ECONOMY

10-yr bond book closed at 9.3 bln

Greece’s new 10-year benchmark bond issue met with strong demand with offers reaching -9.3 billion ($12.1 billion) at the close of its order book, the head of the country’s debt agency said yesterday. Greece, which borrows under the name Hellenic Republic, has said it plans to raise around 5 billion euros with its first bond issue this year. «The book’s closed, demand reached 9.3 billion euros,» Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) chief Spyros Papanicolaou told Reuters. «The issue was oversubscribed, pricing is at 30 basis points over Bunds maturing in 2017.» Papanicolaou said the bond’s coupon will be higher than in the last reopening of 10-year government paper. «High liquidity coupled with the relatively attractive pricing led to the high demand,» said a bond trader at a large Greek bond. «We expect the coupon at 4.25 percent, higher than previous issues as interest rates have risen.» The coupon of 10-year bonds reopened September 26, 2006, was 3.60 percent. Greece, which joined the eurozone in 2001 is scrambling to reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio, projected to drop to 100.4 percent this year from an estimated 104.3 percent in 2006. Ten-year paper is the most actively traded Greek bond. Citigroup, Emporiki Bank, JP Morgan, Piraeus Bank and Unicredit Group are jointly managing the bond sale. Greece is rated A1 by Moody’s Investors Service and A by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings. Separately, PDMA said it sold a total of -336 million ($437 million) of 13-, 26- and 52-week T-bills, topping off the issue with 56 million in non-competitive bids. The auction produced a weighted average yield of 3.66 percent for the 52-week T-bill, up from 3.53 percent in the previous auction in October 2006. The yield came to 3.54 percent for 26-week paper and to 3.42 percent for 13-week T-bills. (Reuters)