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Greek finance minister hits back at IMF as bailout row deepens - business live

2016.12.13 05:54

 Wall Street opens higher

Ahead of the US rate decision on Wednesday - with the first hike in a year widely expected - Wall Street is on the front foot again.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has hit a new intra-day high of 19,915, although it has come off its best level to sit at 19901, up 105 points.
The S&P 500 has added 0.34% to a new high, while the Nasdaq Composite is up 0.37%.
Back with Greece and the IMF’s insistence it was not demanding more austerity. The eurozone appears very unhappy at the fund’s comments, and called for the discussions over Greece not to be aired in public. Reuters reports:
Euro zone officials hit back at the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday for publishing an article on the way forward for Greece’s fiscal and economic policy that thrust into the open a row between the lenders over Athens’ bailout.
“The European institutions were surprised that the IMF staff published a blog post on the ongoing negotiations with the Greek government as new talks in Athens are starting with the aim of concluding the second review,” said a spokesman for the euro zone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism.
“We hope that we can return to the practice of conducting program negotiations with the Greek government in private.”
The IMF article appeared as the Fund and the euro zone struggle to find common ground on Greek policies that would allow the IMF to take part in the latest bailout, the third one since 2010 and now fully financed by the euro zone.
The IMF, which a group of countries led by Germany very much want to join the latest program for credibility reasons, says euro zone targets set for Greece are too ambitious and assumptions on reform implementation too optimistic.
It said it was against further austerity in Greece and that a primary surplus target of 3.5 percent of GDP in 2018, on which the euro zone insists, risks damaging the nascent recovery.
The head of the European Department Poul Thomsen and chief economist Maury Obstfeld said a Greek primary surplus of 1.5 percent in 2018 would be enough and stood a better chance of being sustained for several years.
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