In a sign of growing confidence, bailed-out eurozone member Greece has returned to the bond market, raising money from private investors for the first time in four years. Officials confirmed the auction went well.
After a long period of being excluded from the bond market, Greece made a successful comeback on Thursday in an auction of five-year debt.
Greece's Finance Ministry said the country raised 3 billion euros ($4.16 billion) through five-year bonds at a coupon rate of 4.75 percent. Officials had earlier anticipated the rate to be below 5 percent, well under initial estimates.
The ministry said in a statement that nearly 90 per cent of the sale went to international investors.
Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the bond on offer was at least eight times oversubscribed, indicating huge investor appetite.
More to come soon?
"Greece has succeeded - and this is recognized by our most critical friends and partners – in achieving an exit from the crisis, or is very close to an exit, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said in Athens.
Officials agreed the return to at least the medium-term bond market was a historic day for the country and marked a milestone for an economy still in recession and dependent on further bailout tranches from international creditors.
However, ratings agencies still consider Greek bonds to be far from investment grade, and the country is bound to take much more time to return to regular auctions of long-term debt.
Greece's return to the bond market came just hours after a car bomb exploded outside of the headquarters of the country's central bank in Athens, causing damage but no casualties.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but police said they believed that leftist or anarchist groups may have been behind the incident.
hg/pfd (dpa, AFP, AP)