Less than half of Greece’s international creditors had agreed to a vital €206bn (£172bn) bond swap on Wednesday night, leaving Athens dangerously exposed to default.
The Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC joined 30 European banks and institutions in declaring their acceptance of the deal – but the tally was still far short of the 95pc needed to avoid being officially declared in default.
The International Institute of Finance (IIF), the body that has negotiated with the Greek government on behalf of bondholders, put out several announcements on Wednesday, counting the proportion of the vote as it inched up. The latest statement said bondholders “amounting in aggregate to €84bn, or 40.8pc of the €206bn total eligible debt” would support the deal.
The regular updates coincided with provocative comments from Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, who said he had discussed with Greece’s finance minister Evangelos Venizelos whether it would be better for the country to leave the euro.
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12:18 pm EST, March 8th, 2012 — Greek debt deal won’t save Europe’s hide
12:20 pm EST, March 8th, 2012 — Why aren’t the markets panicking about looming Greek default?
12:25 pm EST, March 8th, 2012 — Greek tragedy faces new twist as debt deal looms
12:30 pm EST, March 8th, 2012 — ECB fires inflation warning, trumpets success of cash flood
12:34 pm EST, March 8th, 2012 — Debt crisis and Greek default deadline: live