Greek officials optimistic after bond sale

Country's re-entry into bond markets overwhelmingly welcomed by investors but ordinary citizens remain cautious.

    Greek officials have praised the country's return to the international debt market after four years as an overwhelming success.

    The bond sale on Thursday was eight times oversubscribed and the finance ministry said it had raised 3bn euros, a milestone for the country, which almost went bankrupt in 2010.

    "The reception of the five-year bond has exceeded all expectations," Antonis Samaras, prime minister, in a televised statement.

    He said that international markets had expressed confidence in the economy.

    Greece has been relying on funds from international bailouts since May 2010 in return for a series of deeply unpopular spending cuts and tax increases.

    Samaras said the sale would allow the country to borrow at cheaper rates in the future but warned it had "quite a way to go" to emerge completely from the crisis.

    While the country's leaders were cautiously optimisitic, many ordinary Greeks feel sceptical about acquiring more debt.

    Nikos Theodosiadis, a doctor from Athens, told Al Jazeera that the sale was unecessary and that the sale would "add more cost to Greece's debt".

    The bond issue came a day before German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visits Athens for a brief meeting with Samaras.

    Germany has been the single largest contributor to Greece's bailout, but is also largely resented by many Greeks for pushing the austerity agenda.

    Security for Friday's meeting will be tight after a bomb exploded at Greece's central back on Thursday morning.

    Police were investigating the attack, for which there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera And Reuters


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