Greece to return to debt markets after 3-year absence

Posted July 26, 2017

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 tender offer will be open to new investors as well as holders of bonds that mature in 2019 in the form of roll-overs, at 102.6 cents plus accrued.

The country's return to the bond markets for the first time since 2014 is another sign the eurozone is faring better than many thought possible a few months ago.

"This choice is a significant step, part of Greece's strategy to regain viable and steady access to global markets", Tsipras's office said in a statement.

BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Merrill Lynch have been picked to handle the five-year sale, the ministry said.

Greece now has no need to draw money from the bond markets, as it recently received renewed support under its global bailout that should take it into next year.

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Rating agency Standard & Poor's had raised the country's rating outlook to "positive" from "stable" on Friday, on the expectation that the government will receive debt relief from its creditors next year.

Moscovici told France Inter radio before a visit to Athens for talks with Alexis Tsipras on debt relief that "Greece was caught up in an incredible economic and financial storm".

Earlier this month, eurozone finance ministers approved the latest €8.5 billion-euro disbursement from a third global bailout, just in time for Athens to meet major debt repayments.

Meanwhile the International Monetary Fund last week approved a one-year, $1.8-billion (€1.54 billion) loan programme for the country.

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.

Debt relief has been the major bone of contention between the government of Tsipras and the eurozone, which had delayed the deal to disburse the latest bailout funds.