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Greece raised three billion euros (3.5 billion US dollars) selling five-year state bonds at a 4.625 percent interest rate in what was the country's first test return to global bond markets in three years, Greek national news agency AMNA reported on Tuesday.

The last time Greece issued bonds was in 2014 under the coalition government of Antonis Samaras with a yield to investors of 4.95 percent.

That development opened the way for Greece's market foray, which the Tsipras government says should be viewed as a test run and considered part of an overall strategy to ensure the country can fully return to markets next year.

The return to the markets comes after months of tension over Greece's bailout programme has eased.

It said it had mandated BNP Paribas, Citigroup Global Markets, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Merrill Lynch as joint lead managers for the benchmark size offering.

Greece's bond move will probably be successful, but remember it is being underpinned by remarkable conditions on world bond markets.

That is below the 4.95 percent in Greece's last auction of bonds in 2014, reportedly the target the Greek government had set in the new offer.

Earlier this month, eurozone finance ministers approved the latest 8.5 billion-euro ($9.9-billion) disbursement from its third worldwide bailout, just in time for Athens to meet major debt repayments.

Although Athens is still in an internationally-funded bailout program until July 2018, returning to bond markets will be an important move for the country and its main governing party SYRIZA.

"Athens has voted 140 measures, the country is now in excellent position, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also agrees", added Moscovici.

In a sign that the country is turning a corner the economy is projected to grow by 2.1% this year - after no growth at all in 2016.

"Greece was caught up in an incredible economic and financial storm", Moscovici told France Inter radio ahead of a visit to Athens for talks with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on debt relief.

However, the IMF said it would not release any funds until the eurozone agreed on a deal to cut Greece's €314bn debt burden.


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