repayment to make in the next 24 hours and the situation is looking desperate

Greek flag cloudsREUTERS/Yannis BehrakisThings are looking grim.

Greece’s next major debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is due on Thursday. It’s worth €460 million ($US499.44 million), and though most analysts think it will be made, there’s almost no way the government can go much further without the latest package of bailout money.

The government is still locked in negotiations with the rest of Europe for the €7.2 billion ($US7.82 billion) bailout it agreed to in late February. There are few signs of much progress being made and investment bank UBS now suggests that Greece is likely to default at some point soon.

Greece has a bundle of other payments to make in the weeks and months ahead, and nobody knows which will be the one that Athens can’t afford.

Here’s HSBC’s timeline of what’s coming up:

Here’s HSBC on how the situation with play out from here:

We remain confident that the government should be able to meet its payments – including wages and pensions – until the end of April, as also confirmed by Greek government sources recently … We suspect the real crunch point might be the EUR0.8bn repayment to the IMF on 12 May. Without any payment from the creditors by then or a substantial improvement in the public finances, we find it difficult to see how Greece could meet that payment.

Some think it’s even sooner than that, and the crunch point could be on April 20.

Nobody knows quite how much money the Greek government has left. It is making pension and salary payments, but everything other than that is a bit of a question mark. At the end of March the Financial Times reported that Greece is raiding public health funds and state-owned utilities — combined with EU agricultural payments, that might have raised nearly €1 billion, but it’s a short-term boost at best.

The bottom line is that Greece’s public finances are looking extremely grim. Without the bailout cash, the country will have to default on something pretty soon. Even with that money, Greece has just a few months to breathe before it’s back in the same position once again.

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