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Economy

Greece Aims to Raise 10-12 Billion Euros From Markets in 2021

December 22, 2020

ATHENS – Greece’s plans to try yet another economic comeback – this one over the still lingering COVID-19 pandemic, include borrowing 10-12 billion euros ($12.22-$14.67 billion) by issuing debt, the news agency Reuters said.

That would be about the same as 2020, two government sources not named told the news agency as the New Democracy government, which had been accelerating a slow recovery from a near decade-long economic and austerity crisis, is trying again.

The country issued seven-, 10-, and 15-year government bonds this year, raising a total of 12 billion euros ($14.67 billion) and benefiting from ultra-low interest rates spurred by the asset-purchase program of the European Central Bank, one of its creditors.

"We want to raise about 10-12 billion euros in 2021, with new bond issues that will have maturities shorter and longer than 10 years," a government official with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Greece, rated Ba3 by Moody's, returned to international bond markets in 2017 after being locked out for years, slowly emerging on Aug. 20, 2018 when three bailouts of 326 billion euros ($398.53 billion) ended.

In tender steps, a few bonds were issued through 2019 after the Conservatives won July 7 snap elections that year, easily ousting the anti-business Radical Left SYRIZA which had hardcore elements who didn't want foreign investors or companies.

"We want a continuous presence in the markets with at least one issue every quarter for the next 15 months," a second government official said.

Greece has seen its borrowing cost fall to 0.6 percent from about 2.5 percent in the 10-year duration after being included in the ECB's Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme earlier this year, the report added.

Governments had built a cash buffer of about 35 billion euros ($42.79 billion), enough to cover at least two years of maturing debt, assuming outstanding Treasury bills are rolled over but payments of about 6 billion euros ($7.33 billion) of maturing debt and 5.5 billion euros ($6.72 billion) in interest in 2021.

With its economy set to shrink some 10 percent this year and grow anemically the next two years, the government also obtained some 32 billion euros ($39.12 billion) in grants and loans from the European Union to deal with the Coronavirus.

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