With union workers protesting in the street, leaders in Greece met to hash out details of spending cuts that long ago crossed into draconian territory.
However, the squeeze is still on.
Speaking with an agreement to keep his name out of circulation, an official from the so-called troika -- the European Central Bank, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund -- said the pressure would remain in place until political leaders in Greece had completed their budget cuts.
"The ECB won't do anything until the debt restructuring deal is complete and party leaders in Greece have agreed to reforms," the official said.
Sales tax revenues in Greece, meanwhile, fell 18 percent in January, which could make this month's deal making poignantly moot, as time in a shrinking economy is nobody's friend.
When Greece makes a deal, for no fault of its own, the numbers change before the ink dries on the contract. The International Monetary Fund forecasts the Greek economy to shrink 6 percent in 2012, which puts an asterisk next to any estimate based on that. The only surprise left is a turnaround. That isn't likely soon.
In addition to shrinking revenues, one-time privatization deals are also falling short of expectations. Greece had a target of raising about $10 billion in 2012 through sales of government holdings. Revenues from sales are more likely to reach half of that, the Times said.
In international markets Wednesday, the Nikkei 225 index in Japan gained 1.1 percent, while the Shanghai composite index in China rose 2.43 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 1.54 percent, while the Sensex in India added 0.48 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.39 percent.
In midday trading in Europe, the FTSE 100 index in Britain shed 0.12 percent, while the DAX 30 in Germany climbed 0.56 percent. The CAC 40 in France added 0.44 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.24 percent.
|Additional Analysis: Economic Outlook Stories|
TEL AVIV, Israel, May 17 (UPI) --Nobel Energy of Houston, which discovered Israel's big gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean, is pressing the government to decide soon on an energy export policy as the prospect of an undersea pipeline to Turkey gains credibility.