Greece’s government has about a month’s cash left. Maybe only three weeks, in a worst-case scenario.
That’s according to sources inside the government that spoke to Bloomberg. The bailout funds Greece gets from its “Troika” of international lenders (the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF) finish at the end of February.
The government could have gone for an extension of the programme (as many analysts expected) but finance minister Yanis Varoufakis confirmed at the end of January that the government has “no intention of co-operating” with the Troika.
That means that Greece’s large debt repayments, which are due in March, now look extremely weighty. Here’s what Bloomberg says on the coming “cash crunch”.
Unless the 15 billion-euro ($US17 billion) limit on short-term borrowing set by Greece’s troika of official creditors is raised, the government may run out of cash on Feb. 25, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the figures are confidential. Three weeks ago, international officials reckoned Greece could hang on until mid-year.
With Greeks yanking their cash from banks and withholding tax payments, Tsipras would only be able to survive for a few more weeks by tapping social-security funds and withholding payments to vendors, the person said. By the end of March he may face existential choices: accepting a lifeline with conditions he has consistently rejected or abandoning the euro.
There are concerns about what a desperate government in Athens would do in that situation: Syriza’s seemingly warmer relations with Moscow have raised concerns that the government could turn to Russia for funding.
Barclays analysts now think the chance of Greece exiting the euro (Grexit) are higher than they were during the heat of the euro crisis two and a half years ago:
Overall, we retain the view that an agreement between the Greek government and the EU remains possible, but the probability of a Greek exit is clearly now higher that at any time in 2012. The rise of radical parties in Europe, such as Podemos in Spain, leaves not much room to EU policymakers to be lenient on Greece’s requests.
Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, an economics professor whose particular interest lies in game theory, and German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who is reportedly “relaxed” about a Greek exit from the euro, are meeting today.