Bank of Greece hit by car bomb

Bank of Greece hit by car bomb

A large car bomb exploded outside a Bank of Greece branch this morning in central Athens. Whilst damage was caused to the building there were no injuries. No claim of responsibility has yet been made.

As the Greek government prepares to re-enter the financial markets on Thursday a bomb exploded in central Athens in the early morning. Security forces have closed off the area but photos show significant damage to the exterior of the building with the façade and windows broken.

The Amerakis street branch of the Bank of Greece sits in the very centre of Athens just a few hundred metres from the Greek parliament building. Due to the timing of the attack and warning calls the police were easily able to evacuate the area and no injuries have been reported. The blast occurred around 6am roughly 45 minutes after warning calls had been placed. The bomb consisted of 70kg of explosives placed inside a stolen car which was parked outside the bank. On the same street as the bank are offices of the privatisation agency and the representative of the Troika.

There have been several armed attacks in Greece in recent months which has led to security being visibly tighter around central Athens. Today's attack comes as the Greek government attempts to make a much publicised return to the bond markets and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits on Friday. The Greek state is claiming this return after several years of exclusion from the market marks the end of the crisis. A lot of words and expense(repairing riot damage and clearing graffiti) have gone into trying to create an atmosphere of normality in Greece as the crisis continues and the current government weakens. Such attacks as the one this morning puncture this atmosphere of normality.

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Apr 10 2014 10:34


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Apr 10 2014 11:13

This is the FT's version of this story - sorta...

Greece €3bn bond sale snapped up
Greece has raised €3bn in a five-year bond deal after attracting in excess of €20bn in orders for its eagerly anticipated return to the bond market.

The yield on the deal was confirmed at 4.95 per cent – much lower than most analysts expected.

The order book includes €1.3bn of orders from the arranging banks, but is a striking confirmation of the ravenous appetite for eurozone periphery debt. One person close to the deal said there had been more than 550 different investor accounts placing orders.

Local media reports have Greece’s finance minister, Yannis Stournaras, hailing its return from capital markets exile this morning at a conference.

“Today we’ve returned to international borrowing markets for the first time in four years,” he said. “In a short while we will announce the results of this catalytic undertaking.”

A car bomb exploded outside one of the Bank of Greece’s offices in central Athens at dawn on Thursday. Police, who blamed leftwing or anarchist extremists, said no one was injured. The blast came a day before a planned visit to Athens by Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Appetite for the Greek issue helped to boost demand for other European government bonds, with the yield on 10-year Italian bonds down 5 basis points to 3.15 per cent and the yield on Spanish 10-year bonds down 4 basis points to 3.16 per cent.

Athens announced its return to global capital markets on Wednesday. Following the biggest debt restructuring in history and embarking on a painful austerity programme, Greece achieved a primary surplus in 2013. But there is still much structural reform ahead and with high levels of unemployment it remains the weakest link in the eurozone.

As if to underline the fragility of Greece’s recovery, the country’s labour unions embarked on a nationwide anti-austerity strike on Wednesday, forcing schools to close and bringing parts of the public transport network to a standstill. News of the debt sale was barely reported in Athens because of television blackouts.

Antonis Samaras, Greece’s prime minister, is keen to show that the country is able to borrow money independently of the troika of international lenders – the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund – ahead of May’s European elections. The bond will be governed by UK law in an attempt to attract investors who fear they could be wiped out by another debt restructuring.

Greece is taking advantage of falling borrowing costs across Europe amid growing speculation that the ECB will embark on a round of quantitative easing.

Greece’s benchmark borrowing costs on the 10-year bond hit more than 30 per cent after the country’s dramatic debt restructure in 2012, but have now fallen below 6 per cent.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan are managing the issue.