International financial markets are watching closely as Greece’s government tests the water by borrowing up to 2.5 billion euros.
It does not need that money to do things like pay civil servants’ wages or old age pensions, as currently European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout loans are covering those outgoings.
But Athens wants to prove that investors have enough confidence in the country’s future to loan it money.
Greece currently owes 321.5 billion euros – a whacking 175 percent of its annual gross domestic product.
Rating agencies’ rank it deep in junk territory and way below the AAA level
So the return to the bond market impresses investors, like William De Vijlder, Chief Investment Officer, BNP Paribas: “It is a genuine achievement, and that cannot be emphasised enough. The turnabout that the country has seen, let’s not forget that. We will now see positive growth after having seen five or six years of contraction and inactivity.”
There may be some green shoots, but it is too early to talk about long-term economic stability.
However, the Greek government believes a successful sale of bonds will lower its borrowing costs – that is the amount of interest it has to offer investors.
It also opens the door for more and bigger bond sales as the country moves to exit the bailout programme after six years of recession.
A reason why Athens is able to do this is that yields – interest rates – on its bonds continue to drop.
On those are are to be paid back in ten years time the rate is now below six percent for the first time in four years, that is down from about 40 percent two years ago.