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INTERNATIONAL - Europe ends Greece's 8-year bailout saga

24 June 2018

The Greek government on June 22 said the country was "turning a page" after eurozone ministers declared its crisis over as they granted Athens debt relief under a bailout exit strategy.

Greek 10-year bond yields fell 8 basis points to a four-week low at 4.23 percent, while five-year bond yields fell 10 bps to 3.40 percent - their lowest level in nearly four weeks.

Greece is slated to leave its financial rescue on August 20 and finance ministers from the 19 countries that use the single currency were under pressure to offer Athens a goodbye deal that left it strong in the eyes of the financial markets.

It also provides the country with enough ready cash to coast it over almost two more years, without having to resort to expensive worldwide bond markets after bailout loans run out in August.

"We are very close to the moment when we will reap the fruits of years of sacrifices and hard efforts by the Greek people", he said.

"I think it is the end of the Greek crisis", Tsakalotos said in Luxembourg early Friday.

"A new chapter is opening for the country, but that does not mean that we should abandon the prudent path of fiscal balance and structural reforms our country needs", Tsipras said in statements broadcast live on Greek public broadcaster ERT.

"We need a balanced compromise between all actors, ensuring growth and sustainable debt for the future".

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The third and current bailout, involving €86 billion and starting in 2015, is scheduled to end on August 20.

Greece will have cash to cover it for two years, during which time it will try to start raising money on bond markets.

Finance Ministers Euclid Tsakalotos told reporters the deal made Greek debt viable again and paved the way for a return to market financing.

The news lifted sentiment towards Greek debt, pushing yields down in early trade.

Centeno said that under the deal, Greece could delay back repayment on billions in loans by 10 years, giving it a financial breather, while stricter deadlines could have further choked the economy over the next decade.

The International Monetary Fund, led by the tough-talking Christine Lagarde, welcomed the debt relief, but cited reservations about Greece's obligations over the long term.

On the other hand, Greece must achieve ambitious primary budget surpluses - that is, surpluses that exclude the cost of debt servicing - of 3.5 percent until 2022, and an average 2.2 percent from then to 2060.

INTERNATIONAL - Europe ends Greece's 8-year bailout saga