No clincher for Greek debt deal

The Greek tragedy continues: despite talks throughout the night to agree new terms for emergency aid - around £100bn - for Athens, it's no deal.

Some European lenders want to give Greece more time to gets her debts down, helped by having some of the debts written off. But the IMF is refusing. Either way Greece, again, is edging towards insolvency.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%


Greece needs to slay its public debt-to-GDP ratio by 120% by 2020 (currently it's heading for 190%) in order to make its debt sustainable longer term. But to do that it needs financial support, as well as agreement from Eurozone lenders that Greek debt can be snipped. But cutting Greek debt would be seen as illegal - particular from the German end.

There is some optimism around. Virginie Maisonneuve, head of global and international equities at Schroders, told the BBC earlier today that the squabbles are more focused on divisions between the EU and IMF - and that some positive data is emerging from Greece.

Meanwhile Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker has told the media that Greece "has delivered. Now it's up to us to deliver." Athens says many of the tough reforms demanded from the bailout programme have been achieved.

Top tax man

It depends on the metrics. Greece still has a massive tax evasion issue (as, increasingly, has the UK, particularly from large corporates). The Greek government had plenty of access to information about wealthy Greek residents with Swiss bank accounts. Yet when Greek journalist and magazine owner Kostas Vaxevanis published a list of 2,000 possible suspects, the Greek authorities arrested Vaxevanis.

Relative to her total debt, the tax evasion issue remains small. Greek's rich remain largely sheltered. But Greek unemployment remains at more than 25% and tens of thousands of businesses cannot meet their payroll obligations (it's estimated almost a third of all Greek companies have gone bust since 2008/2009).

The structural challenges Greece needs to make to her economy, particularly with regard to her bloated public sector, remain enormous.
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