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Greece eyes markets despite more strikes

Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 02:07

April 9 - Greece's main unions stage a 24 hour strike over austerity measures just as the government is thinking of returning to the markets. Ciara Sutton asks if Athens is being wise or reckless?

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Ferries anchored and railways not running - Greece's transport workers walk off the job as part of a 24 hour strike. They're demanding an end to economic reforms they say have crippled their rights and livelihoods. State hospitals too were functioning on skeleton staff. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) UNIVERSITY STUDENT YANNIS KOUTELIDIS SAYING: "We want a future with full workers rights, or the future won't be worth it, so we have to fight together, students and workers, to send the message we will not work for crumbs." Protests are now an almost daily occurrence. But even so the Greek government has ambitious plans. It's expected to make a market return within days after four years out in the cold. It hopes to raise 2.5 billion euros from a bond sale, and is expecting strong interest from investors. BNP Paribas' William de Vijlder. SOUNDBITE: William De Vijlder, Chief Investment Officer, BNP Paribas, saying (English): "If the Greek government can now say to it's domestic audience that it is getting ready to tap the international bond markets again it it a genuine achievement, and that cannot be emphasized enough. The turnabout that the country has seen, let's not forget that. We will now see positive growth after having seen five or six years of contraction and inactivity." It's hoped the sale will further lower borrowing costs. Existing Greek 10-year yields have fallen to about 6 percent in recent weeks. That's down from about 40 percent two years ago when the country imposed severe losses on private bondholders. Having secured its next tranche of aid, Greece has no pressing funding needs. But it wants to test the waters with the aim of funding itself by 2016. Things are looking up in Greece. Factories are beginning to hum again, and Greeks are starting to buy cars and other products. But talk of long-term stability could be a little premature. Just two years ago, Greece was expected to default and exit the euro, potentially unravelling the entire euro zone.

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Greece eyes markets despite more strikes

Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 02:07

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