Cyprus may face December cash crunch

The Cypriot government, shut out of markets since May 2011, may struggle to pay its bills in December if an international bailout is delayed.

Cyprus, which had 478.5 million euros in the bank at the end of July, faces 751 million euros of maturing debt through the end of November, according to the Finance Ministry.

The government also has monthly outlays for wages, subsidies and social programs, with a larger year-end wage payment due in December.

?The situation is very difficult and I don?t think it?s unlikely that the government will run out of cash,? said Symeon Matsis, an economist and former head of the country?s Planning Bureau. ?Their projections are based on tax revenues compared with expenditures, but revenues could decrease because of the recession.?

On June 25, Cyprus became the fifth country in the euro area to seek external aid. Euro-area finance ministers agreed to begin talks two days later. No amount was specified for the rescue, which will encompass the public sector as well as banks.

Cyprus also sought assistance from Russia and the International Monetary Fund.

Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly said on CyBC radio on Monday that the government could meet its obligations for the next three months using short-term loans.

Politis newspaper reported the same day that Cyprus faced a shortfall of 530 million euros through the end of the year.

The government?s fiscal deficit on a cash basis narrowed to 3.4 percent of GDP in the year through July from 4.4 percent a year earlier, according to the Finance Ministry. [Bloomberg]

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