World Bulletin/News Desk
Greece is making progress in agreeing new austerity measures with its international lenders but needs another two weeks to wrap up a deal, a senior government official said on Saturday.
The comments confirmed that Athens would fail to clinch a pact on almost 12 billion euros of savings before euro zone finance ministers meet on Monday, but both sides indicated progress was being made.
The cuts are necessary to keep the Greek budget within the targets set by the European Union and International Monetary Fund under the terms of the latest multi-billion-euro bailout staving off bankruptcy.
"There is good progress in the talks with the troika, there is convergence," a senior finance ministry official, who declined to be named, said after talks in Athens between Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and officials from the troika of lenders - the EU, IMF and European Central Bank.
"We do not expect to have agreed on something before the eurogroup meeting," the official said, adding that talks would continue for another two weeks.
Greece's coalition government is trying to spare angry Greeks even deeper wage and pension cuts after five consecutive years of recession that have driven unemployment to record levels and slashed household incomes.
The official told reporters that Athens hoped for a statement from euro zone finance ministers on Monday confirming progress in the talks.
"This positive statement will be the signal for talks to continue ... next week and the week after that," he said.
Speaking in Riyadh on Saturday, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said talks on the fiscal chapter of Greece's programme had been "very good and productive". The talks also cover structural reforms, financing and debt sustainability.
EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn also spoke of progress, saying negotiations had "moved on" and that agreement was possible in the coming days.
Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Cisco and Oracle hold about $504B, approximately one-third of all corporate cash in the United States
The Fund's head says 'corruption has a pernicious effect on the economy'
Exit would cost average monthly salary for each household, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says
Firms to see deterioration in credit metrics as low oil prices impact cash flows
OPEC exporters as well as other non-OPEC producers, including Russia, fail to agree on oil output freeze
Moody's has upgraded Argentina's credit rating after a US appeals court ruling this week cleared the way for Buenos Aires to proceed with the biggest debt issue by an emerging market country in 20 years.
Ahead of Doha meeting, OPEC says 'hurdles prevail as oversupply persists and inventories remain high'
Kuwaiti OPEC head says Russia and OPEC are likely to agree on oil output freeze
'The good news is that the recovery continues; we have growth; we are not in crisis,' Christine Lagarde says
The meeting is a 'follow-up' to last month's talks between Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela when they proposed an accord to freeze oil output at January levels
'They are not trimming output, only keeping it at the same levels...this is the same unchanged policy,' one expert says
Iran joining Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Russia in freezing oil output levels
According to the ratings agency Moody’s, Iran is fiscally and structurally well placed to come back into the global economic scene
PM Davutoglu meets the heads of the world's largest companies as he promotes Turkish economic interests at World Economic Forum
Fund cuts global growth forecasts for both 2016 and 2017 by 0.2 percentage points
'Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population'