Greece says decisions on new bond issue after June 21 Eurogroup
* Euro zone to decide on June 21 on new debt relief for
* Loans of at least 11 bln euros to be disbursed
* Talks continue on extension of maturities, buy-outs
(adds quotes, details)
By Francesco Guarascio and Jan Strupczewski
BRUSSELS, June 13 (Reuters) - The Greek government could
discuss the timing of a possible new bond issue after next
week's meeting of euro zone finance ministers which is expected
to decide on debt relief measures for Athens, junior economy
minister Alexis Charitsis said.
Heavily indebted Greece, shut out of bond markets in 2010,
has returned to the markets twice over the last 12 months in an
attempt to build a cash buffer that could reassure investors
after its third international bailout programme ends in August.
"All our efforts are focused on the Eurogroup of the 21st
(of June) where we expect to have an agreement on debt relief,"
Charitsis told a news conference in Brussels on Wednesday.
Asked whether Greece could issue new bonds before the end of
its bailout programme, he said: "Any other discussions happen
after the 21st."
The Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers will discuss
possible new debt relief measures for Greece in Luxembourg on
EU officials have repeatedly said the meeting will be
crucial to seal Greece's financial future, as decisions will
need to be made on the use of about 40 billion euros ($47
billion) that remains unspent under the 86 billion-euro euro
zone-funded bailout programme which expires on Aug. 20.
Officials are considering several options to reduce debt
servicing costs for Athens, including an extension of maturities
and grace periods of up to 15 years on about 130 billion euros
lent to Greece under the second bailout. One official said a
compromise could be to extend maturities by between 5 and 10
They are also considering a buy-out of expensive loans worth
more than 20 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund
and euro zone central banks due over the next decade.
They would be replaced with cheaper loans from the European
Stability Mechanism, the euro zone bailout fund. Germany, the
bloc's largest economy, is cautious about this option.
Greece is also likely to get new loans next week of about 11
billion euros that could be used to increase its cash buffer to
face possible future market turmoil, a senior Eurogroup official
said on Wednesday.
The buffer would cover Greece's borrowing needs for the next
18 to 24 months. It could amount to about 20 billion, officials
said, including money raised by Greece on the markets.
That would facilitate Greece's full return to market
financing, and could allow Athens to issue bonds when market
conditions are better and yields lower, over the next 18 months.
Athens returned to market financing with a five-year bond in
July 2017 and issued a seven-year bond in February, which
contributed to the cash buffer.
Reuters exclusively reported last week that Greek
authorities had decided to push back by a few months plans for a
new bond issue due to increased political risk in Italy that has
rocked euro zone debt markets.
($1 = 0.8514 euros)
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by David Stamp)
First Published: 2018-06-13 12:45:30
Updated 2018-06-13 16:44:04
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