Bailed-out Greece passed a new market test in its struggle to overcome its debt crisis, raising 650 million euros ($865 million) Tuesday through a heavily oversubscribed Treasury bill auction — its second this month.
The public debt management agency said the yield from the sale of 13-week treasury bills was set at 4.10 percent — the same as in Greece's last similar issue, in November. The auction was nearly five times oversubscribed, showing strong investor demand.
The agency had been initially seeking to raise 500 million euros ($665 million), and took another 150 million euros ($200 million) in additional bids. Last week, Greece raised 2.4 billion euros ($3.19 billion) in a 26-week Treasury bill auction, which carried a steep yield of 4.9 percent.
Tuesday's sale was seen as a test of market sentiment for the troubled eurozone country, which narrowly avoided bankruptcy last year with a 110 billion euro ($146 billion) international loan package. To secure the three-year rescue loans, the Socialist government took deeply unpopular austerity measures, cutting pensions and salaries while raising taxes and retirement ages.
Greece began Treasury bill sales in September to maintain a presence in the market after its financial crisis blocked it out of the long-term debt market, with investors insisting on prohibitively high interest rates for its bonds.
On Tuesday, the rate demanded for Greek 10-year bonds was around 11 percent, 8.2 percentage points more than for the benchmark German bonds of the same maturity.
Greece has said it hopes to return to bond markets some time this year.
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