|24 December, 2018

Greece aims to raise up to $8bln from bond markets in 2019 - plan

Greece emerged from its third international bailout since 2010 in August.

Euro coins are seen in front of a displayed Greece flag in this picture illustration, June 29, 2015.

Euro coins are seen in front of a displayed Greece flag in this picture illustration, June 29, 2015.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

ATHENS- Greece aims to raise 5-7 billion euros from the bond market next year, its debt agency said on Monday, as it unveiled the country's 2019 borrowing strategy.

Greece emerged in August from its third international bailout since 2010, and wants to return to bond markets as a regular borrower.

"Greece plans to issue between 5 and 7 billion euros of benchmark bonds in 2019," the debt agency said, adding that Greece's cash reserves stood at 26.5 billion euros as of September.

It did not disclose the timing or the maturity of the issues.

The country has tested market appetite under the watch of its international lenders in recent years.

It has built a multi-billion-euro cash buffer with money raised from markets and unused bailout loans, meaning it has enough cash to repay the roughly 12 billion euros in loans falling due next year and can stay afloat up to 2021.

The cash buffer, the agency said, "shields Greece against refinancing and interest rate risks" and "is a resource the country can use to implement liability management operations in order to further improve its debt profile".

The yield on 10-year Greek bonds has risen by about half a percentage point to 4.36 percent since May.

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas and Renee Maltezou; editing by Andrew Roc

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