Greece's Papaconstantinou Says There's Still Chance for Bond Sales in 2011

Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said his country may still return to bond markets this year if conditions improve.

Greece’s 10-year bond yields 12.8 percent, more than three times the yield on comparable German debt, almost a year after Greece accepted a European-Union led bailout that allowed it to forego debt sales.

“If the situation improves before the end of 2011, we might give it a crack then, but it’s all up to market conditions,” Papaconstantinou said in an interview today in Cernobbio, Italy. “We hope to be able to go to the market next year.”

Greece’s financing needs for 2011 total 58 billion euros and are fully covered by the 110 billion-euro bailout package from the EU and International Monetary Fund and sales of Treasury bills. If the country is unable to tap debt markets for 27 billion euros ($38.3 billion) of its 66 billion-euro 2012 funding needs, it can seek more EU funds following a March 11 decision by euro-region leaders in Brussels.

The country’s 2010 budget deficit may be more than the government’s initial 9.4 percent projection as the recession last year was deeper than forecast, Papaconstantinou said. He said lagging revenue in the first two months of 2011 will not continue for the rest of the year.

Papaconstantinou said final figures on the country’s deficit will come from Eurostat, the European statistics agency, toward the end of the month. Greece’s economic performance could be stronger than expected this year, he said. The government forecasts a contraction of 3 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net; Marcus Bensasson in Athens at mbensasson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net.

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