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Greece offers first long-term bond since 2010 at 4.95%

Greece saw huge demand on Thursday for a new five-year bond in its first long-term bond issuance in four years.

The offer attracted orders around 20 billion euros ($27.7 billion). The country was set to sell 3 billion euros worth of five-year debt at a lower-than-expected yield of 4.95 percent.

Greece has received two bailouts since 2010 from the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission. At one point, yields on its 10-year debt soared to 30 percent as markets panicked about the possibility of Greece being forced out of the euro zone.

Milos Bicanski | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The government had guided pricing at a 5-5.25 percent yield.

Demand had been expected to be high, in part because investors are looking for higher yields than the more common 3-4 percent on euro zone sovereign bonds.

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Greece's economy is still seen as shaky. The popularity of its bonds may be more of a bet on the ECB eventually embarking on more asset purchases than market confidence in its recovery, according to Bill Blain, strategist at Mint Partners.

"It won't make a blind bit of difference to Europe or Greek economic performance, but it's (the spread on Greek bonds) going to tighten. For a while," he said.

Shortly after the auction, official data showed unemployment in Greece fell month-on-month to 26.7 percent in January, down from 27.2 percent. However, unemployment was marginally higher year-on-year—in January 2013 it stood at 26.5 percent.

Contact Europe: Economy

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