GIG Economic Bulletin – January 24, 2022

The first 10-year sovereign bond issue of 2022 was five times oversubscribed despite a marked change in the borrowing environment. Manufacturing continued its meteoric rise, leading to a 42% increase in industrial turnover since last February.

Economic BulletinInsights
The Greek sovereign successfully raised €3 billion with its first 10-year bond issue of 2022, notwithstanding a considerable change in the borrowing landscape with respect to 2021. Piraeus Bank will acquire Varde Partners’ 52.1% participation in Trastor for €98 million – the first of many deals expected in the sector – while the funding of Greek start-ups increased more than 200% in 2021 according to Marathon VC.

Macro

Industrial turnover soared by 39.4% Y-o-Y in November, after a 40.6% increase in October, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). Growth was led by a 39.9% increase in manufacturing revenue. The index has been on a steady path of recovery, notching up 42% growth since February 2021.

The current account deficit widened to €2.52 billion in November compared to €1.24 billion the same month last year according to the Bank of Greece (BoG). The effect is largely due to a deterioration of the goods balance because of the high cost of fuel imports, overpowering solid exports performance. The deficit is the highest since January 2011.

Travel receipts for the period January-November 2021 totalled €10.48 billion according to the BoG, hitting 58.6% of 2019 levels, while visitor arrivals stood at roughly 46.7%. For the month of November receipts were at 91% of the 2019 intakes with 60% of arrivals.

The unemployment rate remained broadly stable at 13.3% in November from 13.4% in October according to ELSTAT. The number of employed people increased by close to 209,000 Y-o-Y, bringing the total to 4.09 million.

The employment balance was marginally negative in December closing at 2,598 more departures than hires, while Q4 showed a negative balance of 151,775. Overall, 2021 closed with a positive balance of 133,082 jobs.

Sales for January-September 2021 were down by -19% compared to the pre-pandemic levels recorded in the same period of 2019, according to ELSTAT. The biggest drop was in film production with -73%, followed by administrative support with -46% and accommodation with -31.3%.

Fiscal

The Finance Ministry estimates that the primary deficit for 2021 will be lower than the -7.3% of GDP that was included in the 2022 budget by as much as €2 billion. Revenues last year overshot the target by €743 million, while spending was contained by €1 billion.

GGBs

Greece’s first bond issue of the year attracted €15 billion in offers to raise €3 billion for a benchmark 10-year issue at a yield of 1.83%, suggesting demand remains at high levels despite a pronounced shift in the borrowing landscape. The 10-year bond issued at the start of last year attracted record offers of €29 billion at yield of 0.807%.

Energy

Greece’s natural gas import and storage capacity could soon be boosted with the addition of two more LNG terminals in addition to the existing facility at Revithoussa. The Alexandroupolis FSRU, with storage capacity of 170,000 cubic metres is in the final stretch to securing investment totalling €363.7 million including €166.7 of EU funding, while Motor Oil is planning a terminal at its Corinth site with a capacity of 210,000 cubic metres, which could be operational as early as Q4 2023.

Revithoussa. Copyright: Aerial-motion / Shutterstock.com

Infrastructure

Three consortia are in the running for six railway projects totalling €4 billion after the opening of the respective tenders with expressions of interest. They include GEK Terna-Intrakat, Avax-Alstom and Aktor-Mytilineos. The projects will be co-funded by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

Real Estate

Piraeus Bank has agreed to buy Varde Partners’ 52.1% stake in listed real estate investment firm Trastor for €98 million. Trastor’s commercial property portfolio is valued at €315 million. The deal is believed to be the first in a series of major transactions involving Greek property funds slated for the coming months.

Digital

Greek-founded start-ups attracted $4.5 billion in investment in 2021, up 239% on the previous year according to a report by Marathon VC. Transaction volumes were up too, with 28 acquisitions and public listings, representing an increase of 93%.

Stock Market

The ASE general index recorded a weekly loss of -0.73% to close at 942.46 points. The banking index closed the week up by 1.64%, however Friday’s trading session saw a wave of liquidations across the board on concerns over tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border.

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