Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras hailed Greece's return to international bond markets on Thursday, welcoming the outcome of the first successful bond sale by Greece in four years as a message of investors' confidence in the country's future. "Greece took today another decisive step to exit the crisis. We returned to the markets. International markets showed in a clear manner confidence in Greek economy, confidence in Greece's future in which they invest. They showed confidence in the country's capability to exit the crisis sooner than forecast," Samaras said in a televised address to the Greek people. The statement came after an official announcement by the Greek Finance Ministry that Greece sold 3 billion euros (4.15 billion U.S. dollars) worth of five-year state bonds at a 4.75 percent interest rate. The initial target, according to Finance Ministry sources, was to raise 2.5 billion euros at approximately 5 percent interest rate. Samaras added that all expectations were exceeded, noting that the order book which opened on Thursday morning and closed within a few hours hit the 20 billion euros mark, making it six-times oversubscribed. The Greek PM expressed certainty that after Thursday's signal of confidence by "the most objective judges" as he characterized markets, the country would be able to borrow bigger amounts at lower interest rates next time. "With this test exit to the markets today we opened the way for loans on better interest rates tomorrow. We opened the way today so that gradually from now on our overall borrowing cost will be reduced," he said, before thanking the Greek people for their efforts to counter the crisis. "Do not make a mistake. We still have a long way ahead to fully exit the crisis. But within a short time we took great steps. Soon for first time, relief will be felt," he added. Shut out of international markets since 2010 Greece depended on multi-billion euro bailout aid from European counterparts and the International Monetary Fund to avert a chaotic default and restore growth through a painful austerity and reform program. Remarkable progress in fiscal adjustment still has not been entirely matched with the full implementation of structural reform to secure sustainable development, according to foreign lenders and financial analysts.