Greece is back, market return in sight-PM

ATHENS Wed Apr 2, 2014 11:59am EDT

Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras holds a news conference at the end of a European Union leaders summit in Brussels December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet

Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras holds a news conference at the end of a European Union leaders summit in Brussels December 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Sebastien Pirlet

Related Topics

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has put the worst of a debt crisis behind it and is considering issuing new debt within three months, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told Reuters on Wednesday.

Greece has enjoyed a sharp revival of fortunes since its debt burden nearly sent it crashing out of the euro zone two years ago. Its economy is set to emerge from a six-year recession this year while bond market yields imply its borrowing costs have dropped to four-year lows.

"Greece is back," Samaras told Reuters at the prime minister's Maximos mansion office in Athens.

"Two years ago, we were the epicenter of financial instability in the area, and we were an unstable country in a relatively stable region. Now the situation is totally different: Greece has stabilized, both politically and economically and there is growing instability around Greece."

He was speaking on Wednesday, a day after Athens secured 8.3 billion euros ($11.5 billion) in fresh aid from euro zone finance ministers, paving the way for the country to meet debt obligations in May and boosting expectations of a return to bond markets to end its four-year exclusion.

"The timing of any such offering is subject to market conditions and we have not ruled out the possibility of coming to market as early as during the first half of 2014," he said.

Officials have previously told Reuters that Athens is eyeing a sale of between 1.5 billion-2 billion euros of five-year bonds in a test issue as it tries to get back on its feet after two bailouts worth 240 billion euros from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Samaras, who took power in 2012 at the height of the debt crisis, saw early signs that the economy is recovering along with market sentiment, citing new business start-ups that are creating jobs for youth.

"We've hit rock bottom and now this is the curve going up," he said. "We are at the very beginning of the curve going up."

Athens expects gross domestic product to post modest growth of 0.6 percent this year after a brutal recession that left the economy a quarter smaller.

"The most important words now are stability and growth," Samaras said. "I must not lose my direction, straight all the way, I'm not going to zig zag."

Record unemployment and cash problems facing companies and households remained significant issues, but Greece has now turned a page on the crisis, he said.

"The image and the perception of Greece internationally has changed also. This is a new psychology and this is a new sentiment taking place in Greece and this is why I'm saying Greece is back," Samaras said.

(Writing by Deepa Babington; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
Macedonian wrote:
I thought they start paying their debt back , someone please explain to me I’m extremely confused “Greece is Back” back to what borrowing and what else…

Apr 02, 2014 12:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cool13 wrote:
Greece is back to markets. That’s it since you are Greek you should understand what this article says.

Apr 04, 2014 4:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
cool13 wrote:
Ok?

Apr 04, 2014 4:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.