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Cyprus holds first public bond issue since bailout after raising 750 mil. euros

NICOSIA, Cyprus--Cyprus returned to international markets on Wednesday after raising 750 million euros (US$1 billion) with its first public issue of bonds since last year's bailout saved it from bankruptcy.

An initial target of 500 million euros was oversubscribed four times, and allowed authorities to raise an extra 250 million euros through the five-year bonds, the Finance Ministry said. The bonds carried a 4.75 percent interest rate, in an issuance that comes a year earlier than initially anticipated.

Authorities hailed the unexpectedly strong issuance as a sign that the east Mediterranean island nation is starting to regain its economic footing.

“Trust in the Cypriot economy and its prospects has been confirmed in a tangible way,” Finance Minister Harris Georgiades told reporters, adding that the money will help pay down the country's debt — now at 118 percent of gross domestic product and inject needed liquidity into banks.

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