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THESSALONIKI: A woman stops to buy vegetables at a stall as people shop in the local market in the northern city Thessaloniki.- AFP
THESSALONIKI: A woman stops to buy vegetables at a stall as people shop in the local market in the northern city Thessaloniki.- AFP

S&P lifts Greece outlook on debt reduction

WASHINGTON: S&P Global Ratings revised its Greece outlook from stable to positive, months after returning the country’s credit rating to investment grade. “The positive outlook reflects our expectation that the tight fiscal regime will continue to spur a reduction in the government debt ratio,” said S&P in a statement. The credit ratings agency added that growth should also “continue to outperform that of Greece’s euro-zone peers.”

S&P signaled that it could raise Greece’s ratings within the next two years if its net government debt-to-GDP ratio drops further. For now, it affirmed Greece’s BBB-/A-3 credit rating. Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said the revision is further proof that Greece’s efforts are paying off, giving it further incentive to push on with necessary reforms. In October, S&P returned Greece’s credit rating to investment grade for the first time since 2010, citing significant progress in tackling economic challenges.

It was the first of the three major US ratings agencies to lift Greece’s credit rating from speculative to investment grade. “Despite some recent softening in economic data, economic growth has outperformed the euro-zone average, a trend we expect will continue,” S&P said on Friday. In 2023, economic growth was up two percent and the agency projects real GDP will rise on average by 2.4 percent over the 2024-2027 period. This reflects a “tangible pickup in investment activity” and other factors like improved household and banking system balance sheets. — AFP

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