France sells 4.3 bln euros in bonds with lower yields

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France successfully raised 4.346 billion euros in new middle and long-term bonds on Thursday, with lower yields on 10 and 15-year bonds but slightly higher rates on 30-year bonds.

The interest France pays on its debt also fell on the secondary market, while German yields remained stable, so the spread between French bonds and the bund -- an indicator followed keenly by President Nicolas Sarkozy's government as a sign of market confidence -- narrowed significantly.

The bond issue was the last of the year for France and went better than expected, after a period in which France's triple-A rated debt has been given a rough ride by the markets.

Each new French issue was oversubscribed by a factor of between two and four, and on the secondary market the interest rate on French bonds fell to 3.103 percent from 3.38 at Wednesday's close.

France raised 595 million euros in bonds due to mature of October 25, 2017 at a rate of 2.42 percent.

Longer term, it raised 1.571 billion euros in bonds to mature on October 25, 2021 at a rate of 3.18 percent, down from 3.22 percent in the last comparable auction last month.

A further 1.1 billion euros will mature on April 25, 2026, with an interest rate of 3.65 percent, down from 3.77 last month.

And France will pay 3.94 percent on 1.08 billion in long-term bonds to mature on April 25, 2041 -- up from the 3.72 percent paid for the last 30-year issue in September.

Sarkozy is due to make a major economic speech Thursday designed to reassure voters and markets that he is on top of the eurozone debt crisis.

© 2011 AFP

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