IMF officials due in Athens to review fiscal and tax reforms
The two delegations from the IMF are expected to stay for about two weeks and will meet this week with Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou.
It is the first inspection since an agreement last month which would provide Athens IMF support combined with bilateral loans from other eurozone countries if Greece risks default. Despite the deal, debt-plagued Greece remains under pressure from high borrowing costs, with the spread between Greek 10-year bonds and equivalent German issues surging to 380 basis points Tuesday afternoon from about 360 points earlier in the day. A lack of detail on the bailout plan, looming debt repayment deadlines, and modest demand for 5 billion euros worth of seven-year bonds sold on March 29 have maintained uncertainty in the markets.
Greece must borrow 54 billion euros ($72 billion) this year, but has so far raised less than half of that amount on the international markets. The IMF is helping oversee tough inspections of Greek public finances, along with the European Commission and European Central Bank. The next assessment of Greece’s progress is due in mid-May.