Once-toxic Greek debt is now in high demand as global recession fears mount

Associated Press
  • Greece joined the list of European nations with negatively yielding debt Wednesday as investors rushed into its latest bond sale.
  • The country’s debt was viewed as a dangerous investment less than a decade ago, as Greece stood at the centre of the eurozone’s debt crisis.
  • Negative yields signal a shift in investments across the region, with account holders now prompted to buy riskier assets over saving cash.
  • Greece’s economy is recently out of a major economic recovery following a 2008 debt crisis. It’s domestic stock index has outperformed European peers in the year-to-date as the nation’s new centre-right leader pushes for economic expansion.
  • Visit the Markets Insider homepage for more stories.

Greek debt, viewed as poisonous just years ago, is now in high demand as investors seek stable assets amid a global economic slowdown – and a possible recession.

The country joined the list of negative-yield eurozone nations Wednesday after its latest bond offering. Greece stood at the centre of the bloc’s sovereign debt crisis less than 10 years ago, and required massive bailouts from international agencies to recover.

The European Central Bank drove its benchmark interest rate lower in August to -0.5%, pushing investors to move funds out of bank accounts and into national economies. Several European nations – including Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy – have sold negative-yield bonds in recent months as governments look to spur investment amid growing recession fears.

Negative interest rates shift typical norms of borrowing and investing, as account holders are charged to save money instead of earning interest on their deposits. The ECB’s decision also dragged the region’s debt offerings lower, as its rate serves as a key reference point for nations’ central banks.

Read more: BlackRock’s bond chief breaks down the best way for US investors to profit from the growing $US17 trillion pile of negative-yielding debt

Greece’s Wednesday offering included roughly $US535.31 million in three-month bonds with a yield of -0.02%. The last sale of bonds with three-month maturities featured yields of 0.095%.

The nation is just out of an eight-year economic recovery following a 2008 debt scare. The global financial crisis wreaked havoc on the euro, and while monetary policy helped pull larger nations like Germany and France into recovery, Greece floundered. The smaller economy was nearing a permanent crash when a collection of multi-billion euro bailouts from the International Monetary Fund kept it afloat.

Since then, Greek assets rallied as investors drove increased demand for its debt and began to expect a July victory from centre-right candidate Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The new leader promised new jobs and increased economic growth through his campaign.

The Athens Stock Exchange General Index is up roughly 36% year-to-date, outperforming its European peers.


Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:



These are the 5 companies Bank of America just added to its quarterly list of top climate-change stock picks



J&J slides after jury orders it to pay $US8 billion in male breast-growth case



Google is going through a slow-motion employee revolt, and its cofounders are missing in action

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.