Bond yield fall boosts Greece’s efforts to ease budget restrictions

Greece’s 10-year government bond yield has fallen below 1% for the first time, bolstering the country’s effort to ease strict budget conditions set by bailout lenders.

The yield dropped to 0.957% but remains among the highest borrowing rates in the 19-country eurozone and roughly level with Italy.

Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands all currently have negative long-term interest rates.

Greece
The cupola and bells of an Orthodox church on the Greek island of Santorini (PA)

Greece is hoping that its improved economic growth, a sovereign rating approaching investment grade, and access to lower-interest borrowing from financial markets will help convince creditors that it can keep its national debts sustainable with lower budget performance targets.

Greek national debt is still around 180% of gross domestic product after its economy was kept afloat with successive international bailouts between 2010 and 2018 from the International Monetary Fund and a eurozone rescue fund.

In Athens last week, EU finance commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said the European Union Commission was willing to discuss easing strict targets for Greece’s primary surplus, the country’s annual budget balance before debt servicing costs, but that a decision on the request would be made later this year.

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