Over 3 billion euros will flow from the European Central Bank to Greece, and they’ll make it back safely back. This Greek vacation for the ECB’s money will prevent a Greek default in August, and will allow the leaders more time to find another temporary solution in September.
The reasoning and the mechanism are only a bit more complicated than the simplistic description above. Here’s how the revolving doors work.
Greece has a bond payment of 3.2 billion euros to the ECB due on August 20th. As Greece doesn’t have the money, there were expectations that Greece would pay with the next tranche of aid it would get from the EU / ECB / IMF troika.
However, the troika delegation found that Greece missed too many of its targets according to the second bailout. After discussing more cuts, the troika left Greece and announced progress, but no details about the next payment, nor steps that Greece would be requested to undertake.
The delegation is expected to return only in September (they probably cannot work during August).
However, the clock is ticking, and an interesting solution was found: Greece will raise money on the markets, selling 3.125 billion euros of three month T-bills on Tuesday, August 15th.
Everybody knows that Greece is shut out of money markets. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have needed a bailout. So, Greek banks will help by buying most of these bills. However, also Greek banks are struggling, especially after the deep haircut they were forced to volunteer for back in March.
So, the ECB will lend the money to Greek banks using the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) program. This has become easier after the ECB raised the limit of Greek T-bills it would accept in order to give these emergency loans.
So, money passes from the ECB to Greek banks, to the Greek government and back to the ECB.
In the meantime, it’s clear to see that the second bailout isn’t having great success, to say the least. The head of the Eurogroup expressed peculiar optimism, by saying that he doesn’t see Greece leaving the euro-zone at least until the autumn and probably neither afterwards.
The autumn is very close, and this may be the last transfer of money that Greece receives from Europe.
Further reading: How to Trade the Greek Euro Exit with EUR/USD