Greece defaults on IMF payment despite last-minute overtures to creditors

ATHENS, (Reuters) – Greece’s last-minute overtures to international creditors for financial aid yesterday were not enough to save the country from becoming the first developed economy to default on a loan with the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF confirmed that Greece had not made its scheduled 1.6 billion euro loan repayment to the fund. As a result, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde will report to the global lender’s board that Greece is “in arrears,” the official euphemism for default.

Fears of a Greek default have unnerved financial markets on concerns that it would ultimately lead to the country’s exit from the euro common currency. The fate of Greece’s membership in the 19-nation currency bloc still hangs in the balance ahead of a referendum on Sunday when Greek citizens will vote on whether to accept the austerity terms of continued international aid.

President Barack Obama said yesterday the financial crisis in Greece should not create a major shock for the U.S. economy, but warned that its fallout could dampen global growth.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said Greece can now only receive further funding from the global lender once the arrears are cleared. He confirmed that Greece asked for a last-minute repayment extension earlier on Tuesday, which the fund’s board will consider “in due course.”

The left-wing Greek government’s 11th-hour bid for an extension of its international bailout and a two-year funding and debt restructuring program offered no concessions to creditors’ demands for economic reforms, according to text seen by Reuters.

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