NewEuroMTS Surpasses €1 Billion in Trades Soon After Launch; Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Joins as Market Maker

London, February 17, 2004 – NewEuroMTS, the market for trading euro-denominated government securities of the May 2004 EU Accession States, today announced that volumes have surpassed the €1.1 billion mark after only two months of operation. The turnover is particularly encouraging, given that it is based on the trading activity of six eligible securities, with two recently qualifying for listing in January.

"NewEuroMTS is proving to be an additional, important source of information on price of Polish Euro-denominated debt in the secondary market. As investors seek transparency and liquidity, this system encourages them to invest in our instruments. Both investors and issuers can now participate in this market with an increased level of confidence," said Andrez Ciopinski, Deputy Director of the Foreign Policy Department of the Ministry of Finance of Poland.

László Búzás, Managing Director of the Government Debt Management Agency of Hungary, said: "The success of NewEuroMTS has been extremely favourable to our debt management and has provided us with the objective feedback from the market that we require in order to make more informed strategy decisions. This is leading to more efficient pricing of our debt, and contributing directly to lower our funding costs."

Banca Nazionale del Lavoro has also joined as the 15th Market Maker, further improving the liquidity and quality of prices on NewEuroMTS. The bonds currently benefiting from the system’s tighter bid-offer spreads and depth of liquidity are: Republic of Hungary 4% 2010, 4.50% 2013 and 4.50% 2014; as well as the Republic of Poland’s 3.875% 2009, 5.50% 2011 and 4.50% 2013. To be eligible for listing, bonds must be issued by the May 2004 EU Accession States, issued or tapped no earlier than 2 years prior to listing date, with a minimum maturity of 15 months, investment-grade rated or of good credit quality[1] and a minimum outstanding size of €1 billion.

Gianluca Garbi, CEO of EuroMTS said: "The success of NewEuroMTS has already prompted other EU Accession States issuers to strive to meet the NewEuroMTS listing criteria in order that they too can reap the benefits afforded by this new Market. We are pleased that NewEuroMTS is already contributing to the efficiency and transparency for EU Accession States' bonds and look forward to continuing to aid in the development of these debt markets, in the same way that EuroMTS has served the eurozone government bond market."

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