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Exclusive-Greece plans to tap bond markets to raise 10-12 billion euros in 2021, sources say

Lefteris Papadimas
·2-min read

By Lefteris Papadimas

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece intends to borrow 10 billion to 12 billion euros ($14.60 billion) by issuing short-term and long-term debt in 2021, about the same amount as this year, in a bid to ensure its continual presence in debt markets, two government sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

The country issued seven-, 10-, and 15-year government bonds this year, raising a total of 12 billion euros and benefiting from ultra-low interest rates spurred by the asset-purchase programme of the European Central Bank.

"We want to raise about 10-12 billion euros in 2021, with new bond issues that will have maturities shorter and longer than 10 years," a government official with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Greece, which is rated Ba3 by Moody's, returned to international bond markets in 2017 after being locked out for years during a decade-long debt crisis from which it finally emerged in August 2018.

It tested the waters with a few bond issues until the end of 2019, when its debt agency announced a full borrowing programme for 2020, the first time since it was cut off from markets in 2009.

"We want a continuous presence in the markets with at least one issue every quarter for the next 15 months," a second government official said.

Greece has seen its borrowing cost fall to 0.6% from about 2.5% in the 10-year duration after being included in the ECB's Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme earlier this year.

The country has accumulated a cash buffer of about 35 billion euros, enough to cover at least two years of maturing debt, assuming outstanding T-bills are rolled over.

It must repay about 6 billion euros of maturing debt and 5.5 billion euros of interest next year.

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas, editing by Larry King)