Greece planning cautious return to bond markets

A senior official in Greece’s Finance Ministry says the country is planning a gradual return to international debt markets next year.

Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis said the decision would hinge on a return to economic growth in 2017 – as forecast by the European Union – and a continued drop in sovereign borrowing rates.

Greece has been locked out of debt markets since 2010, with a brief return two years ago. Interest rates on Greek government bonds have eased after Athens and eurozone rescue lenders ended months of delays in reviewing the Greek bailout program.

European lenders agreed this week to unfreeze more rescue loans and to consider debt relief, days after Greece’s leftist-led coalition government passed a massive new round of austerity measures that include across-the-board tax hikes.