Greece reopens 10-year bond issue ahead of defense boost

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s finance minister said Wednesday the country has carried out a successful bond auction, reopening a June 10-year issue that had raised 3 billion euros ($3.55 billion) with a yield of 1.50%.

The move comes as Athens seeks to boost its cash reserves for additional support to pandemic-hit businesses, as well as to increase defense spending amid a crisis with Turkey over eastern Mediterranean drilling rights.

Speaking in a radio interview, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the auction “appears to be successful” and had achieved a lower yield than the June sale.

He gave no further details pending the official announcement of auction results later Wednesday.

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Greece and Turkey remain locked in a tense dispute over maritime boundary limits and commercial exploitation rights in the eastern Mediterranean. Both countries are carrying out military exercises and increased naval deployments in the region after Turkey expanded oil-and-gas survey missions in an area between the Greek island of Crete, Cyprus and Turkey’s southern coast.

Government officials in Athens say they are planning to boost spending for all three branches of the armed forces in an expansion that is expected to start before the end of the year.

Officials have not commented on Greek media reports that the purchases may include French-made Rafale fighter jets and at least one French frigate.

France has sided with Greece in the dispute with Turkey. The European Union says it will impose sanctions on Turkey unless it takes steps to de-escalate the crisis.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to announce details of the defense spending increases at an annual speech on the state of the economy later this month.

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