GIG Economic Bulletin – 29 November 2021

The latest review by the European Commission praised Greece’s progress on several reform fronts and confirmed the sustainability of Greek debt. Property prices continued their recovery, while the latest figures show that this year’s visitors spent 28% more per trip than in the record tourist season of 2019.

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The recovery of Greece’s property prices gained momentum in the third quarter with an increase of 10% in Athens, coupled by a 8.7% rise in Thessaloniki. The European Commission’s latest enhanced surveillance report gives a positive nod to progress made by Athens on the reform front, approving the release of €767 million in debt relief. Eurobank’s NPE ratio drops to single digits, while PM Mitsotakis announced a €7.5 billion “just transition” programme for Western Macedonia.


The latest enhanced surveillance report from the European Commission gave the go-ahead for the release of €767 million of debt relief in acknowledgement of the progress Greece has made in meeting its reform targets, which included reforms in the energy sector, investment licensing legislation, and privatisations. Clearance of state arrears to the private sector was highlighted as an area of concern, as was progress on implementing the integrated management system for justice.

The latest debt sustainability analysis by the European Commission found risks substantially unchanged from the previous report. In the baseline scenario, debt is seen as dropping from 203% of GDP in 2021 to 54% in 2060, with financing needs remaining under 15% of GDP in the long run.

New company registrations were up 27.5% in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2020, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). The biggest growth area was primary production, including farming and fishing activities, wholesale and retail, and logistics. A total of 75,453 new businesses were set up, compared to 59,177 last year.

The GEMI company register shows just 6,500 business closures in the first nine months of the year, compared to 15,300 in 2020 and 21,100 in 2019. The lower rate is seen as the result of pandemic support measures, with business associations warning of an acceleration in closures as the safety net is withdrawn.

Private sector bank deposits grew by just €11 million in October according to the Bank of Greece (BoG), marking a significant slowdown from €441 million in September and €1.48 billion in August. The balance now stands at €173.7 billion, having grown by €10.5 billion to date this year.


The average spend by visitors to Greece rose to €746 per trip in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 25.5% over 2020, and 28% more than 2019 which was a record year for tourism. German visitors accounted for €1.8 billion of total revenues according to the Bank of Greece (BoG) figures, followed by the UK with €1.2 billion, and France with €908 million.

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Real Estate

House prices in and around Athens shot up by 10% in Q3, after a 5.6% rise in Q1 and 6.4% in Q2. Prices in Thessaloniki were also up by 8.7%. Market sources expect the trend to continue with the return to the market of foreign buyers through the Golden Visa scheme.

Green Transition

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis unveiled a €7.5 billion “just transition” programme for the Western Macedonia region over the period 2021-2027. The biggest ever regional investment programme of its type, it focusses on job creation through incentives for new industries such as the “White Dragon” hydrogen cluster to accelerate the transition from coal to green energy.


The two bidders for the Heraklion Gournes redevelopment project nicknamed “little Hellinikon” have been invited by privatisation agency HRADF to submit improved bids. The winner of the contest between DIMAND and REDS is due to be announced on December 6.


Eurobank reported profits of €298 million in the first nine months of the year, capital adequacy of 15.7% and NPE ratio after the completion of the Mexico securitisation of 7.3%, beating its performance targets on all three fronts.

Piraeus Bank posted losses of €3.09 billion in the first nine months of the year, stemming from impairments related to its NPE clean-up. The bank’s NPE ratio was brought down to 16% from 45% at the end of 2020.

The first results have been published from the new out-of-court workout algorithm for overindebted borrowers. The algorithm proposed 36 settlements involving haircuts of up to 80% against banks, of which 24 were approved by the creditors. The remainder were rejected because of insufficient information provided by loan guarantors.

Stock Market

The ASE general index plunged -4.45% on Friday as news of the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 prompted a global sell-off in equities. The index closed at 858.93 points. After a week of sideways trading, this brought weekly losses to -6.12%.

Profits by listed companies exceeded €1.80 billion in the first nine months of the year, compared to €145.5 million over the same period in 2020 when many businesses’ activities were hampered by lockdowns. The sharp increase also reflects asset appreciation and inflation.

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