Greece on Tuesday raised 1.95 billion euros in treasury bills drawing major demand but had to pay over double the last equivalent rate as returns on its benchmark 10-year paper hit a new record.
“The total bids reached 6.92 billion euros and the amount finally accepted was 1.95 billion,” the Greek debt management agency said in a statement.
The agency had originally sought to raise 1.5 billion euros. It added that buyers were offered a uniform yield of 3.65 percent compared to 1.67 percent in the last three-month bill issue in January.
The auction, the third in a week, comes after the rate of return on Greek 10-year government bonds rose to a record of 7.807 percent on Tuesday.
The yield was already at 7.618 percent late on Monday way beyond the level that Greece can afford to pay if it is to get through its debt crisis.
Last week, the government drew strong demand for one-year and six-month bills last week but had to offer high interest rates despite a stand-by rescue guarantee from the eurozone intended as a shield against steep borrowing rates.
“At current elevated levels, the 13-week T-bill auction is expected to yields close to the four percent level,” analysts at Dutch bank ING said in a press statement. Yields are typically lower for shorter-term bonds.
The fresh auction comes a day before the government is scheduled to confer with officials from the European Union, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the small print of the joint loan guarantee.
The meeting was initially due on Monday but the air chaos in Europe caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland pushed it back to Wednesday.
The EU-IMF rescue deal is worth up to 45 billion euros at around five percent interest rate in the first year.But the government last week called for talks on a “multi-year program of economic policies.” Its overall debt stands at nearly 300 billion euros.
German central bank governor Axel Weber has said Greece may need up to 80 billion euros in financial aid to avoid default, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday said he would not hesitate to ask for a debt rescue from the EU and IMF if he deemed it to be “in the national interest.”
“If the national interest requires that we use the (EU-IMF debt) support mechanism, we will do so without hesitation and we will inform citizens of all the decisions,” Papandreou told government officials according to his office.
“If, to bring about the great changes needed and to take the country forward in safety we have to have recourse to this mechanism, then wewill do it.”Greece needs to raise about 10 billion euros in May to cover its debt and budget obligations but the current market mood suggests they will get the money only by paying record rates.
The yield on benchmark Greek government bonds soared to 7.618 percent on Monday at around 16H00 London time, up sharply from a sharp 7.366 percent on Friday and way beyond what Athens can pay if it is to get through the crisis.