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Troika's Thompsen: Greek market exit risky

Poul Thomsen may have moved on to greener pastures but for many Greeks he remains the face of the troika, having been pictured countless times over the years entering and exiting Finance Ministry buildings during seemingly never-ending negotiations between Greek officials and the country's lenders.

Now  the former top representative of the IMF in Greece, has added his voice to those urging caution over an early exit from the Memorandum.

Mr Thomsen is now the Deputy Director of the IMF's European Department and has expressed views very much in line with those yesterday expressed by his boss, IMF Director Christine Lagarde when she recently recommended Greece maintain IMF's 'precautionary support'.

Mr Thomsen noted that the interest rates on Greek bond remain high, and that the country's ability to borrow on international markets remains vulnerable, despite its successful return to international borrowing in 2014.

Significantly he also added that the IMF had not been informed by Athens of a desire for an early exit from a bailout program.

The comments from the IMF officials come following an assertion by the Greek Prime Minister in a Bloomberg interview that Greece was now able to cover its financing needs on the international markets and could survive without the assistance of the country's lenders.

But the reaction of the IMF to such a scenario has been a diplomatic 'not so fast', making it quite clear that they would prefer to see Greece stay in a lending program with its associated 'economic surveillance'.

Domestically Mr Samaras is attempting to cultivate the image that Greece is poised for an early exit from the Memorandum Agreement. His hope is that if Greeks feel that the bailout program is coming to an end they will reward the government politically.

Yet while political time is ticking quickly - with the prospect of elections looming in February if the government cannot find a 'super-majority' for the appointment of a new president - on the financing front Greece's lenders are making it quite clear that they would like the country to move slowly before it cuts its lifeline from the IMF.