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Athens: No haircut and probably no new bailout needed

Greece's Finance Minister has said any talk about the need for another debt haircut in his country was unfounded. He went as far as to say that with a bit of adapting Athens might even do without another bailout.

Greek Finance Minister Giannis Stournaras said on Monday that his country didn't need another debt haircut. He even said he doubted whether another bailout by international creditors was unavoidable to keep the southern European eurozone member afloat.

"We could employ other measures to wrestle down our debt load," Stournaras told Monday's edition of the German business daily "Handelsblatt."

The minister admitted that the government was confronted with a financing gap of about 10 billion euros ($13.3 billion) for 2014 and 2015. But that didn't necessarily mean another bailout package as mentioned by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble last week was the only possible way to close that gap, Stournaras argued.

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Does Greece need another bailout?

He suggested lowering yields on bailout money granted so far and prolonging the time for interest servicing. The minister also argued that resources made available for the banks' recapitalization schemes could retroactively be placed under the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the EU's permanent rescue fund.

Stournaras said doing this would mean that the 50 billion euros allocated to this end would not be counted towards the overall national debt.

Another option would be to try and tap regular financial markets for loans. But he admitted current yields of almost 10 percent for 10-year maturity loans were unacceptable.

"It stands to reason that under the current conditions it's impossible for us to secure money that way, but yields are bound to drop," Stournaras said.

hg/pfd (dpa, Reuters)

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