Greek finance minister hopes for bond market return at end of 2014 [update]

Greece has hopes of returning to bond markets around the end of 2014, its finance minister said on Thursday after its bond yields dropped to their lowest levels since last year’s debt restructuring.

Greek 10-year bond yields dropped below 10 percent on Wednesday.

The country, which has been bailed out with some 200 billion euros in rescue loans from the EU and IMF since May 2010, won praise from the lenders last month for complying with the terms of the rescue package.

Sovereign yields across the euro zone periphery have fallen steadily since the European Central Bank announced a bond buying program to provide a debt backstop for struggling states.

“I hope that we can have the same luck as Ireland and Portugal, which already start accessing markets with yields below 6 percent,” Yannis Stournaras told Greek state television in an interview.

“I see that happening towards the end of 2014.”

Greece has been shut out of bond markets since early 2010, when it plunged into a debt crisis that forced it into becoming the first euro zone country to seek an international bailout.

Ireland and Portugal, which also obtained EU/IMF bailouts, have made more progress than Athens in meeting fiscal targets and have managed to sell long-term debt again, bringing them closer to being eligible for the ECB bond-buying scheme.

Portugal on Tuesday sold its first ten-year bond since January 2011.

Athens, which restructured its sovereign debt in 2012, stands to receive about 40 billion euros more in rescue funds by the end of 2014, when the bailout payments are scheduled to end. [Reuters]