Greece Plans 5-7 Billion Euros Market Return in 2019

FILE - A man waits to cross the street as cars drive outside the building of the Greek Finance Ministry in central Athens. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, FILE)

ATHENS – Despite market jitters over political instability, a coming election and worries that austerity reforms won’t be carried out, the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition plans to make big test run return to the markets in 2019 by raising 5-7 billion euros ($5.69-$7.97 billion) in bond sales.

Similar ventures last year of two 3-billion euro ($3.42 billion) sales came at interest rates more than three times higher than being paid for 326 billion euros ($371.15 billion) in three international bailouts which expired on Aug. 20.

The government took 22 billion euros ($25.05 billion) from a third rescue package in the summer of 2015, this one for 86 billion euros ($97.91 billion) as a cash buffer, enough to live on until 2021, until a full market return.

“Greece plans to issue between 5 and 7 billion euros of benchmark bonds in 2019,” the debt agency said, adding that Greece’s cash reserves stood at 26.5 billion euros ($30.17 billion) as of September, the news agency Reuters said.

The government will have to use 12 billion euros ($13.66 billion) from the reserves to make a loan repayment next year with the buffer a safeguard. The agency said the money “shields Greece against refinancing and interest rate risks” and “is a resource the country can use to implement liability management operations in order to further improve its debt profile”.