Greece's borrowing costs spiked higher for a third day Thursday, intensifying the country's debt crisis and suggesting a eurozone rescue program is providing little support.
The interest rate gap, or spread, between Greek 10-year government bonds and the German equivalent, considered a benchmark of stability, spiraled to record highs.
In wildly oscillating morning trading, spreads were jumping between 4.01 and 4.30 percentage points — the highest level since Greece joined the euro.
The higher interest rates demanded by bond investors are potential poison for the Greek budget; unless they fall, the government will pay a premium to borrow and face a vicious cycle where higher borrowing costs fuel fresh default fears.
Share values on the Athens Stock Exchange were also being hammered, pulled down by a bank losses. The bourse's General Index was down 4.7 percent at midday at 1,894.87.
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