Sun, Mar 28, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Greece to launch multibillion euro bond issue: ‘FT’

AFP , LONDON

Greece will launch a multibillion euro bond issue this week, the Financial Times (FT) reported yesterday, in the wake of Thursday’s deal to help the country out of its debt crisis.

Petros Christodoulou, the head of Greece’s public debt management agency, told the paper Athens wanted to borrow 5 billion euros (US$6.7 billion) from the bond markets.

“We would like to return to the market within March,” he added.

Greece is likely to issue either a three or seven-year bond this month, followed by another similar-sized issue next month in what will be a crucial test of confidence, the FT said.

A deal was brokered on Thursday under which the 16 nations in the eurozone agreed to offer Greece loans in combination with the IMF.

The deal came at a crucial time for Athens, which has to ensure funding by May to repay debt of 20 billion euros.

“We believe we will not need to use it,” Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said afterwards, adding: “Greece has regained credibility. Its banking sector is not threatened and the money is there safely.”

Meanwhile, the borrowing rate at which Greece can raise money on debt markets fell on Friday.

The yield on Greek 10-year bonds — the interest rate which Greece has to pay to borrow money — eased to 6.193 percent late on Friday, a sign of investor confidence. The rate had gone up to almost 7 percent earlier this year as investors worried about a possible default.

Lingering concerns remain among investors over how the financial rescue will work in practice and over the role of the IMF, as well as the fiscal problems that the Greek debt drama exposed.

European stock markets fell on Friday in a cautious reaction to the EU’s rescue plan for Greece. London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.43 percent, the Paris CAC 40 ended the day down 0.29 percent, and the Frankfurt DAX lost 0.21 percent.

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