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

Greece announces new bond issue ending three-year market exile

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 global bailouts on Tuesday.

Greece on Monday invited holders of its 4.75 percent outstanding bonds maturing in 2019 to tender them for cash, along with a plan to offer new five-year paper.

That development opened the way for Greece's market foray, which the Tsipras government says should be viewed as a test run and considered part of an overall strategy to ensure the country can fully return to markets next year.

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

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.

The auction of five-year government bond is being overseen by a consortium of leading bankers from BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Merrill Lynch.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas 'is freezing contacts with Israel on all levels'
The Arab Union also condemned "police using excessive force and real bullet to disperse unprotected Palestinians". At least 47 Israelis and five foreign nationals have been killed in almost two years of such attacks.

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

Although Athens is still in an internationally-funded bailout program until July 2018, returning to bond markets will be an important move for the country and its main governing party SYRIZA.

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.

A Greek government official said more than 200 official offers worth 6.5 billion euros were made in the sale, saying that the majority of those were "real investors of worldwide caliber, not profiteering funds".

The goal of current Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is a lesser yield, according to reports.

Greece was at the centre of the European sovereign debt crisis that erupted in 2010 and has had three bailouts from the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

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