Greece hires int'l banks for three-year state bond sale in "near future"

ATHENS, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Greece has hired international banks for the sale of three-year state bonds "in the near future," the Greek Finance Ministry announced Wednesday.

It will be the second time the country returns to international financing markets this year.

"The Hellenic Republic announces that it has mandated international banks for a forthcoming three-year euro-denominated benchmark offering under English law. The transaction is expected to be launched and priced in the near future, subject to market conditions," the announcement said.

Earlier on Wednesday, media reports citing Finance Ministry sources said that a return to markets was expected by Thursday.

Greece returned to markets this April for the first time since the start of the debt crisis and its lockout of financing markets in 2010. It sold 3 billion euros (4.08 billion U.S. dollars) worth of five-year bonds at less than 5 percent interest rate.

For the three-year bond sale, Athens seeks a 3.5 percent interest rate, according to the Finance Ministry sources.

The step is seen as another sign that the ailing Greek economy is on the right track to recovery.