Bond sale 'most important message' on road to exiting bailouts, Tsipras says

Greece announces new bond issue ending three-year market exile

Greece raised three billion euros (3.5 billion USA dollars) selling five-year state bonds at a 4.625 percent interest rate in what was the country's first test return to worldwide bond markets in three years, Greek national news agency AMNA reported on Tuesday.

Greece has been suffering from a financial crisis for nearly a decade, adopting austerity memorandums and finally crashing out of worldwide lending markets in 2014.

Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, BNP Paribas and Bank of America will manage the offering.

Debt swaps that may improve Greece's maturity profile without increasing its overall load can ease forays into bond markets.

It's the first time since the new Greek government was formed in 2015 that such a measure had been taken, the Greek Finance Ministry confirmed.

Its return to the markets had been predicted over recent weeks, after the country's largest creditor - the European Stability Mechanism - said last month that Greece should develop a strategy to end its three-month exile.

Greece still has a €326bn debt pile, after receiving three bailouts in the last seven years.

Eurozone ministers approved billions in funding for Athens just earlier this month.

But the clash with borrowers killed off a nascent recovery, with the Greek economy stagnating in 2016, although it is expected to post modest growth of 2.1 percent this year.

This gives Athens the chance to test without major financial risks its credibility in the markets.

He will meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras, among others.

Moreover, the IMF funds, which are contingent on the eurozone finally reaching a deal to implement its promises to reduce Greece's colossal 314-billion-euro debt burden, should keep up pressure make the country's finances sustainable on a long-term basis.

Greece was at the centre of the European sovereign debt crisis that erupted in 2010 and has had three bailouts from the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

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