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Ten-year Greek bonds drop below 9pc for first time in three years

The yield on 10-year Greek bonds, the benchmark cost at which countries can borrow on the open market, has dropped below 9pc for the first time since October 2010.

It fell to 8.18pc, down from a high of 30.83pc. Ministers declared their ambition to follow Ireland and Portugal back to bond markets as soon as the first half of 2014.

Greece has been shut out since March 2010. Its current rate compares with a 3.45pc yield on the 10-year government bonds sold by Ireland in March, and 5.49pc for Portugal, which sold debt through banks last week.

Analysts say its rate needs to fall below 6pc before borrowing will become affordable.

While Greece has made "exceptional" progress in reducing its deficit, too little progress in tackling tax evasion has meant the burden has disproportionately hit pensioners and employees, said the IMF recently.

Irish Independent