Exclusive - Greece to borrow 10 to 12 billion euros on bond markets in 2022

FILE PHOTO: A 50 Euro banknote is seen in a picture illustration.

By Lefteris Papadimas

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece plans to borrow 10 billion euros ($11.3 billion) to 12 billion euros in 2022 by issuing new short- and long-term debt and its first ever green bond, two government sources told Reuters on Monday.

The country issued five-, 10-, and 30-year government bonds this year, raising a total of about 14 billion euros and benefiting from ultra-low interest rates spurred by the asset-purchase programme of the European Central Bank.

“We plan to raise about 10-12 billion euros next year. We will also issue our first green bond,” a government official with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Greece, which is rated BB by Standard & Poor's, returned to international bond markets in 2017 after being locked out for years during a decade-long debt crisis from which it finally emerged in August 2018.

The country is aiming to reduce its ratio of debt to gross domestic product – estimated at 197.1% after it rose sharply during the pandemic – and preserve its cash buffer from unused bailout loans and money raised from markets.

“We will issue a new 10-year bond and other maturities,” a second government official said, adding that the country will make its debut with its first green bond probably in the last quarter of 2022.

He didn't provide more details on the size or the maturities.

Greece has accumulated a cash buffer of about 40 billion euros, enough to cover at least two years of maturing debt without borrowing from the markets, assuming outstanding T-bills are rolled over.

Since exiting years of bailouts by the European Union and International Monetary Fund in 2018, Greece has relied solely on the markets for its financing needs.

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said earlier this year that Greece was considering an early repayment of bilateral loans to eurozone countries and to the IMF.

“It will take place probably early next year,” the first official told Reuters without giving more details on the amount.

Greece required three international bailouts from 2010 to 2015 from the EU and IMF worth more than 260 billion euros to prevent bankruptcy. The country started paying off the first bailout loans to its euro zone partners last year and expected to repay all bailout loans by 2070.

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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