Debt-heavy Greece managed to borrow 1.62 billion euros ($2.34 billion) in short-term loans from financial markets on Tuesday, at an interest rate that was only marginally higher than in a similar debt auction last month.
The auction of 26-week treasury bills had an interest rate of 4.8 percent, slightly above the 4.75 percent at a similar sale in March, the Public Debt Management Agency said.
The agency had originally been seeking to raise 1.25 billion euros in the auction, but borrowed more as investor interest was strong — the auction was 3.81 times oversubscribed, compared with 3.59 times in March.
Greece was saved from bankruptcy last year by a 110 billion euro ($159 billion) package of rescue loans from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund that should see it through mid-2013.
In return, the Socialist government took harsh austerity measures, slashing pensions and civil service salaries while increasing taxes and retirement ages.
Athens has pledged to cut the runaway budget deficit from 15.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 to under three percent — where it should be under EU rules — in 2014.
Data released late Monday showed that government overspending in the first quarter of 2011 widened by 7.8 percent on the year, to reach 4.71 billion euros ($6.78 billion) on a cash basis. The finance ministry said that was 9 million euros ($13 million) more than targeted in this year's budget.
Spending rose 3.5 percent to 15.75 billion euros ($22.73 billion), while net revenues declined 8.1 percent on the year to 11.1 billion euros ($16 billion). In the budget, the government aimed to have revenue of 12.5 billion euros ($18 billion). The figures do not include local authority and Social Security fund accounts.
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