ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s finance minister on Thursday denied a report citing the country’s representative to the IMF as saying Athens would need a third bailout package.
The euro weakened against the dollar on the report, which was later also denied by the official quoted in the article and came as international inspectors are mulling handing over the next tranche of Greece’s second aid package.
“The country’s positions are formulated by the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister,” Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told Reuters in response to the Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal report.
The article quoted Thanos Catsambas, Alternate Executive Director at the IMF Executive Board representing Greece, as saying the country would need a third bailout from European creditors. It also reported Greece could not bridge a funding gap and had met only 22 percent of targets for the second bailout.
The euro fell to a session low of $1.2881 (79 pence), with traders citing the report of Greece needing a third bailout, and was last at $1.2898.
Catsambas issued a statement saying the article included “at least three important inaccuracies”.
“There was never a discussion or reference to a third bailout programme, as the title of the article wrongly states,” he said.
He also denied that he had said the euro zone and European Central Bank (ECB) should fill Greece’s funding gap, as reported.
“I do not take any position regarding Greece’s euro zone partners. My statement was that the IMF has provided a four-year financing through the Extended Fund Facility and that at this juncture, no additional financing is envisaged,” he added.
Inspectors from the so-called troika of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Commission and ECB are in Athens to evaluate Greece’s progress on agreed targets before releasing the next, 32 billion euro ($41.30 billion), tranche from a 130 billion euro aid package.
IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in Washington that talks were focused on making progress with the current bailout.
Cash-strapped Greece must come up with nearly 12 billion euros of extra cuts for the next two years to get the money, and it has fallen behind in reforms.
Reporting by Dina Kyriakidou; Editing by Pravin Char