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Greek Debt Drama: Current Act Is Ending

Stocks weaker midday Tuesday, as euro-zone finance ministers appear unlikely to approve Greek bailout tomorrow.

View over the caldera of Santorini in Greece.
Tom Pfeiffer | Getty Images
View over the caldera of Santorini in Greece.

It appears as if finance ministers, originally scheduled to meet tomorrow, will merely have a conference call to discuss the Greek situation.

There are four pieces to this puzzle:

1) EU officials have not received any political pledge from Greek leaders that they will honor the austerity legislation passed after the Greek elections scheduled in April;

2) EU officials have not received details on how to close the 325 million euro fiscal gap that was demanded as part of the bailout package;

3) it is not clear if the private sector debt swap (PSI) is ready to sign off;

4) there is also a Greek debt sustainability analysis from the Troika (EU/IMF/ECB)* due tomorrow, and it is unclear if that will be ready. They have been shooting to reduce Greece's debt burden from 160 percent of GDP to 120 percent by 2020.

Bottom line: the Greek drama has several more acts to play out, but the pressure of the March 20th deadline (when a 14.5 billion euro debt payment is due) means that the current act of the drama is coming to a close.

*CNBC Explains:

How does the IMF work?

How does the ECB work?

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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