Sun, Jan 21, 2018 - Page 16 News List

S&P moves Greek credit rating up one notch to a ‘B’

AFP, WASHINGTON

S&P Global Ratings on Friday raised the rating on Greek government debt by a grade, citing the improved outlook for the crisis-stricken country’s finances and economic growth.

The rating on Athens’ long-term debt was improved to “B” from “B-” with a positive outlook, which means the ratings agency could raise the grade further in the next year.

“The upgrade reflects Greece’s steadily improving general government finances and its gradually recovering economic prospects,” S&P said in a statement.

The agency notes the government had budget surpluses in 2016 and last year, and “the economy exited a multiyear recession last year.”

S&P projects Greece will see its economy grow 2 percent this year.

However, the agency cautioned that it could revise the outlook “if there are large policy shifts that reverse the reform process, or if growth outcomes are significantly weaker than we expect.”

More than 6,000 people demonstrated in Athens on Monday against the set of about 100 reforms, which include a curb on industrial action. The reforms also allow for the foreclosure and auction of properties owned by bankrupted borrowers.

Eurozone finance ministers are tomorrow expected to ratify an accord to release the latest installment of its third rescue program for Greece, which runs until August this year.

By the end of September last year, Greece had received more than 221 billion euros (US$270 billion) from European institutions and a further 11.5 billion from the IMF.

In July, Greece made a symbolic return to debt markets after a three-year hiatus, selling three billion euros worth of five-year bonds at 4.625 percent, lower than its previous outing in 2014.

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