Cyprus overwhelmed by investors' offers on its return to market: Finance minister

NICOSIA, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus received offers totaling 2 billion euros (2.7 billion U.S. dollars) when it auctioned 500 million euros worth of five-year bonds, Finance Minister Haris Georgiades said on Wednesday.

He said that based on the high level of bids and the lower than expected yield Cyprus decided to sell bonds worth 750 million euros at an interest rate of 4.75 percent, below the 4.90 percent yield originally expected.

Georgiades said the issue will finance part of Cyprus' domestic debt presently standing at about 4.5 billion euros at a lower cost and at the same time it will provide badly needed liquidity for the economy striving to exit from a long stagnation.

Cyprus was bailed out in March 2013, in a 10-billion-euro deal with the Eurogroup and the International Monetary Fund, which also involved the first bank recapitalization by slashing almost one half of all deposits over 100,000 euros.

"The issue is a decisive step towards a systematic return to international markets," Georgiades told a press conference late on Wednesday.

Sources said the offers for the bonds came mostly from Britain, other EU countries and Cyprus itself.

About 51 percent of the bonds were absorbed by investment funds, 27 percent by hedge funds and 22 percent by banks. (1 Euro = 1.35 U.S. dollars)