News in Brief – December 2022
- Greek Economy – Greece’s economy is expected to grow at a 1.8% rate next year – marking one of the fastest growth rates in the Eurozone – according to the 2023 Greek government budget, and after growing an estimated 5.6% this year. Among other goals, the budget sees a 0.7%-of-GDP surplus in 2023. Separately, the Eurogroup approved the release of €6 billion of debt relief measures following a positive review of Greece’s policy reforms.
- Economic Growth – Third quarter Greek GDP expanded 2.8% on a year-on-year basis, according to preliminary data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority, above the average growth rate in the rest of the Eurozone. According to analysts, the latest data were weighed down by the treatment of energy-related subsidies and may be revised upward with the release of fourth quarter data.
- Debt Repayment – For the first time, Greece has repaid €2.7 billion in loans owed to other Eurozone countries ahead of schedule, according to a Reuters report citing a finance ministry official. Combined, the Eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund lent Greece more than €260 billion during the country’s almost ten year-long debt crisis. Since then, Greece has paid off the IMF loans two years ahead of schedule and is now repaying its outstanding Eurozone debt.
- Greek Tourism – Greece looks to remain one of Europe’s favored travel destinations next year, according to a recent survey by the European Travel Commission, following a banner year this year. The survey showed that the Top 5 destinations favored by European travelers in 2023 included Spain (10.2%), France (10.1%), Italy (9.6%), Greece (6.6%), and Croatia (5.6%).
- Greek Shipping – Greek interests continue to play the leading role in worldwide shipping, controlling 17.6% of the world’s shipping fleet in terms of dead-weight tons, according to the latest estimate by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). According to the report, Greek interests control 4,870 vessels with a combined DWT of 384.4 million, making Greece the leading ship-owning nation in the world ahead of China and Japan.
- Natural Gas – Natural gas operators of Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary agreed to move ahead with plans for the development of a North-South natural gas corridor for the Balkans. The six companies − DESFA (Greece), Βulgartransgaz (Bulgaria), Transgaz (Romania), FGSZ (Hungary), ICGB (Bulgaria) and Gastrade (Greece) – pledged their commitment to the project, which comes amid joint efforts to diversify energy sources in Southeast Europe and wean the region off its dependency on Russian supplies.
- Parthenon Marbles – Secret talks between Greece and the UK over an agreement to return the Parthenon Sculptures – also known as the Elgin Marbles – to Greece have reached an advanced stage, according to various media reports. Greece has been seeking the return of the sculptures, which are now housed in the British Museum in London, for decades. Separately, the Vatican announced that it would be returning three marble fragments from the Parthenon to Greece.