Barnier nixes Greek rescue via IFRS 9

EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER of markets Michel Barnier has shot down calls to fast-track the adoption of a new global standard, which proponents say could ease the pain of Greek sovereign debt.

International Financial Reporting Standard 9 deals with fair value – otherwise known as mark-to-market – and would allow banks to value government debt at cost rather than current depressed prices, Reuters reports.

Supporters say the alternative would worsen the growing financial crisis and exacerbate instability in the eurozone, which sceptics warn is on the brink of a major debt crisis.

Incoming chair of the International Accounting Standards Board Hans Hoogervorst (pictured) said that accepting the unfinished standard would avoid the “cliff effect” of plummeting debt value.

However, Barnier wants to hold off until the other two components of IFRS 9 – asset and liability offsetting and hedge accounting – have been completed.

He told a webcast meeting in New York: “I do not believe this will be the first solution to the problems we face in Europe at the moment.”

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Fiona Westwood of Smith and Williamson.