ECONOMY

ECB cash said likely to fall short of Greek request this week

Greece probably won’t get all the European Central Bank cash it’s requesting this week, according to two people familiar with the situation.

The government in Athens sought between 800 million euros ($860 million) and 900 million euros of ECB Emergency Liquidity Assistance, the financial lifeline keeping Greece’s economy afloat, said one of the people. Both asked not to be named because the talks are private.

As ECB officials prepared to hold a conference call to assess Greece’s ELA later on Thursday, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis criticized central bank policy makers for keeping the country on a tight leash amid negotiations to release aid from its international bailout package.

“The eurozone is teaching us about the paradox of central bank independence,” Varoufakis said at an event in Paris. “The attempt to ringfence Frankfurt from politics has produced a highly politicized central bank. I do not blame the governing council. In their attempt to do some efficient firefighting, they have become politicized.”

Greek officials this week said they are targeting an April 24 meeting of euro-area finance ministers as a deadline for approving new money. A looming cash crunch in the summer, when the ECB needs to be repaid, means a new bailout deal will be needed before then.

“I am confident that an agreement will be reached by the next Eurogroup meeting,” Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said in an interview in Singapore. “The situation is going in the right direction.”

Spokesmen for the ECB and the Bank of Greece declined to comment when contacted about the ELA.

[Bloomberg]