Amid pandemic, Greece issues bond to display ‘confidence’

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A elderly man wearing a face mask to protect from coronavirus pulls his shopping trolley at Varvakios meat market in Athens, on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Eating lamb, usually roasted whole on a spit, is traditional for Greek Easter, which is by far the most important religious holiday of the year in this predominantly Orthodox country. Due to lockdown measures taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 this year, the government has said traditional family gatherings cannot be held this Easter on Sunday, April 19. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece has launched a 7-year bond auction, taking advantage of an improvement in borrowing rates driven by massive European stimulus packages to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government backed the country’s second issue of the year on Wednesday and argued that the move was aimed at continuing to normalize Greece’s access to bond markets following eight years of international bailouts that ended in 2018.

“We are not making this (bond) issue because we need to raise money from the markets, but to demonstrate that Greece is confident and on its feet even in the middle of a serious health crisis,” Finance Minister Christos Staikouras told private Mega television.

Preliminary results of the bond auction are expected later Wednesday.

Greece issued a 15-year bond in late January. The yield on Greece’s 10-year bond dipped to historic lows of below 1% in February but soared to 4% weeks later amid global market panic surrounding the pandemic. The yield on Wednesday was at just over 2%.

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