Varoufakis says Greece faces problem repaying IMF, ECB

Greece has no immediate problem with government liquidity, but faces trouble in making debt payments to the IMF and European Central Bank in the spring and summer, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Wednesday.

“We will not have liquidity problems for the public sector. But we will definitely have a problem in repaying installments to the IMF now and to the ECB in July,” he told Alpha Radio.

A finance ministry official said on Tuesday that Greece expected to start discussions immediately with its EU/IMF partners on filling the state’s funding gap.

Eurozone finance ministers have agreed to a four-month extension of Greece’s EU/IMF bailout program but funding will be released only after the new leftist-led government’s economic plans have been approved in detail.

Following interest payments this month of about 2 billion euros to private bondholders and official lenders, Greece must repay an International Monetary Fund loan of around 1.6 billion that matures in March.

Then it needs 0.8 billion euros for interest payments in April and about 7.5 billion in July and August for maturing bonds held by the ECB and for more interest payments.

Varoufakis also played down suggestions he had difficult relations with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. “I continue to say that of all my colleagues at the Eurogroup, I have the greatest respect for Wolfgang Schaeuble,” he said. “When he speaks, I enjoy listening to him and disagreeing with him.” [Reuters]