Greece nears bond issue

David Hellier
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THE bond markets were full of talk yesterday that Greece was close to issuing a 10-year bond, possibly within the next few days.

The issue, which would be the second for Greece this year – and the first since European Union leaders declared their political support for Greece’s borrowing programme – is widely seen as a test of credibility for the country with international investors.

Analysts say that any Greek bond will need to carry a yield well in excess of that paid out on the bond issued by Spain last week.

However, amid general unhappiness by unions over recent government austerity measures, analysts said the issue wouldn’t come before a 24-hour general strike today, called by Greece’s two major unions, GSEE and ADEDY. Yesterday unions blockaded the Athens stock exchange, forcing traders to carry out their business elsewhere.

Meanwhile ratings agency Fitch downgraded four Greek banks, citing an expected fall in demand for bank loans.