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Greece eyes return to bond markets in 2nd half of 2014

Greece's Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras. ©Reuters/Francois Lenoir  Greece's Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras. ©Reuters/Francois Lenoir
Bailed-out Greece is hoping to return to bond markets in the second half of 2014 -- but only if growth and a primary budget surplus permits, its finance minister said Sunday, AFP reports.
"We are preparing a return to the markets in the second half of 2014," Yannis Stournaras said in an interview published in the Realnews weekly. But he stressed that was conditional on economic growth and a budget surplus not counting debt servicing costs. The sick man of Europe ever since it almost crashed out of the eurozone in 2010, Greece has been shut out of mid- and long-term bond markets and has relied on bailout funds from the EU and the International Monetary Fund. It has only been able to issue short-term public debt notes. Government forecasts predict a primary budget surplus of 3 billion euros ($4 billion) next year, after a surplus of 812 million euros this year. It also figures on a return to growth, of 0.6 percent, after six years of recession. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, however, calculates the Greek economy is set for yet another contraction, of 0.4 percent. Greece's troika of creditors, the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank, have recently demanded Athens plan further budget cuts over the next three years to fill a gap in public finances. Stournaras said the gap "is not so big" and the government would continue its efforts in reducing spending and increasing its tax base.
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