Athens and Madrid's difficult debt quest

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Athens and Madrid's difficult debt quest

Athens and Madrid's difficult debt quest
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The Greek government is still struggling to raise cash from investors in the one area where it is not reliant on bailouts.

On Tuesday it sold 1.65 billion euros worth of treasury bills maturing in three months time.

The amount of interest it had to offer was slightly down but the number of investors wanting the T-bills also declined from last month.

Mostly they are bought by Greek banks.

Meanwhile Spain’s borrowing costs dropped at its first sale of debt since the government announced a new austerity package.

But the interest rate – or yield – on its one-year and 18-month bonds did not fall far enough to suggest international markets believe the country’s finances are on a sustainable path.

Investor doubts about whether Spain can avoid a full-scale sovereign bailout have kept its debt costs elevated with 10-year yields again heading towards the seven percent tipping point.

Nonetheless, borrowing costs at Tuesday’s short-term debt sale were sharply lower than a month ago.

The yield on the 12-month bill was 3.918 percent, down from 5.074 percent last month, which was its highest in 15 years.

The yield on the 18-month bill was 4.242 percent compared with 5.107 percent at auction in June, right after Spain sought a bailout for its ailing banks worth up to 100 billion euros.

“Yields have come down by nearly a percentage point, so that’s not to be sniffed at, and there’s room for them to fall further, but we need details of the bank bailout,” said Orlando Green, strategist at Credit Agricole.