No discussion yet on Cyprus bailout amount

Cyprus has not specified a figure for a possible bailout it requested from euro-area countries on Monday, the country?s finance minister said on Tuesday.

?Neither ourselves nor the people we are talking to have ever raised the question of the amount,? Vassos Shiarly (photo) told reporters.

?It is a matter that will be determined in the process that will follow.?

Negotiations will begin ?as soon as Europe and ourselves are ready to negotiate,? he said.

Sources from Brussels had put the amount required as high as 10 billion euros.

Also on Tuesday the European Central Bank said Cypriot government bonds have become ineligible as collateral in refinancing operations as their rating no longer meets the minimum creditworthiness standards.

Cyprus is rated junk by all three major rating companies after Fitch Ratings Co downgraded the country on Monday as it sought an aid package from the euro area?s firewall funds.

The ECB has accepted sovereign bonds with at least a BBB- rating, the lowest investment grade, since October 2008.

?Cypriot government securities cannot be used as collateral in Eurosystem monetary policy operations,? the ECB stated.


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