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Greece to auction three-month T-bills next week

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(ATHENS) - Greece on Friday said it would issue a batch of three-month treasury bills worth 500 million euros ($660 million dollars) next week, as it mulls a return to longer-term debt sales.

"On January 18, the Hellenic Republic will auction 13-week T-Bills in book entry form with (a) maturity (of) 26 April 2011," its debt agency said.

In its last three-month sale, Greece in mid-November raised 390 million euros at a yield of 4.10 percent.

The issue, which had an original target of 300 million euros, was oversubscribed nearly five times over.

Earlier this week, Athens mustered 1.95 billion euros from six-month treasury bills at 4.9 percent interest in its largest offering since July.

But it has so far shied away from longer-term paper as rates remain prohibitively high.

The debt crisis, which drove Greece to the brink of bankruptcy last year, placed major pressure on the euro and forced the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to craft an emergency loan for Athens, followed by similar action for Ireland.

Portugal staged a successful long-term debt auction this weak, after heavy speculation it would be the next eurozone member to seek help.

Greece is struggling under a debt mountain of some 300 billion euros and its economy is caught in a deepening recession, exacerbated by draconian cuts that have caused waves of strikes and protest.

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