The European Commission has upped its 2021 growth forecast to 8.5% from its previous estimate of 7.1%, citing better-than-expected tourism inflows and improved industrial production impacting exports and investments.
The European Commission expects average inflation for 2022 to reach 3.1%, significantly higher than the 1.1% assumption in the budget, but below the eurozone average of 3.5%.
According to Greek newspaper Naftemporiki, the director of the European Department of the IMF, Alfred Kammer, sees growth at 4.2% of GDP this year, having reiterated the IMF’s view that Greek debt is sustainable in the medium-term.
Scope Ratings has revised its 2021 growth forecast upwards to 9.3%, slowing down to 4.4% in 2022 and 2.5% in 2023. The agency does not see rising bond yields as a major cause for concern for the Greek economy thanks to strong growth drivers.
S&P Global believes Greece continues to have a realistic prospect in securing a rating upgrade by the end of April, despite the challenges of the economic and borrowing environment. This is thanks to the fact that the country maintains long maturities and has a sizable cash buffer.
Finance officials see the prepayment of €7 billion of IMF loans as a way of containing the debt-to-GDP ratio that soared to over 200% of GDP during the pandemic.
The sell-off across eurozone bonds continued as investors reacted to the ECB’s change of stance. During the week, GGBs traded at 2.5%, a level not seen since April 2020, while spreads widened to 232 basis points, from 100 points in the summer.
Despite the transportation and supply chain challenges, Greek exporters managed to export almost €40 billion worth of goods and services in 2021, an annual increase of 29.5%. The simultaneous rise of imports by 31.1%, however, led to the highest trade deficit since 2010.
Industrial production was up 9.9% for Jan-Dec 2021, reaching the highest levels in a decade. According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), the increase was mostly driven by a 16.4% Y-o-Y increase in the electricity supply index, an 8.8% increase in the manufacturing index, and a 4.2% increase in the mining and quarrying index.
All four systemic banks extended an open invitation to companies to start submitting applications for loans via the RRF. Banks estimate that busines plans to the tune of €10 billion are jointly being assessed.
SMEs are planning up to €14 billion of potential investments via the RRF according to a study by the Bank of Greece (BoG). The sum approaches 40% of RRF funds for the private sector, however only one in three are deemed mature.
Greek utility PPC expects to close 2021 with an EBITDA of €800-900 million while it anticipates improved profitability in 2022. The utility predicts wholesale prices will return to 2019 levels by 2023.
The MYTILINEOS Group has reached an agreement with asset manager Aquila Capital for the sale of two PV plants with a total capacity of 100 MW in southern Spain. MYTILINEOS manages a PV portfolio of 4 GW globally.
The EIB has approved the disbursement of €580 million in financing for the new line 4 of the Athens Metro in the form of a 30-year loan. This is the second instalment from the EIB for total financing of €730 million.
Over the next 2-3 years, PPPs worth at least €500 million will be tendered for the construction and/or the refurbishment of courthouses around Greece.
Theracell Laboratories, a consortium between Theracell Advanced Biotechnology and NADAQ-listed Orgenesis Inc., is planning a biotechnology park on a site close to Corinth. The project has been included in the government’s list of strategic projects with the aim of creating a life sciences hub in the west of Greece.
A green bond issued by Safe Bulkers was 1.65x oversubscribed, with total offers reaching €165 million and the yield settling at 2.95%.
IPTO/ADMIE subsidiary Grid Telecom has signed an MoU with Telecom Egypt for a subsea fibre connection between Greece and Egypt. The two companies also discussed AI, innovation, and business development.
Up to 60 digital transition projects worth a total €1.2 billion are to go to tender in the first half of the year, relating to the public sector and SMEs. Around 90% of the €1.9 billion of RRF-backed digital transition projects will also be allocated in 2022.
Activity at Greek airports is expected to approach 90% of 2019 levels over the next 6 weeks according Eurocontrol. At Athens International Airport, activity in January was down 48.4% compared to the last 3 years for international flights.
Greece is expecting record cruise activity in 2022. The Piraeus port has 763 arrivals scheduled compared to 622 in 2019, while two thirds of arrivals will be for homeporting. Regional ports such as Corfu and Heraklion are also expecting an increase in cruise traffic.
Based on the plans they are due to submit to the ECB, Greece’s systemic banks will soon reach the 5% NPE ratio. The total scope of loans under facilitations is €7 billion, with 10%-20% of those at risk of relapsing into NPEs.
JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley say that the rise in yields in GGBs is manageable by banks and the prospect of higher ECB rates is favourable to their results. The estimated impact on CET1 is seen at no more than 40 basis points.
Interbank transactions increased by 13% on an annual basis in 2021, with their value reaching a record €344 billion.
NBG has completed the transfer of €6 billion of NPEs known as Frontier I to servicer doValue. Its next target is to complete the securitisation of the €1-billion Frontier II NPE portfolio.
Piraeus Bank expects to complete its €800-million Sunrise 3 deal in Q2 followed by two synthetic securitisations with the aim of freeing up €200 million in capital, bringing its NPE ratio down to 13%.
Banks once again provided the thrust behind weekly gains of 2.76% which saw the ASE general index closing at 971.09 points on Friday. The banking index gained 7.28%, with large caps also rising by 3.48%.