Greece concludes second early repayment of IMF loans

FILE PHOTO: The IMF logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington
FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

March 18, 2021

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece has made an early repayment of debt worth 3.3 billion euros ($3.93 billion) to the International Monetary Fund, its finance ministry said on Thursday.

The move, the second early repayment of debt to the IMF since 2019, allows Athens to reduce its debt-servicing costs, because IMF loans carry higher interest than Greece would now pay on the market.

“It reduces interest rate and foreign exchange risk and refinancing risk for the next two years,” the ministry said in a statement. “It also improves key debt sustainability indicators.”

The European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the euro zone’s bailout fund, approved the transaction earlier this month.

The country has received three international bailouts from the euro zone and the IMF worth 280 billion euros since 2010. It emerged from its latest bailout in August 2018 and has relied on the debt markets to cover its borrowing needs since.

The remaining loans from the fund are now 1.5 billion euros due by 2024.

($1 = 0.8389 euros)

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadiams; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)