April 10 - Two years after being at the epicenter of the European sovereign debt crisis, Greece has returned to the bond markets with a heavily subscribed 3 billion euro deal. Ciara Sutton ask if it is the beginning of the end of its international bailout and the euro zone crisis.
Three billion euros snapped up. Greece's eagerly anticipated return to the bond market didn't disappoint. The yield on the sale of five year bonds was 4.95 percent - lower than analysts expected. And it attracted more than 20 billion dollars in orders from investors keen to cash in on the country's optimism. Greek Development Minister, Costis Hatzidakis. (SOUNDBITE)(English) GREEK DEVELOPMENT MINISTER COSTIS HATZIDAKIS SAYING: "Today is truly an important day for Greece. Greece is returning again to the markets after four years of isolation. It is once again becoming a regular European country, and this is due to the sacrifices of the Greek people and the efforts that were made on various levels." But the tough period of austerity has left its mark on Greece. A bomb exploded outside its central bank in Athens ahead of the bond auction. And strikes and protests about the reforms have again become an almost daily occurrence. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) LOCAL RESIDENT DESPOINA ROSAKI SAYING: "Things are very difficult, there is no question about it, things are very bad. It is sad." Greece nearly left the euro zone two years ago and the conditions of its bailouts are deeply resented. But the European Commission says the sacrifices have been worth it. (SOUNDBITE)(English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION VICE PRESIDENT JOAQUIN ALMUNIA SAYING: "Today is a very good day from the point of view of the results, the big efforts developed by the Greek authorities and by the Greek society, the Greek citizens to overcome this terrible crisis." But not everyone is convinced the bond sale means Greece's problems are behind them. Standard Chartered's Sarah Hewin. (SOUNDBITE) (English) STANDARD CHARTERED, SARAH HEWIN, SAYING: "To a certain extent it is a publicity exercise. Greece continues to be supported by the Troika and received its most recent bailout tranche. The large portion of debt is held by official investors and there is still the question mark over whether that officially held debt will needs to be restructured at some point." But the country's tentative recovery is gathering steam. Factories have sprung into action and the government hopes to exit its aid program by the end of the year. The sale could also boost sentiment throughout Europe, as it continues to recover from the debt crisis - a welcome contagion instead of a dreaded one.