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If you've been following the ongoing Greek solvency crisis, you have probably heard the terms "Grexit" – referring to Greece exiting the euro zone -- and "Grexident" – if it accidentally leaves the bloc – being branded about.
But now there's a new term on the block to sum up the current impasse over reforms: a "Grimbo" – or Greece in limbo.
The latest buzzword sums up the drawn-out negotiations between the Greek government and its creditors over its bailout program, which was extended by four months in February to give the country time to enact reforms. The word was coined by the same group of Citi economists – led by Chief Economist Willem Buiter – which thought up the now widely-used "Grexit" term in February 2012, when Greece leaving the euro zone first became a possibility.
In a note published this week, the term said "Grimbo" described a possible "drawn-out" process of negotiations between Greece and its lenders that could result in the country leaving the euro zone.
"In our view, a last-minute agreement on a new program (and additional funding) without capital controls or a government default remains plausible. But it is similarly plausible that capital controls will be imposed in Greece or a government default takes place before an agreement is struck or that no agreement will be reached," the economists said.
If Greece did default on its debts and capital controls were issued, a Grexit would not necessarily be inevitable, the economists said. But they added that this could lead to a drawn-out process – a Greek limbo that could, if the gridlock persisted, lead to a Grexit.
"Grexit in the next few months is not inconceivable, and it is certainly more likely if we consider Grimbo durations of a year or more," Buiter and his colleagues remarked.
The warning comes against a backdrop of fraught, drawn-out negotiations over Greece's financial future. On Friday, the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers is meeting in Latvia to discuss Greek reforms in return for aid.
Neither the ministers involved in the discussions nor analysts are confident any agreement will be reached, however, raising the prospect that the issue will be kicked further down the road while Greece's funds run low and bankruptcy approaches.