German newspaper Handelsblatt, in its online edition, characterizes the intense interest of investors during yesterday’s auction of the new five-year bonds as a “vote of confidence” towards Greece. “Greece has successfully placed a five-year bond in the capital markets – despite its past crisis. The strong demand is mainly due to three reasons “, it notes characteristically.
The three reasons identified by Handelsblatt are as follows: First, the fact that almost 80% of public debt is in the hands of public creditors, such as the ESM and its predecessor, the EFSF. Interest rates are not particularly low, while the debt service period begins in 2034 and lasts until 2070.
Second, the ECB’s role is to reduce the risks for investors. For the sake of truth, as part of the quantitative easing program, Frankfurt is expected to buy Greek bonds worth 12 billion euros this year. And third, the country’s liquidity is at good levels, as according to the government there is a “reservoir” with a reserve of 30 billion euros.
And yet, six years ago…
“The high demand looks like a surprise at first sight. Besides, six years ago Greece had practically declared insolvency. It was then that the left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his eccentric Minister of Finance, Gianis Varoufakis, through their conflict with creditors, had caused a massive flight of funds. The result was that the Greek financial system was threatened with collapse,” Handelsblatt also notes, underlining the great change that has taken place.
The newspaper emphasizes, at the same time, that “the Minister of Finance, Christos Staikouras, does not face problems today when he wants to borrow money. Among other things, a strong wind blew on its sails and the rating agency Standard & Poor’s, which ten days ago unexpectedly upgraded Greece’s credit rating from BB to BB, in fact changing the outlook from stable to positive.”