Saturday, August 11, 2012

Greek Auction to raise money to pay debt


Greece, starved of financing options, will step up its treasury bill issuance on Tuesday, offering an unusually large amount so it can meet looming redemptions on Aug. 20 and fund its cash needs until it secures further aid from its international creditors. The auction, which could raise up to €5 billion ($6.15 billion), is likely to meet decent demand despite Greece's precarious government finances, because this short-term debt is accepted as collateral by the European Central Bank. Greek banks, keen to access ECB emergency facilities, are likely to snap up the new paper. The Greek Public Debt Management Agency said it would auction €3.125 billion of 13-week treasury bills next week. Two noncompetitive auction rounds, if exercised to the maximum allowed amount, could bring the total to €5 billion. The country sold 26-week treasury bills this week, through which it raised €1 billion. Greece was left with no options other than to increase its auction sizes after its euro-zone partners declined to provide it with a bridge loan until a disbursement of crucial aid in coming months. Greece is in talks with international creditors—the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the ECB—on a package of new austerity measures of €11.5 billion, a requirement for Greece to receive its next €31 billion aid installment. A decision by creditors on whether the country is eligible for the funds won't be made until October. Raising €5 billion next week would allow Greece to repay creditors and meet general financing needs. Greece must repay €3.1 billion of debt on Aug. 20, mostly to the ECB. According to RBC Capital Markets analysts, €670 million of coupon payments add to its payment duties.

http://online.wsj.com
Write to Emese Bartha at emese.bartha@dowjones.com

Mount Athos on fire



THESSALONIKI, Greece - A large forest fire that broke out at a remote monastic community in Greece where women have not been allowed for a thousand years spread Thursday to a nearby resort area, forcing the evacuation of a seaside vacation village and sending up a thick pall of smoke over the area.
It was not clear how the fire started Wednesday on the Mount Athos peninsula, a World Heritage site and self-ruled community of Orthodox monks that bans women — and even female animals — from entering. Officials said no damage was caused to the northern Greek peninsula's 20 medieval monasteries, which visitors can only access by sea.
Firefighters managed to prevent the flames from sweeping through Ouranoupolis, a resort village north of the rugged, densely-wooded northern Greek peninsula, on Thursday, although the fire damaged outlying building and elderly people and others were taken to a nearby beach as a precaution. The fire brigade said in a statement that 130 firefighters, assisted by dozens of volunteers and soldiers, water trucks, five water-dropping aircraft and two helicopters were trying to contain the blaze.
The fire brigade said the conflagration started in a remote area in the vicinity of the Serbian Hilandar Monastery, the peninsula's northernmost monastery and one that was badly damaged by fire in 2004. It was unclear how it started, and no immediate estimate was available on the extent of the burned area.
Greece is in the grips of a heat wave, and wildfires have been burning around the country.
Elsewhere, firefighters were trying to extinguish two big fires in the areas of Tripoli and Corinth, in the southern Peloponnese area, which broke out Tuesday and destroyed thousands of acres of forest and shrubbery. Officials said no inhabited areas were under threat, and the blazes seemed to be on the wane Thursday.
A 45-year-old Greek man was arrested and charged with accidentally starting a fire in the Tripoli area.
Forest fires are common during Greece's typically long, hot summers. In 2007, more than 60 people died in a series of huge blazes in the Peloponnese and central Greece.



Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Forest+fire+forces+Greek+authorities+partially+evacuate+northern/7061290/story.html#ixzz23DfPLXiY