Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Greece seeks interest in bonds offering 4.75%

REUTERS  Francois Lenoir REUTERS Francois Lenoir
Lamar Ellis | 26 July, 2017, 01:19

Reuters first reported past year that Greece was considering the possibility of two or three small bond issues before the expiration of the present bailout programme.

Speaking after the bond issue was announced, the EU's economy commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, described the public spending cuts imposed on Greece since it nearly went bust as "too tough" but "necessary", adding there was now "light at the end of austerity". "Investors have welcomed the Greek bonds", Tsipras said.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hailed Greece's bond sale on Tuesday, the first in three years, as a landmark on its way to exiting the crisis and its worldwide bailouts on Tuesday.

The auction of five-year government bond is being overseen by a consortium of leading bankers from BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Merrill Lynch.

The decision to return to the markets was based on many favorable developments for Greece in recent weeks, according to the sources.

In a sign that the country is turning a corner the economy is projected to grow by 2.1 percent this year - after no growth at all in 2016.

Eurozone ministers approved billions in funding for Athens just earlier this month.

Although Athens is still in an internationally-funded bailout program until July 2018, returning to bond markets will be an important move for the country and its main governing party SYRIZA.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund agreed to a new loan "in principle" worth $1.8 billion to Greece.

This gave Athens the chance to test without major financial risks its credibility in the markets.

Moreover, the IMF funds, which are contingent on the eurozone finally reaching a deal to implement its promises to reduce Greece's colossal 314-billion-euro debt burden, should keep up pressure make the country's finances sustainable on a long-term basis.

Statements by the European Central Bank boss, Mario Draghi, have also appeared more supportive of southern European states, which remain highly indebted and are emerging only gradually from the after-effects of the financial crisis.

He will meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras, among others.

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