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Euro zone, IMF agree to Greek debt ceiling

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde arrives at an euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels Nov. 26, 2012.


Euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund agreed on Monday that Greek public debt should fall to 124 per cent of GDP in 2020 through a package of extra debt-cutting measures totalling 20 per cent of GDP, officials said.

The agreement emerged during talks in Brussels among finance ministers from the 17 euro zone countries, the European Central Bank and the IMF on how to make Greek debt sustainable.

"It's going very slow, but we have financing and a Debt Sustainability Analysis. We've filled the financing gap until the end of program in 2014. The DSA is 124 per cent in 2020," one official said, adding that talks on the details of the debt-cutting measures with the IMF were still ongoing.

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The IMF has said that Greece's debt as a proportion of GDP must be cut to around 120 per cent by 2020, from a forecast 190 per cent next year, for it to be manageable in the long-term.

It was not immediately clear how the debt would be reduced from its currently forecast level of 144 per cent in 2020 to the target of 124 per cent, but it is expected to involve a series of measures including an extension of the maturity and lowering of interest rate on loans to Greece, a debt buyback and a return to Athens of profits made by the ECB on Greek debt it holds.

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