Greece in "no hurry" for bond issue

Greece is in "no hurry" to tap markets with a five-year bond sale which reports said could come as early as this week, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Monday.

"There is no hurry. Besides we do not need the money," Stournaras told To Vima radio in an interview.

"We are doing this as a test, to smooth the interest rate curve," Stournaras said.

Greek media had earlier reported that the bond issue -- Greece's first since the crisis -- was likely to come before a scheduled Athens visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday.

In a separate statement, the finance ministry said the reports had "no bearing on reality."

The Greek debt agency could not be reached for comment.

The minister last week said "a small issuance of bonds, 3-5 year bonds" would take place by June.

Athens has said it intends to raise 1.5-2.0 billion euros ($2-3 billion).

"After four years of being shut out from the markets, being unable to borrow, we are slowly starting to test our return," Stournaras said Monday.

"It will depend on the conditions," he told To Vima. We will (tap the markets) by summer, in the first semester. I can't say something more.

Greek borrowing rates have dipped to the lowest point since the country nearly went bankrupt in 2010 and had to be rescued by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund with two multi-billion-euro bailouts.

Greek 10-year bonds are now trading at a yield of just over six percent.