Eurogroup approves of €8.5-billion loan tranche to Greece

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Eurogroup approves of €8.5-billion loan tranche to GreeceEurogroup debt deal pushes short-dated Greek bond yields to lowest since 2014

Greece's short-dated government bond yields fell to their lowest since 2014 on Friday after eurozone governments threw Athens a credit lifeline worth 8.5 billion euros ($9.5 billion) and sketched out new details on possible debt relief.

Broader eurozone debt markets were largely steady as calm returned a day after the prospect of tighter monetary policy in the United States and Britain triggered heavy selling.

The spotlight moved back to the eurozone, following a late deal on Thursday that lets indebted Greece avoid a default on bailout repayments due next month.

Some analysts said the agreement could open the door for the European Central Bank to start buying Greek government bonds under its stimulus scheme in the coming weeks, and possibly pave the way for a return to markets.

The ECB needs more clarity on what kind of debt relief Greece will get from its international creditors if it is to buy Greek bonds as part of its stimulus programme, a source close to the matter said on Friday.

A French proposal to help bridge differences on debt relief is expected to underpin further euro zone discussions and the International Monetary Fund said it would join the existing bailout, offering Athens a standby arrangement of less than $2 billion.

"This is a major step forward, in our view, coming after many months of uncertainty," HSBC European economist Fabio Balboni said.

"The deal should pave the way for the ECB to include Greece in its QE (quantitative easing) program, which in turn should unlock access to markets for Greece, putting the country on the right track towards exiting the bailout program next year."

Greece's 2-year bond yield fell to its lowest level since October 2014 at 4.81 percent, while 10-year yields yield fell as much as 15 basis points to 5.71 percent, the lowest since May 23.

Highest level since June 2015

In Athens, the benchmark stock index rose more than 1 percent to its highest level since June 2015, while banking stocks rallied over 3 percent.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday the deal was a "clear step of confidence" for markets.

The agreement gave enough clarity to investors on how Greece can manage its crushing debt burden that it should be able to borrow on the market again "in due course" after effectively relying on bailout support from other sovereigns since 2010.

Greece will return to markets once its borrowing costs drop below 5 percent, sources told Reuters this month. That could happen if the ECB includes Greek bonds in the 2.3 trillion stimulus scheme.

Still, some analysts were sceptical about Greece's inclusion in the program.

"If the ECB started buying GGBs (Greek government bonds), this would fuel another tightening leg in the bond market," Commerzbank rates strategist Christoph Rieger said.

"But as this process will likely drag into the ECB's tapering phase, I'm sceptical whether they will be buying GGBs at all while QE is still on."

Outside Greece, bond yields were slightly higher. German benchmark 10-year government bond yields rose to new 2-week highs at about 0.32 percent.

Source: Reuters

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

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