Car bomb explodes outside Bank of Greece in central Athens


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The Independent Online

A car bomb exploded in the centre of Athens today as a raft of international investors queued up to pump more than €20 billion (£16.5 billion) into Greece’s struggling economy.

The early morning blast outside the Bank of Greece came as the government ended its four-year exile from global debt markets since the eurozone crisis erupted in 2010.

Investors in a desperate hunt for returns snapped up €3 billion in five-year bonds considered junk by credit rating agencies, in a debt offering more than seven times oversubscribed. Greece is paying 4.95% to borrow, lower than the 5.25%-5% range expected.

Since Greece last sold a five-year bond in February 2010 it has been through two traumatic bailouts which saw private bondholders take a writedown of more than 50%.

Austerity has left more than a quarter of the population out of work, and analysts believe it is unlikely to cut debts as a share of its economy to a sustainable 120% by 2020.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: “Greece’s debts are high and the political situation is unstable. The car bomb acts as a timely reminder of the risks of investing there.”