Greece is set to tap into more than half a billion euros of funds sitting in the country's bank rescue fund as it scrambles to find money. As Hayley Platt reports, the news comes as a technical review of Greece's proposed reforms gets underway.
It's desperate times for Greek banks. Latest reports suggest the government has had to resort to raiding the country's bank rescue fund again as cash gets low. It's apparently using 555 million euros to recapitalize its main lenders. With aid from its euro zone partners on hold and no access to debt markets they have little choice. IG's Chris Beauchamp thinks they're a lot closer to running out of cash than many realise. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IG, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SAYING: "There is a sense that Greece was being tided over until the end of March but we are not even half way through March yet and already the situation is looking a lot more desperate, they are sort of rummaging behind the sofa for the last few euros to keep things going in the meantime." Last week the Greek Central Bank Governor tried to reassure markets all was fine. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR, YANNIS STOURNARAS, SAYING: "There is full support for Greek banks, there is absolutely no danger. Banks are adequately capitalised, and their liquidity is assured, so there is no problem with deposits, none at all." Greece has begun discussing the technical details of its reform plan with creditors. It's hoped it will lead to the release of its next bailout instalment But even if it does a new debt agreement could be a long way off. Too long for some maybe - but then again... (SOUNDBITE) (English) IG, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SAYING: "The ideal that drives the euro zone is this idea of ever closer union. And to suddenly lose someone for the first time in the entire history of the European Union and the European community would mark a significant departure from that theme and is almost too terrible to contemplate. Maybe any price is worth paying." For now the price is 1.5 billion euros - the loan repayment it needs to make to the International Monetary Fund this month. That's doesn't include the money it needs to refinance 3.2 billion euros of maturing treasury debt.