Greek stocks look set for another day of losses Friday following news that the International Monetary Fund had left talks in Brussels citing "major differences" over an agreement to give the country much-needed aid.
"There are major differences between us in most key areas," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told Reuters. "There has been no progress in narrowing these differences recently, and thus we are well away from an agreement."
Rice added that the IMF remains "fully engaged" in finding a solution with Athens and release much needed funds that will stop the Greek government from going bankrupt..
It had been a day of contrasting fortunes for the country. Earlier Thursday stocks on the Athens stock exchange had rallied 8 percent on reports that Germany could be prepared to offer Greece some kind of staggered aid deal – a development swiftly denied by Berlin.
Media reports out late Wednesday suggested Germany could be considering some kind of staggered aid-for reforms deal for Greece, in which the cash-strapped country received aid for every reform it implemented. However, the German government denied the report by Bloomberg which cited two German officials.
Speaking to CNBC, a German government spokesperson said that "Germany will only accept the proposals on the institutions (overseeing Greece's bailout program) and everything else is not true," the spokesperson said, who wished not to be named due to the sensitive nature of discussions between Greece and its creditors.
After yet another round of late-night talks between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Holland Wednesday evening, Merkel told reporters gathered in Brussels on Thursday that Greece had said it was committed to "intense discussions."
"At the end of the talks, there was absolute unanimity that Greece will work intensively and with high pressure with the three institutions in the coming days to solve all open issues," Merkel said after arriving for a meeting between EU and Latin American leaders, Reuters reported.
Greece and its creditors keep telling the world that a deal is "close", that talks will "intensify" and that "time is running out" before Greece faces defaulting on its debt – leaving market analysts wondering whether any of the rhetoric means anything anymore.
On Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Both Greece and the bodies overseeing its bailout program, the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), have put forward proposals on reforms but both sides have found each other's suggestions inadequate with sticking points on pension reforms, tax changes and the primary budget surplus target.
Reuters cited an unnamed senior European official as saying that a deal was unlikely to be found today when Juncker and Tsipras meet but that an agreement could be reached before the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers meets on June 18.
These comments are not unusual and have been accompanied by European politicians urging Greece to press on with reforms before it's too late and a default really happens.
Earlier Thursday, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said that neither Greece nor its euro zone partners could afford to see the reforms-for-aid talks fail, telling reporters in Brussels that "time is pressing" and that "no one can afford failure," Reuters reported.
No one is sure just how much money Greece has left but without more aid it could struggle to pay back billions of euros worth of debt to creditors this summer. Greece sparked more concerns when it asked to bundle its debt repayments due to the IMF in June into one big payment on June 30.
That move prompted ratings agency Standard and Poor's to cut Greece's sovereign credit rating from CCC+ to CCC Wednesday, saying that it showed Athens was "prioritizing pension and other domestic spending over its scheduled debt service obligations." It also warned that a Greek default on its commercial debt was likely within the next 12 months.