Greece faces crucial day for debt writedown


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The Independent Online

Greece's race to slice euro 107 billion euro off its national debt entered the final stretch today, with markets confident enough investors will accept to write down more than half of the value of their Greek bond holdings.

If too few investors agree and the swap fails, the crisis-hit country will likely default on its debt in less than two weeks when a big bond repayment is due, prompting renewed turmoil in financial markets and knocking confidence in the global economy.

But markets appeared optimistic that Greece would muster enough support. Greece's stock exchange was up 1.4 per cent, while the Stoxx 50 of leading European shares rose 1.2 per cent.

Athens is asking private creditors to swap their Greek bonds for new ones with a 53.5 per cent lower face value, lower interest rates and longer maturity dates.

The bond swap is a radical attempt to finally pull Greece out of its debt spiral and put its shrinking economy back on the path to recovery. The hope is that by slashing the overall debt, the country, which is in a fifth year of recession, can gradually return to growth and eventually repay the remaining money it owes.