Greece aims to tap bond markets

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. (Reuters)
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. (Reuters)

Greece aims to tap bond markets next year, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has told a Greek newspaper, after Athens started talks with creditors earlier this week on how to make the country's debt burden more manageable.

Cut off from global credit markets since 2014, Greece signed up to a third multi-billion euro bailout last July.

Mr Tsipras's leftist government hopes to conclude a review of its progress on reforms at a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on May 24, a step that would unlock funds in time for upcoming repayments to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as state suppliers.

Greece hopes the meeting will also yield progress on measures to ease its debt burden, which is set to reach 182.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, according to European Commission forecasts.

"We will return to the markets in 2017," Mr Tsipras said in an interview with Realnews newspaper, part of which was carried on the weekly's website on Saturday.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said last year a long-term commitment to debt relief from euro zone countries was crucial to restoring investor confidence in the country and that Athens could start borrowing on the bond market again by the end of 2016.

Treasury bills are for now Greece's main source of short-term funding.

Mr Tsipras was re-elected in September on promises to mitigate the impact of austerity on Greeks, already weary of five years of spending cuts and tax hikes.

"We might exit the bailout once and for all a lot before the program expires in August 2018," Mr Tsipras said.

Reuters