ECONOMY

Italy’s Padoan sees Greek agreement by April 24 eurogroup talks

Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said he is confident an agreement on financial support for Greece will be reached by the time euro-area finance ministers meet on April 24.

“Talks continue. Progress is being made,” Padoan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin in Singapore on Thursday. “I am confident that an agreement will be reached by the next Eurogroup meeting.”

With a monthly bill of about 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) for pensions and salaries, Greek officials this week said they are targeting the April 24 meeting in Riga as a deadline for approving new money, averting any potential exit from the 19-country euro region in a scenario known as Grexit. A looming cash crunch in the summer, when the European Central Bank needs to be repaid, still suggests that any respite would be temporary.

“There is common interest in finding a solution which excludes Grexit,” Padoan said. “The situation is going in the right direction.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank by assets, needs to be ready for Greece to depart from the euro currency union, Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said Wednesday in a letter to shareholders of his New York-based bank.

“We must be prepared for a potential exit,” Dimon said. “We continually stress test our company for possible repercussions resulting from such an event.”

Greece is negotiating a package of measures to repair the nation’s economy, a condition for the release of more bailout funds from euro-area countries and the International Monetary Fund. Greece met its obligation to pay the IMF about 450 million euros, a Finance Ministry official said Thursday.

[Bloomberg]