ECONOMY

March obligations are prime concern at the Finance Ministry

March represents the first major hurdle for the state’s cash reserves in case political developments do not allow for the disbursement of the bailout funds that depend on the final inspection by the country’s creditors.

In the first three months of next year the state will have to pay total obligations (bonds, interest to the International Monetary Fund etc.) amounting to 4.6 billion euros. Some 2.5 billion euros of that will come due in March, making it the most difficult month of the first half of 2015.

The state’s total obligations next year amount to 22.5 billion euros. Their payment program is back-loaded, with Athens needing to service obligations of 8.9 billion euros in the first half of the year while the remaining 13.5 billion is due for payment in the second half.

Once March is out of the way, the next tough months will be in the summer, as Greece must pay off 2.6 billion euros in June, 5.1 billion in July and 3.6 billion in August, for a total of 11.4 billion euros this summer.

For now the Finance Ministry is working to ensure the payment of the first quarter’s 4.6 billion euros. Officials estimate that if Athens manages in the first quarter it will be able to cover its requirements up to June.

The solutions that the state has to secure the cash required are short-term borrowing from state entities through repos, another extraordinary issue of treasury bills in March to repay the 1.6 billion euros it will borrow today, and the utilization of the cash reserves of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) that could – for a few days – offer a safety cushion for the state’s cash flow.

A more extreme scenario would involve a small delay in the repayment of expired debts to state procurers in order to service other, more urgent requirements.