News in Brief – March 2022
- Greek Economy – Greece’s economy rebounded at an 8.3% rate last year, according to the latest data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority, in line with market expectations. In the fourth quarter of 2021, GDP rose 7.7% on a year-on-year basis, the data showed. For this year, the latest forecasts by the EU Commission sees Greek GDP growing at a 4.9% rate in 2022, in line with most other official and private sector forecasts.
- Credit Upgrade – Canada-based DBRS Morningstar has upgraded Greece’s credit rating one notch to BB (high) from BB and with a stable outlook. The upgrade by the world’s fourth largest credit ratings agency brings Greece’s credit rating to within one notch of investment grade.
- Greek Exports – Greek merchandise exports jumped 33.9% in the first month of the year to €3.37 billion compared with €2.52 billion in January 2021. According to the latest data by the Hellenic Statistical Authority, merchandise exports excluding oil products rose 20.4%, signaling a strong start to the new year.
- Strategic Investments – Enterprise Greece is currently reviewing 20 major investment projects worth a combined €7.92 billion for induction into Greece’s Strategic Investments program. In remarks to Greek media, Chairman Ioannis Smyrlis said the projects were concentrated in the areas of manufacturing, technology and innovation, renewable energy sources, real estate and tourism.
- Greek Tourism –Greece welcomed its first direct flight from the U.S. this month, marking the start of an earlier-than-usual opening to its tourist season and amid signs of strong demand from key markets. U.S. carrier Delta kicked off a direct service from New York’s John F. Kennedy international airport to Athens on March 8 and will add other routes over the next several weeks. Rival U.S. carriers United and American will begin direct flights to Greece starting in April and German travel giant TUI plans to launch more than 60 additional flights to Greece starting in April.
- Property Investment −Eight Greek destinations, including the popular tourist islands of Mykonos, Paros and Santorini, are among the top 30 holiday home markets in the Mediterranean. According to a report by Algean Property, holiday homes on the three islands return a yield to investors of between 7.4% and 6.3%, the highest return of all the countries in the region. Other Greek destinations in the Top 30 were Skiathos, Porto Heli, Halkidiki, Kefalonia and Chania.
- Athens Hotels – Despite a downturn in visitor arrivals last year, Athens has seen an increase in new top-end hotels. According to GBR Consulting, the number of 5-star hotels in the Greek capital increased 17% in 2021, and the number of 4-star hotels increased 7%. Currently some 2,500 hotel rooms are under development in Athens and another 2,500 planned for the Hellenikon project.
- Work Visas – Greece will open 50,000 jobs in its tourism sector to Ukrainian refugees and Greek expatriates, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The move would help fill vacant job positions and reflects the Greek government’s support towards Ukraine. The government also announced that it would freeze new applications and renewals of Golden Visas for Russian nationals until further notice.