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Greece announces new bond issue ending three-year market exile

Greece announces new bond issue ending three-year market exile

Greece announces new bond issue ending three-year market exile

Greece is trying its first return to the debt markets in three years on Tuesday, testing the waters to see if it can begin to wean itself off bailout loans from global lenders after tough reforms.

The finance ministry in Athens said yesterday that it would sell five-year bonds and invited holders of debt that matures in 2019 to swap it for new paper at an expected rate of 4.75 per cent.

That is slightly below the 4.95 percent in Greece's last auction of five-year bonds in 2014, which was reportedly the target the Greek government had set.

He said Tuesday that Greece is making a "spectacular recovery" that should allow it to "progressively return" to the debt markets, according to a statement released by the office of Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos after the two met.

Greece said it had mandated BNP Paribas, Citigroup Global Markets, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Merrill Lynch as joint lead managers for the benchmark-size offering.

"Effectively the new issue is neutral as regards the debt sustainability of Greece", said Athens-based Eurobank economist Platon Monokroussos.

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It said the cash to be paid for outstanding bonds would be equal to 102.6 percent of the nominal amount of each bond.

Moscovici said Tuesday that debt relief could come once Greece successfully implements promised reforms and completes its past year under the bailout programme, although he said a decision on fresh measures may come earlier.

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

Greece is on the rebound from a severe crisis that took the debt-ridden country to the brink of collapse in 2010. Tuesday's return to bond markets is widely seen as a test run for the Greek authorities before next year's third bailout program expiration.

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.

Greece broke a three-year dry spell with a successful return to the debt markets on Tuesday, a symbolic victory for the beleaguered eurozone nation.

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