Economist: Greece looks to China and Russia for help

Greece is getting desperately short of cash and Alexis Tsipras is hunting for new potential sources of financial support, says an article in Economist.

One source of potential support is is China, which invested about €100m in two recent issues of T-bills as a token of goodwill. That gesture followed the Syriza government’s decision to revive the privatisation of the port of Piraeus, which China’s Cosco shipping group is keen to buy.

Giannis Dragasakis, the deputy premier, returned from a visit to Beijing last week with a promise of more purchases of Greek T-bills by Chinese state financial institutions.

Another option is Russia. Mr Tsipras has brought forward to next week a visit to Moscow that had been set for May.

In an interview with Tass, the Russian news agency, he said that Greece opposes EU sanctions against Russia, which badly hit Greek fruit exporters. He added that Greece wants to participate in Russia’s project of building a second gas pipeline across the Black Sea to Turkey. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, told his visiting Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias in February that a Greek request for a loan would be “considered”.

Yet if Mr Tsipras did pull off a deal in Moscow, Greece’s European creditors would push all the harder to protect their influence. They would be more likely to keep their bail-out funds out of his reach. The Greeks may consider Russia an option, but it is one they cannot turn to without alienating the countries they ultimately need to placate: their euro zone partners, says the Economist.