(Adds minister’s quote, detail)
ATHENS, June 4 (Reuters) - Greece is likely to tap bond markets in the coming months, for the third time this year, to help support its economy which has been hurt by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Thursday.
Greece raised a total of 4.5 billion euros from 15- and 7- year bond issues earlier this year. Government officials told Reuters in May that Greece plans at least two more bond issues by the end of the year.
“It’s likely that we’ll tap markets in the coming period, in the coming months,” Staikouras told Greek Proto Thema radio.
The country, which emerged from bailouts in 2018, sees its economy contracting by 8-13% this year due to a nationwide lockdown it imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Its vital tourism sector, accounting for about 20 percent of economic output, expects huge revenue losses this year due to travel restrictions worldwide.
Staikouras said that state revenues dropped 7% in March and 18% in April, adding the government expected an even deeper drop in May.
Staikouras did not provide any further details on the planned bond issue, saying the timing hinged on various factors.
Greece, he said, does not need to tap into a 15.7 billion euro ($17.59 billion) cash buffer it set up in previous years from unused bailout funds to tackle the impact of the health crisis.
The country is due to release GDP data for the first quarter of the year later on Thursday.
$1 = 0.8925 euros Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Toby Chopra