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Greek PM meets Obama over crisis
Papandreou urges US president to crack down on speculators damaging Greece's economy.
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2010 04:57 GMT
Papandreou demanded US action against speculators that he says are deepening Greece's crisis [AFP]

The Greek prime minister has welcomed the US response to his call for a crackdown on speculators he blames for damaging Greece's economy.

George Papandreou met President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday to discuss his country's financial woes.

"We have found a positive response from President Obama which means this issue will be on the agenda in the next G20 meeting," Papandreou told reporters, refering to the G20 meeting in June, outside the White House after the talks.

Greece wants to see the US impose stricter regulations on hedge funds and currency traders that Athens believes aggravated their crisis.

In depth

 

  Inside Story: Greece's financial turmoil
  Counting the Cost: Greece's debt problems
  Video: Wake-up call for Greek economy

"Unprincipled speculators are making billions every day by betting on a Greek default," Papandreou said on Monday, following reports US funds placed big bets against the euro.

Papandreou's trip to Washington along with George Papaconstantinou, his finance minister, with a budget deficit of 12.7 per cent of gross domestic product for 2009.

Papaconstantinou visited the International Monetary Fund in Washington to discuss technical assistance.

There has been speculation that Greece may seek an IMF bailout if support from the European Union proves inadequate. Greece has not ruled out asking the IMF for help.

Issuing bonds

Greece is planning to raise around 10 billion euros ($13.6bn) this month by issuing bonds as it races to meet debt requirements, Dow Jones Newswires reported on Tuesday citing officials.

An unnamed official said the money would be "a good cushion before the big debt  maturities in April and May".

Greece needs to redeem debts of around 20 billion euros by the end of May.

The government last week sold five billion euros in 10-year bonds, but it was forced to borrow at a high rate of above six per cent - about twice the rate for a 10-year German bond - because of low investor confidence.

A second official was quoted in the report as saying: "We still expect some kind of an arrangement from the European Union ... There  are discussions on this matter so that Greece can pay more logical yields."

Source:
Agencies
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