News in Brief – June 2022
- Greek Economy – Greece’s economy grew 7% year-on-year in the first quarter, well above consensus projections, thanks to double-digit gains in consumption, private investment and exports. According to the latest official data, GDP rose 2.3% on a quarter-on-quarter basis. The stronger-than-expected growth suggests that full year growth may surpass the government’s official forecast of 3.1% in 2022.
- Eurogroup – Finance ministers from the 19 countries that use the euro have decided to end their special financial oversight of Greece, reflecting the major strides the country has made in its reform agenda. The Eurogroup decision means that Greece will exit its program of enhanced oversight in August, effectively drawing to a close more than a decade of extraordinary supervision brought on by the global financial crisis. In a separate decision, the Eurogroup also approved €748 million in debt relief for Greece.
- Tax Reduction − Taxes on income and payrolls for Greek workers declined at a faster rate last year than in almost every other developed economy, the OECD said in a report, and are now at the lowest level in more than 20 years. According to the analysis, the tax wedge − the effective tax burden − for an unmarried Greek wage earner fell by 2.2 percentage points to 36.7% in 2021 from 38.9% in 2020, while the average decline in the OECD was 0.06 percentage points to 34.6%.
- Hellenikon Casino − Greece’s Finance Ministry has signed the 30-year concession agreement for the development and operation of a combined casino, hotel and recreation complex on the site of the old Athens airport at Hellenikon. The casino concession, which had faced several delays, is one of the key features of the €8 billion redevelopment of the old airport, a project that is expected to revitalize the Athens Riviera along the coast south of the Greek capital.
- Telecom Cable − Greece and Saudi Arabia have signed a preliminary agreement to advance an estimated €800 million submarine fiber optic cable linking the two countries. The East to Med Data Corridor will help establish Greece as one of the telecommunications gateways to the European Union and develop Saudi Arabia as a regional digital hub. A final agreement is expected to be signed in July and the project to be completed by the end of 2025.
- Hotel Investment – U.S. hospitality giant Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is planning to further expand its portfolio in Greece with the opening of 15 additional hotels. Speaking at a business conference, the group’s President for Europe, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa, Dimitris Manikis, said that Wyndham hoped to have at least 25 hotels operating in Greece in the next three years, up from about 10 currently.
- Greek Property – Prices for residential property rose 8.6% year-on-year on average in the first quarter of 2022 on a nationwide basis, according to provisional data by the Bank of Greece. The first quarter increase shows that price increases for Greek residential property are accelerating after a pandemic-induced slowdown, following a 7.4% average increase in 2021 and a 4.5% average increase in 2020. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, residential prices were up 2.4% in the first three months of the year.