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ECB leaves stopgap funding for Greek banks unchanged

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The European Central Bank decided on Wednesday to leave its emergency credit lifeline for Greece unchanged for the next two weeks, said a source close to the matter who asked not to be identified.

[FRANKFURT] The European Central Bank decided on Wednesday to leave its emergency credit lifeline for Greece unchanged for the next two weeks, said a source close to the matter who asked not to be identified.

The official said the Frankfurt-based bank's executive board would maintain its Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) for Greece's struggling banks at 90.5 billion euros (US$98.7 billion).

The ECB, which declined to comment Wednesday, had boosted the ELA to that level last month after Athens and its creditors reached an agreement in principle for a third bailout in return for tough reforms.

The source said the Greek central bank had not requested another increase.

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Greece is feverishly negotiating with creditors on a deal that would unlock bailout funds by August 20, when it must repay some 3.4 billion euros due to the ECB.

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker told AFP on Wednesday that agreement on the bailout was possible by this date.

During the months-long crisis, ELA has kept ailing Greek banks afloat, and by extension prevented the Greek economy from sinking.

Greek banks were closed for three weeks under capital controls imposed by the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to prevent the collapse of the credit institutions.

The restrictions were eased July 20, but withdrawals and money transfers abroad remain limited.

Mr Tsipras said on Wednesday the negotiations with creditors were now in the "final stretch."

AFP

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