Greece's debt expected to fall to 117% of GDP by 2020, less than initial 120% prediction, because of greater-than-expected participation in debt writedown

ATHENS, Greece , March 13, 2012 () – The chief of the eurozone said Monday that Greece's debt is now expected to decline to 117 percent of GDP by 2020, less than the 120 percent that had been expected.

The optimistic prediction was announced late Monday in Brussels by Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg, who also chairs the meetings of eurozone finance ministers. It came at the end of a meeting of the ministers in Brussels.

Greece implemented the biggest debt writedown in history on Monday, swapping the bulk of its privately held bonds with new ones worth less than half their original value.

Juncker said the new estimate was due to greater-than-expected voluntary participation in the writedown. His estimate, however, represented a best-case scenario. Previous reports from Greece's international debt inspectors have said there is was a significant chance that Greece's targets will be missed.

In principle, a new €130 billion bailout loan has been approved for Greece, Juncker said, and the final sign-off is expected to come on Wednesday. On top of money to fund the debt swap, Greece will soon get the first cash to fund its government, involving disbursements of €5.9 billion ($7.74 billion) in March, €3.3 billion ($4.33 billion) in April, €5.3 billion ($6.95 billion) in May.

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