Greece to Borrow 5.5 bln Euros in Q3-Agency

Greece to Borrow 5.5 bln Euros in Q3-Agency

Greece plans to tap capital markets for about 5.5 billion euros ($8.56 billion) in the third quarter of 2008, the head of the country's debt management agency (PDMA) said on Tuesday.

Greece has already borrowed about 27.5 billion euros so far this year and will raise at least another 10 billion in 2008, in line with government targets to borrow about 37 billion euros in 2008 to refinance maturing debt issued in previous years, Reuters reported.

"We will seek to raise about 5.5 billion euros in the third quarter," Spyros Papanicolaou, PDMA chief told Reuters in an interview.

Greece will reopen a 10-year July 2018 benchmark bond, a 5-year Aug 2013 bond and a 3-year bond expiring March 2011 in the third quarter, with the size of each issue at about 1.8 billion euros, he added.

He said Greece was also mulling issuing a dollar bond for the first time since 1998.
"We are considering issuing a dollar bond but we haven't decided when, it will depend on market conditions," he said.

Papanicolaou said the government's borrowing target will likely be overshot to cover budget deficits, Reuters added.

"The 37 billion euros announced at the beginning of the year was to cover mature debt but in order to cover budget deficits, total borrowing for 2008 will exceed this figure," Papanicolaou said. "The amount includes interest payments."
He declined to give further details.

Greece is struggling to reduce its public debt, one of the euro zone's highest, to 91 percent of GDP this year from 94.5 percent in 2007.

The conservative government, which is aiming for a balanced budget by 2010, expects to cut the budget deficit to 1.6 percent of GDP this year from 2.8 percent in 2007.

Greece exited the European Union's excessive deficit procedure last year after it reduced its budget deficit below the 3 percent ceiling.

Papanicolaou said the PDMA would also issue T-bills in the July-September period but gave no further details.

Borrowing under the name Hellenic Republic, Greece is currently rated A1 by Moody's and A by both Fitch and Standard & Poor's.

Greek bond spreads over German Bunds have narrowed to 54 basis points compared to a high of 72 basis points in March. Spreads are, however, still higher than at the end of 2007.

Papanicolaou declined to comment on the broader euro zone bond market or ECB monetary policy moves.

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