News in Brief – September 2023
- Investment Grade – Canadian ratings agency DBRS Morningstar raised its credit rating for Greece by one notch to BBBL from BBBH with a stable outlook, returning the country to investment grade status. The move, which follows similar upgrades in August, is the first by one of the four key ratings agencies recognized by the European Central Bank. Moody’s Investor Services also raised its credit rating for Greece two notches to Ba1 from Ba3 with a positive outlook, while further upgrades are foreseen in the weeks ahead. Next month, Standard & Poor’s is scheduled to issue its regular review of Greece on Oct. 20, followed by Fitch on Dec. 1.
- Greek GDP – Greece’s economy grew by a better-than-expected 2.7% year-on-year rate in the second quarter − and by 1.3% on a quarter-on-quarter basis − according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority. The data exceeded market expectations of 2.1% and 0.7% growth respectively. The figures confirm that Greece is on track for full year growth of 2.4%, one of the fastest growth rates in the Eurozone and in-line with official forecasts.
- Road Privatization – Greece’s privatization agency has named Greek construction company GEK Terna as the preferred bidder for the 25-year concession to operate the Athens Motorway, or Attiki Odos, after the company offered €3.27 billion for the concession, beating out five other bids. The 70-km suburban ring road that arcs across the northern and western suburbs of Athens is regarded one of Greece’s most successful infrastructure projects in recent years.
- Renewable Energy – Power produced from clean energy sources set a new record in September, according to Greece’s national grid operator, when renewable energy sources covered up to 140% of demand, with the surplus channeled into exports. On Sept. 10, for 10 consecutive hours, electricity production from RES more than covered total demand while electricity produced from lignite fell to zero.
- Three Seas Initiative − Greece will become the 13th member of the Three Seas Initiative, an international forum of European Union member states in Central and Eastern Europe between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas. The Three Seas Initiative seeks to foster economic cooperation among its members and boost their economic development, with a particular emphasis on energy security, transport and digital infrastructure.
- Property Prices – Home prices rose 13.9% year-on-year in the second quarter, according to Bank of Greece data, reflecting the continuing high demand for residential real estate and a tightening of supply. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, prices were up 2.5% in the April to June quarter.
- Athens Property − Demand for luxury properties along the Athens Riviera and in the city center surged in the first half of the year, reflecting growing interest in the Greek capital by well-heeled international buyers. According to a report by Sotheby’s International Realty, the Athens Riviera saw a 25.8% increase in demand, making it the second most popular luxury market in Greece after Corfu, and ahead of the island of Mykonos. Demand for luxury properties in the center of Athens also jumped, rising more than 70% in the first six months of the year.
- Retirement Destination − Greece was ranked one of the world’s ten best retirement destinations, according to the survey by US News & World Report. The survey of 87 countries ranked destinations based on factors like cost of living, economic stability, safety and public services. Greece was ranked ninth, ahead of major economies like Japan and the U.S.