GIG Economic Bulletin – 8 November 2021

A record share capital raise by state-controlled utility PPC brought the company for €1.35 billion to boost its ambitious RES investment programme. The latest growth estimates for 2021 exceed 7%.

Economic BulletinInsights
Speaking at COP26, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pledged to be at the forefront of the green transition, while the GR-eco islands project was launched on the island of Chalki, aiming to turn Greek islands into carbon free communities. The latest economic growth estimates released by the Bank of Greece and the EBRD surpass 7%, and foreign companies accounted for 25% of total investments in Greece in 2019.

Climate Policy

Speaking at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pledged that despite Greece’s small carbon footprint, the country will be at the forefront of the green transition, by going beyond the EU target of a 55% reduction in emissions by 2030. Mitsotakis highlighted marine transport, tourism, and offshore wind power as areas where Greece aspires to lead.

Mitsotakis visited the island of Chalki in the Dodecanese to launch “GR-eco islands,” a €1.5-billion public-private sector scheme to turn Greek islands into zero carbon communities combining RES, electric transport, energy efficiency, and digital infrastructure.

Macro

Bank of Greece Governor Yiannis Stournaras sees the economy growing at a rate of over 7.2% this year and 5% in 2022, to achieve an average 3% annual growth over the next 10 years. He told business paper Naftemporiki that he believes inflation will dissipate in 2022, however over the medium term Greece will need to increase investment intensity, accelerate reforms, regain fiscal discipline, and find a decisive solution on the debt front.

The EBRD has upped its growth estimate for Greece to 7% this year, followed by 3.9% in 2022, which would see Greek GDP regaining 2019 levels in the coming year. The bank sees downside risk in the pandemic which could further impact revenue from the export of services.

The Centre for Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) outlines five reasons for optimism but also four areas of concern for the Greek economy. Higher-than-expected tourism revenues, the reopening of economic activity, the eurozone’s fiscal escape clause, the ECB’s monetary policy, and the prospect of increased investments are seen as positive factors. On the other hand, geopolitical tensions, the inflationary wave, the resurgence of the pandemic, and delays in RRF execution are areas of concern.

Manufacturing PMI rose to 58.9 points in October from 58.4 points in September according to index compiler Markit, the third highest reading in 22 years on record. Sector growth was led by a significant increase in new orders, in line with the orders in September, and one of the strongest in the series. Client demand came both from home and from abroad, as looser travel restrictions led to higher tourism activity.

The trade deficit increased over the first nine months of 2021 by 21.1% Y-o-Y, reaching €16.71 billion. Exports grew by 27.9% to €28.6 billion, however imports increased by 25.3% to €45.3 billion.

GGBs

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras used the occasion of COP26 to officially announce plans for a green government bond in the second half 2022.

Investment houses expect Greece to issue €10-12 billion in bonds during 2022, with the upcoming ECB decision on the successor strategy to PEPP and the recent rise in bond yields not expected to significantly influence the PDMA’s strategy.

Investments

Foreign companies accounted for 25% of investments in Greece in 2019, according to a survey by ELSTAT. While the 3,406 foreign companies only accounted for 0.5% of the total universe of enterprises, their investments totalled €1.67 billion – roughly 25% of the total – while their sales reached €48 billion, or 18% of the total.

R&D

R&D intensity increased by 17.2% in 2020, when the spend rose to €2.5 billion, equalling 1.5% of GDP, compared to 1.28% the previous year. The rise, reported by the National Documentation Centre, is the largest in a decade.

Investments in R&D and technology are enhancing smart and sustainable city strategies. Copyright: jamesteohart / Shutterstock.com

Digital

The national broadband plan 2021-2027 which is currently out for public consultation contains investments totalling €2.5 billion in ultra-fast broadband, micro-satellites, 5G smart highways, an undersea cable network, and fibre-connected buildings.

Privatisations

Offers for PPC’s share capital raise exceeded €3 billion, with the target of €1.35 billion met within the first hour, at the high end of the range at €9 per share. In addition to CVC which committed €350 million for a 10% share, the EBRD and HCAP, offers of between €50-150 million were submitted by Fidelity, Blackrock, Hellinikon, Oak Hill, Schroders, Apollo, Bluecrest, Pictet, and others.

Privatisation agency HRADF has extended the deadline for the second phase of tenders for the ports of Alexandroupolis, Kavala, and Igoumenitsa. Binding offers for Kavala are expected by the end of the year, while the other two tenders will run into early 2022.

Stock Market

The ASE general index edged up 0.97% during the week to close at 906.85 points, with large caps gaining 1.12% and banking stocks up 3.56%.

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