Saturday February 28, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
11o C
6o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greece’s return to bond market eased by banks, Provopoulos says

Nikos Chrysoloras & Christos Ziotis

Greek lenders’ success last month in raising funds from foreign investors shows the government can reach its goal of returning to bond markets, said George Provopoulos, the country’s central-bank chief.

“The successful restructuring of the banking system and the recapitalization of banks from the market following the latest stress-test exercise have facilitated the way for the Greek government to tap the market,” Provopoulos, who is also a member of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council, said in an interview in Athens on Tuesday.

Piraeus Bank SA and Alpha Bank AE last month raised nearly 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion), mostly from foreign investors, to plug a capital shortfall the Bank of Greece identified in a stress test. Piraeus also sold 500 million euros of three-year bonds, in the first public debt sale by a Greek lender since 2009.

Greece won approval this month from euro-area members for an 8.3 billion-euro aid payment, the first disbursement from its bailout program since December. The government and European Union predict that Greece will emerge in 2014 from six years of recession.

Two other lenders, Eurobank Ergasias SA and the National Bank of Greece SA, need to raise 2.95 billion euros and 2.18 billion euros respectively, according to the national regulator’s stress test, which was based on an asset-quality review by BlackRock Inc.

Provopoulos, 63, said discussions between the central bank and Eurobank’s potential “anchor investors” are near completion, as the country’s third-biggest lender by assets prepares to raise the capital it needs through a private placement by the middle of next month.

The central bank is likely to approve the Eurobank deal, Provopoulos said. He declined to comment on the shortfall for National Bank of Greece, which is required to submit a capital- raising plan later this month.

As the Greek economy contracted for six straight years, non-performing loans ballooned to 31.7 percent of total lending at the end of 2013, according to data provided by the Bank of Greece. Provopoulos forecast that NPLs will peak at the end of 2014, “provided economic activity continues to improve as expected, with GDP rising modestly this year.”

Greek lenders are now among the best-capitalized in Europe, he added, citing the drop in ECB funding. “It will be further reduced as Greek banks continue to regain access to markets,” Provopoulos said.

The next challenge for the country’s financial system will be to bolster the economic recovery, Provopoulos said.

“Banks should now support the reorientation of the economy toward production of tradable goods, which will boost net exports and help generate sustainable growth,” he said.

Greek lenders will face renewed scrutiny in a euro-area asset-quality review and stress test being conducted by the ECB through October. The health checks are part of the ECB’s Comprehensive Assessment before it becomes the region’s bank supervisor in November.

“The Bank of Greece eliminated the excess supply in the Greek banking sector,” said Provopoulos, who has shuttered 12 banks during his tenure. “We designed and implemented a pioneering resolution law, and now this is also happening at the European level.”

Greek lenders “most probably” won’t have to use reserves from the country’s bank-recapitalization fund, which currently stands at 11 billion euros, the central bank chief said. The fund maybe used to reduce Greek public debt if its still not been used in a year’s time, he added.

Asked to comment on his own future, Provopoulos said “the record of my performance is there for everyone to see and judge. It is up to the Greek Prime Minister to decide whether to renew my term,” which ends in June.

The Greek economy still faces challenges including deflation. Consumer prices calculated using a harmonized EU method dropped 0.9 percent in February from a year earlier for the 12th straight month of declines.

Euro-area inflation was 0.5 percent in March, well below the ECB’s goal of just under 2 percent, prompting President Mario Draghi to say policy makers are ready to use unconventional tools including quantitative easing if needed.

“We are reflecting on the design of a quantitative-easing program in the euro area,” he said. The Governing Council has “unanimously committed to using all instruments within its mandate, conventional and unconventional, to deal effectively with the risks of a too-prolonged period of low inflation.”

[Bloomberg]

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday April 9, 2014 (12:02)  
Piraeus plans are coming in next few weeks
Slowdown in tourism bookings from Germany
Economy grew by 1.3 pct in Q4 of last year
Gov’t plans tax on foreign-based funds
Tsipras unveils coalition´s first bills, due next week
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras set out on Friday his government’s immediate legislative plans, while at the same time insisting he would continue to pursue debt relief and refuse to sign a th...
Berlin clears extension as lenders ramp up pressure
There was strong backing in the German Parliament on Friday for the extension of Greece’s loan agreement but reports suggested that the country’s eurozone partners would continue to keep up ...
Inside News
BASKETBALL
Spanoulis leads Olympiakos to win over Malaga
A good second half was enough for Olympiakos to get the better of Unicaja Malaga (77-72) and score its seventh win in eight games at the second group stage of the Euroleague on Friday. Playi...
SOCCER
Ten-man Olympiakos couldn´t overcome Dnipro
Olympiakos drew 2-2 with Dnipro from Ukraine at home on Thursday, playing almost the entire second half with a man down, to bow out of the Europa League, despite facing an opponent which on ...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
A breath of opportunity
We are still living in the Greece we know: The government is struggling to explain its retreat in the face of our creditors, the opposition (including dissidents in SYRIZA) smells blood, we ...
EDITORIAL
Give the green light
Foreign investment is a crucial component of economic recovery and Greece needs to start bringing it in fast. Instead, the government, like others before it, is scaring it off in a bid to sa...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Spanoulis leads Olympiakos to win over Malaga
2. Piraeus plans are coming in next few weeks
3. Slowdown in tourism bookings from Germany
4. Economy grew by 1.3 pct in Q4 of last year
5. Gov’t plans tax on foreign-based funds
6. BoG recommends specialized entity for bad loans
more news
Today
This Week
1. Tsipras reversal draws Greek sympathy as party rumblings rise
2. Gov't official: bill reinstating ERT, rehiring staff to go to Parlt on March 5
3. German lawmakers approve extension of bailout program for Greece
4. German MPs begin debate on extending Greek bailout program
5. Restive Bundestag to approve Greek bailout extension
6. Gov't adviser suggests Greek MPs could vote on deal in separate bills
Today
This Week
1. Time for Alexis Tsipras to keep his nerve
2. Greek bailout deal faces review by euro officials next week
3. Greece says eurozone deal won time as cash bled from banks
4. The ignorance of the West about the culture of Islam
5. Spain said to lead push to hold Greece to terms as Podemos grows
6. A fierce battle looms
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.