Greece announces new 5-year bond issue after 3-year market exile


Shut out of global markets since 2010, the debt-ridden country had made a similar test return in 2014, raising three billion euros at a 4.95-percent interest rate. But banking sources believe that level will be hard to achieve and say an interest rate of between 4.3% to 4.5% is much more likely. While Tsipras had swept to power on pledges to end austerity and bailouts, he backed down when Greece was again on the brink of the abyss, facing a possible exit from the euro. Standard & Poor's rating agency last week upgraded its valuation of Greek government debt to "positive".

Against this backdrop, Greek five-year debt, which will probably yield around 4.75 per cent, looks attractive to the investors being offered it provided you believe that the country will not be hit for another private debt restructuring. However, the country's sovereign bonds are still not eligible to be bought by the European Central Bank (ECB), as the ECB's president Mario Draghi said last week it was "premature" to talk about buying Greek debt as part of the central bank's quantitative easing programme.

Debt relief has been the major bone of contention between the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the eurozone, which had delayed the deal to disburse the latest bailout funds. We had to create the conditions for [investor] confidence, which was done.

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Greece's European creditors are keen for the crisis-hit country to develop a strategy to gradually regain market access so that it will be able to stand on its own feet in 2018. It had to be repeatedly bailed out by its eurozone partners to prevent it bringing down the single currency bloc.

Greece still has a €326bn debt pile, after receiving three bailouts in the last seven years.

But the clash with borrowers killed off a nascent recovery, with the Greek economy stagnating in 2016, although it is expected to post modest growth of 2.1 percent this year. "Implementation of legislated reforms is crucial", said Moscovici.