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Greece set for milestone return to bond markets

Greece was set on Thursday for a milestone return to bond markets with a five-year debt sale which also sends a major signal that the eurozone debt crisis is fading. The debt issue comes four years after Greece was rescued from impending bankruptcy and was frozen out of borrowing normally. Hours before the sale, a powerful car bomb exploded outside the Bank of Greece in central Athens but nobody was hurt as police had time to clear the area.

Blast in Athens as Greece set to return to bond markets

A booby-trapped car exploded outside the Bank of Greece in central Athens early Thursday without injuring anyone, hours before Greece was due to return to the debt markets after a four-year absence. The vehicle, a stolen Nissan packed with 75 kilograms (165 pounds) of explosives, blew up around 0255 GMT as it was parked on the pavement facing a central bank building near headquarters, police said. Internet news website Zougla and the Efymerida ton Syndakton newspaper were informed of the planned attack by telephone one hour beforehand.

Greece bounces back to bond market with 3.0-bn debt sale

Bailed-out Greece returned to bond markets with a bang on Thursday after a four-year exclusion, raising 3.0 billion euros and sending a major signal that the eurozone debt crisis is fading. "The Hellenic Republic today announces that it has agreed to sell a five-year bond in a principal amount of 3.0 billion euros with an annual coupon of 4.75 percent," the finance ministry said in a statement. "Demand for the bonds was very strong. The participation of long-term investors outside Greece is expected to approach 90 percent," it added.

Eurozone outlook brighter on better German forecasts

The outlook for the crisis-battered eurozone brightened Thursday as Germany's leading economic think tanks raised their growth forecast for Europe's top economy this year and next year. Greece, one of the hardest-hit euro members, also returned to the debt markets for the first time in four years, raising 3.0 billion euros ($4.1 billion) in a landmark five-year bond sale. Throughout the long crisis, the German economy has managed to escape with only a few bruises.

Eurozone outlook brighter on better German forecasts

The outlook for the crisis-battered eurozone brightened Thursday as Germany's leading economic think tanks raised their growth forecast for Europe's top economy this year and next year. Greece, one of the hardest-hit euro members, also returned to the debt markets for the first time in four years, raising 3.0 billion euros ($4.1 billion) in a landmark five-year bond sale. Throughout the long crisis, the German economy has managed to escape with only a few bruises.

European stocks dip despite Greek bond market return

European stocks fell on Thursday as investors shrugged off a successful return to the bond markets by Greece four years after the country was rescued with a bailout. In late morning deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index slid 0.10 percent to 6,629.35 points, as caution also set in before the Bank of England's latest interest rate decision. Frankfurt's DAX 30 retreated 0.34 percent to 9,473.89 points and in Paris the CAC 40 index lost 0.38 percent to 4,426.00 points compared with Wednesday's closing values.

Italy's borrowing cost at record low on 12-month bonds

Italy raised 7.5 billion euros ($10.4 billion) on Thursday in a sale of 12-month bonds with the rate falling to a record low of 0.589 percent, the Bank of Italy said. The rate at a similar auction on March 12 was 0.592 percent, the central bank said in a statement. Demand was 1.36 times higher than the offer and the amount sold was the maximum planned, it added. Italy's borrowing costs have fallen drastically in recent months amid increased investor confidence, allowing Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's new government to save money on interest payments from the budget.

Greece bounces back to bond market with 3.0-bn debt sale

Bailed-out Greece returned to bond markets with a bang on Thursday ending a four-year exclusion, raising 3.0 billion euros and sending a major signal that the eurozone debt crisis is fading. "A sum in the order of 3.0 billion ($4.1 billion) euros will probably be raised," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou told To Vima radio, adding that the interest rate was "below 5.0 percent." The bonds have a life of five years, and this return to the medium-term debt market is a milestone for Greece which is in recession and suffering deeply from the effects of crisis and reforms.

China says no major stimulus planned; March trade weak

By Aileen Wang and Adam Rose BOAO/BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang ruled out major stimulus to fight short-term dips in growth, even as big falls in imports and exports data reinforced forecasts that the world's second-largest economy has slowed notably at the start of 2014. Li stressed on Thursday that job creation was the government' policy priority, telling an investment forum on the southern island of Hainan that it did not matter if growth came in a little below the official target of 7.5 percent.

IMF still worried about global fiscal, financial risks

Six years after a wave of financial destruction crashed through the United States and then Europe, risks, some old and some new, still challenge the global economy, the IMF says. In reviews of global fiscal and financial sector stability released Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund said gains had been made to repair budgets in advanced economies, and to shore up banking systems. But governments remain highly in debt, and emerging economies are starting to pile up risky deficits.
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