News / Economy

Interest Rates Reach New Highs on Greece, Portugal and Ireland Debt

A Portuguese broker follows the Portuguese government's bond auction Wednesday, April 20, 2011 in a trading room in Lisbon
A Portuguese broker follows the Portuguese government's bond auction Wednesday, April 20, 2011 in a trading room in Lisbon

Interest rates on Greek, Portuguese and Irish debts climbed to new records on Thursday as investor fears mounted about the debt-ridden governments.

The interest rate on Greece's 10-year bonds reached nearly 15 percent, a record since Europe adopted its common euro currency in 1999. As fears mount that Greece will have to restructure the $154 billion international bailout it reluctantly accepted last year, investors have demanded higher interest rates to account for the added risk of buying the securities.  Interest rates on two-year Greek notes topped 23 percent.

The Athens government has imposed substantial spending cuts and said it will sell key state-owned facilities in an effort to cut its deficit spending. But the interest rates on its bonds have continued to increase even as Greek officials say they have no plans for a debt restructuring.

Portugal is now negotiating terms of its request for a bailout from its European neighbors and would become the third country, after Greece and Ireland, to accept international assistance. The interest rates on Lisbon's bonds have also risen sharply, increasing to more than 9.5 percent for 10-year notes and more than 11.5 percent on two-year loans, both new highs since use of the euro started.

Meanwhile, the interest rates on Ireland's bonds have also similarly increased to new records.

As interest rates increase on the debts for the governments on the geographic periphery of Europe, it has become increasingly expensive for them to finance their operations. As the financing costs have mounted, the governments have reached the same conclusion that they needed outside help.

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