25 Jul 2017

Greece makes first return to debt market in three years

7:36 am on 25 July 2017

Greece is returning to the financial markets to borrow money for the first time in three years.

In what is being seen as an important milestone for Greece, the country's Debt Management Agency announced plans to sell bonds that will repaid in five years.

Since 2010 the Greek government has been dependent on bailout money to meet its borrowing needs.

The Athens stock exchange.

The Athens stock exchange: Greece is returning to the financial markets to borrow money for the first time since 2014. Photo: AFP

It is the first sale of government debt since 2014, when the country made a brief return to the markets.

The bailouts began when Greece was frozen out of the financial markets. It was unable to borrow what it needed as investors become convinced it would not be able to repay.

In the year before the first bailout started, the deficit in the Greek government's finances was €35 billion, equivalent to 15 percent of its total national income, or GDP.

Greece is now into its third bailout loan programme. The main source of finance has been the eurozone - for the first loan the money came from other governments that use the currency, and EU bailout agencies supplied funds for the second two.

In total Greece has received bailout payments of more than a quarter of a trillion euros, and there's as much as 47bn euros more available over the next year.

Greece also had the benefit of a restructuring of the debt it owed to the private sector.

When the bailout payments end, the aim is for the Greek government to be able to meet all its financial needs from taxation and borrowing in the markets. What Greece is doing now is a "toe in the water" - an attempt to get some indication of how well that process might go.

The final payment in the current, third, bailout will be made next year. The final repayment by Greece is due more than 40 years from now.


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