|Greece elated by heavily-oversubscribed 3b euro bond sale
Heavily-indebted Greece made a successful return to the bond markets today, ending a four-year exclusion, raising 3 billion euros. It sent a major signal that the euro zone debt crisis is fading.
“A sum in the order of 3 billion euros will probably be raised,'' government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou told To Vima radio, adding that the interest rate was “below 5 percent.''
(Pictured, investigators seek clues amid the remains of a car bomb outside the central bank).
The bonds have a life of five years, and this return to the medium-term debt market is a milestone for Greece. The country remains in a recession, AFP reports.
Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters that the sale had been “at least eight times oversubscribed'' and termed the sale “a huge success.''
Reports and analysts said the operation pointed to an interest rate paid by Greece of 4.95 percent, which would mark another success in achieving a rate below 5 percent.
The sale is a big step in Greece's financial resurrection after two EU-IMF bailouts.
It was timed a day before a scheduled visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and originally designed to raise 2.5 billion euros.
Hours before the sale, a car bomb exploded outside the Bank of Greece in central Athens.
Ishaq Siddiqi, a market strategist at ETX Capital said: “The move by Greece at first to return to the bond markets appears to be opportunistic and somewhat symbolic as the country clearly wants to be able to raise its own funds.’’
The last issue of five-year bonds four years ago carried an interest rate of 6.1 percent.
Athens' move was welcomed by the International Monetary Fund, which along with the European Union and the European Central Bank, has provided huge financial support for the stricken economy.
The bond issue comes against a background of sharp falls in recent months in borrowing rates for other euro zone countries hit by debt problems.