Greece is eyeing its first sovereign bond issue in three years as early as July if its international lenders specify longer-term debt relief for the country, and the European Central Bank includes it in its bond-buying program.
Sources familiar with the plan say Athens wants to test market appetite for Greek debt before a current bailout program, worth up to 86 billion euros, expires in mid-2018.
Greece’s last venture into international bond markets was with two issues in 2014, a year before it plunged into crisis in a tense standoff between lenders and Greece’s newly elected left-wing government which vowed to end bailout-induced austerity.
“We are considering swapping a five-year [bond] which was issued in 2014 with a new five-year bond, and possibly raising a small amount [over and above] the same issue,” a Greek government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The 2014 five-year bond raised 3 billion euros.
The move, Greek officials said, is contingent on lenders specifying how the country could restructure an existing mountain of debt, which at 179 percent of gross domestic product is the highest in the eurozone.