GIG Economic Bulletin – 13 December 2021

Greece was the fastest-growing economy in the eurozone in Q3, after confirming 16.5% annual growth, while industrial growth jumped a further 16.5% in October.

Economic BulletinInsights
Greece was the eurozone’s fastest growing market in the third quarter of 2021, according to ELSTAT, while exports were up 36.6% y-o-y in October. The deal for the transfer of DEPA Infrastructure to Italy’s Italgas was inked for a value of €733 million, while REDS – a subsidiary of Greece’s Ellaktor – won the bidding for Heraklion Gournes, with an offer of €40.2 million. Meanwhile, according to a report by Found.ation, ETI Digital and Velocity Partners, start-ups raised capital in excess of €500 million in 2021.

Macro

The Greek economy grew by just short of 9% in the first three quarters of 2021 according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). GDP was up 13.5% Y-o-Y in Q3, placing Greece top of the eurozone according to Eurostat, while the previous quarter’s growth was revised upwards to 16.6%.

NBG has revised its annual growth forecast up to 8.5% from 7.5% previously. The new estimate hinges on 7.6% growth in Q4.

Industrial production jumped by 16.5% Y-o-Y in October according to ELSTAT, continuing the positive trend from November last year. The biggest rises were in electricity supply with 30.8% and manufacturing with 14.7%.

The Consumer Price Index shot up by 4.8% Y-o-Y in November, following a 3.4% rise in October. Energy prices were the main driver of inflation, with electricity up 15.9% on an annual basis, and natural gas up by 31.7%.

Exports continued to grow, increasing by 36.6% in October compared to the same month last year, however imports rose at a faster pace, widening the trade deficit by 52.8% on an annual basis. Imports in the month totalled €5.87 billion against exports of €3.71 billion, bringing the monthly deficit to €2.16 billion. Excluding the value of oil products and ships, the deficit increased by just 21.1% Y-o-Y to €1.61 billion.

The annual survey by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) showed significant improvements in the business environment in Greece, with the index of difficulty in doing business dropping to 4.9 out of 10, compared to a score of 7 in 2017. High taxes are only seen as a problem by 45.5% of businesses surveyed compared to 70.6% in 2020.

GGBs

The PDMA’s debt strategy for 2022 revolves around the issuing of €10 billion in the course of the year, including the first ever green bond of €1.5 billion. Next week’s ECB meeting will determine whether Greece can count on being included in post-PEPP purchases, however that prospect is looking increasingly unlikely.

The PDMA has invited the remaining bondholders who did not participate in the PSI bond swap of 2017 to swap their old issues, which mature between 2023 and 2042, for new benchmark notes. An estimated €4.05 billion of bonds are eligible for the new swap, which aims to improve the profile of public debt.

The Eurogroup gave the green light to Greece to prepay €7 billion of IMF and bilateral loans. The plan would cover all of Greece’s outstanding obligations to the IMF, in addition to the 2022 and 2023 instalments to the GLF, from the bilateral loans of the first adjustment programmes.

Privatisations

The transfer of DEPA Infrastructure to Italgas concluded with the signing of the purchase deal for €733 million. Italgas is planning to invest €1.1 billion by 2030 in extending the gas distribution network from 6,875 km of pipelines to 11,500 km. The transfer is awaiting final approval by energy regulator RAE and the Greek competition authority.

On Friday Italgas signed the sale and purchase agreement for the acquisition of 100% of DEPA Infrastructure. Copyright: QiuJu Song / Shutterstock.com

Privatisation fund HRADF is starting 2022 with a pipeline of projects valued at €2 billion, kicking off with the tender for Attica Highway. Binding offers for the Port of Kavala are due by early February, followed by Igoumenitsa and Alexandroupolis.

REDS has won the bidding for Heraklion Gournes, the former U.S. base slated for redevelopment, with an offer of €40.2 million. The company, a subsidiary of Ellaktor, plans to invest up to a total of €200 million in redeveloping the site.

Start-ups

Greek start-ups raised over €700 million over the 5-year period starting in 2017, with 2021 being the most productive year to date. According to a report by Found.ation, ETI Digital and Velocity Partners, more than 70 start-ups were funded this year, and the total capital raised exceeded €500 million.

Stock Market

The ASE general index rose by 2.2% on a weekly basis to close at 898.63 points. Banking stocks appreciated by 2.05% and large caps by 2.38% in a week of low trading volumes.

Greek listed companies drew €7.7 billion from the markets in 2021 through share capital increases, private placements and corporate bonds, doubling the amount raised the previous year.

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