Greece and lenders agree bailout, shares rally

Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:42pm EDT
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By George Georgiopoulos and Michele Kambas

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece and its international lenders reached an 85 billion euro bailout agreement on Tuesday after nailing down the terms of new loans needed to save the country from financial ruin.

The deal, which came after 23 hours of talks that continued through the night, must still be adopted by Greece's parliament and by euro zone countries.

The currency bloc's finance ministers are expected to give their approval on Friday in time for Greece to make a crucial 3.2 billion euro debt repayment that falls due next week.

Greek shares rallied, with the banking index climbing 3 percent, while the government's two-year borrowing costs fell to a five-month low.

The agreement gives Greece some respite after a turbulent year marked by acrimonious talks with lenders, the imposition of capital controls and a three-week shutdown of its banks before Athens capitulated last month to creditors' demands for deep austerity measures in order to receive new loans.

But the deal has caused a rebellion within Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's Syriza party, forcing him to rely on opposition support in parliament and raising talk of early elections in the autumn.

Tsipras wants parliament to approve the deal by Thursday, before the euro zone finance ministers reconvene. This would pave the way for aid disbursements by Aug. 20, when a 3.2 billion euro debt payment is due to the European Central Bank.

But he could face an obstacle from Parliament Speaker Zoe Constantopoulou, one of the creditors' fiercest critics, who may delay a parliamentary committee expected on Wednesday till Thursday, potentially pushing back the vote, Mega TV reported.   Continued...

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attends a meeting at the Agriculture Ministry in central Athens, Greece, August 5, 2015.  REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou