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 Wednesday 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 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.