Picture: John Kolesidis / Reuters

Athens - Greece is considering a bond sale to raise 3.0-6.0 billion euros ($4.2-8.3 billion) after a successful five-year issue earlier this month, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

“The finance ministry ... is already processing and preparing a programme for the possibility of a new recourse to markets for a sum of 3.0-6.0 billion euros,” the ministry said in a budget presentation.

The bond issue is likely to be made over the next 12 months, alternate finance minister Christos Staikouras later told reporters.

Greece earlier in April returned to medium-term international bond markets for the first time in four years, raising 3.0 billion euros at under 5.0 percent.

The Greek government expects the country to return to growth this year from a recession which has slashed the country's gross domestic product by a quarter and sent the unemployment rate soaring to 28 percent.

The government now hopes to begin debt relief talks in May with its EU-IMF creditors after achieving a primary surplus last year.

EU data agency Eurostat last week confirmed that Athens had achieved a 2013 primary budget surplus - the balance before interest and stripping out bank support and other payments - equal to 0.8 percent of GDP.

However, Greek bonds still carry junk status, unemployment is soaring, and Athens is still saddled with a debt mountain equal to 175 percent of GDP, according to Eurostat. - Sapa-AFP