Greece working ‘full throttle’ on debt issue, finance minister says

Greece working ‘full throttle’ on debt issue, finance minister says

Greece is preparing for a new bond issue, after its credit rating was upgraded by one of the three main rating agencies, the country’s finance minister said on Monday.

Greece on Monday mandated six banks to act as joint lead managers for a 15-year bond, maturing in February 2035. It will be the first bond foray for Greece this year.

“We are working at full throttle”, Finance Minister Chrostos Staikouras told Skai radio station. “The relevant preparations are underway.”

Greece, which lurched from crisis to crisis as it enacted far-reaching economic reforms in return for bailout money to keep it afloat between 2010 and 2015, started making a more regular appearance in bond markets in 2017, after years in the fiscal wilderness.

Fitch Ratings on Friday upgraded Greece’s credit rating to “BB” from “BB-“, saying that economic growth and fiscal prudence were leading to government debt remaining at sustainable levels.

The 10-year Greek government bond yield fell 14 basis points at 1.176 percent, its lowest in three months, after the upgrade.

The PDMA said in December it could tap bond markets this year to borrow 4 billion to 8 billion euros. Its main goals will be to improve the liquidity of its yield curve, enhance its investor base and maintain regular market operations, PDMA has said.

Greece emerged from its bailout programmes in August 2018 and has accumulated a cash buffer of about 32 billion euros, enough to cover four years of maturing debt, assuming outstanding T-bills are rolled over.

“The (syndicated) transaction will be launched in the near future, subject to market conditions,” the Hellenik Republic said in a filing on Monday. It mandated Barclays, BNP Paribas, BofA Securities, Goldman Sachs International Bank, HSBC and J.P. Morgan, it said.


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