7 february: IMF staff report on Greek debt sustainability published

February 7, 2017

An IMF staff report published on 7 February calls on the euro area to offer significant debt relief to Greece. It summarises:

"Despite the policy constraints imposed by its membership in the currency union, Greece has made significant progress in unwinding its macroeconomic imbalances. But extensive fiscal consolidation and internal devaluation have come with substantial costs for society, which contributed to delays in reform implementation and to policy reversals since the last Article IV Consultation, culminating in a renewed crisis of confidence in 2015. Since then, the situation has stabilized, and growth is estimated to have resumed modestly in 2016. Notwithstanding the substantial progress achieved by Greece, it still faces fundamental challenges: (i) a vulnerable structure of the public finances; (ii) significant tax evasion and an ineffective tax administration; (iii) impaired bank and private sector balance sheets; and (iv) pervasive structural obstacles to investment and growth. Moreover, its public debt remains highly unsustainable, despite generous official relief already provided by its European partners. Addressing these remaining challenges and restoring debt sustainability are essential to creating a vibrant and dynamic private sector capable of generating sustainable and equitable growth and employment."

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