From the country’s first female appointee as President of the Republic, substantial upgrades from credit ratings agencies, to optimistic economic growth forecasts and environmental feats with its record 727.5 MW of new wind energy capacity, Greece has much to boast about as reported by Enterprise Greece:
New Greek President
The Greek parliament elected Katerina Sakerollopoulou as President of the Hellenic Republic, the first woman to serve as head of state, to replace outgoing President Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Previously, Ms. Sakerollopoulou was Chief Justice of Greece’s highest administrative court. In remarks, the President-elect said her priorities will include promoting Greek economic development and reversing the country’s brain drain. She is due to be sworn in on March 13.
Greece witnessed record demand for its first long-term government bond issuance in more than a decade, raising €2.5 billion for a 15-year bond. The offering attracted orders worth €18.8 and offers a yield of 1.875%. Investor interest also extended to other maturities, with a recent rally in the 10-year Greek government bond driving the yield below 1% for the first time.
International credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings upgraded Greece by one notch to BB from BB-, citing the country’s improved economic growth and fiscal policies. The agency also upgraded its outlook for the country to positive from stable. Following the latest upgrade, Greece is now two notches away from regaining its investment grade status.
Greece saw a record 727.5 MW of new wind energy capacity installed in 2019, according to the Hellenic Wind Energy Association, more than triple the amount installed in 2018. Greece has now reached its 2020 binding national target for production of renewable energy, according to data from Eurostat, with 18% of gross energy consumption met by renewable sources. By 2030, the Greek government wants renewable energy to account for 35% of the country’s total energy mix.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis launched the start of construction work for the development of the new Kasteli airport on Crete. Last year, Greece awarded a €520 million contract to an Indian-Greek consortium for the project, which will replace the island’s main airport in Heraklion. The European Investment Bank has signed a 28-year, €180 million loan with Greece to help finance the project.
Swiss-based cruise operator MSC Cruises said it will launch a new East Mediterranean route starting May 2021 with Piraeus serving as home port. The announcement comes after recent data showed a roughly 15% increase in Greek cruise tourism last year, making the sector one of the country’s fastest growing tourism products. Separately, the Piraeus Port Authority has awarded a €136 million contract to Greek construction company TEKAL to proceed with the expansion of the cruise terminal facilities at the port.
Canada-based 24-7 Intouch has announced plans to open a customer call center in Athens, its first location in Europe. The centre is expected to create 600 jobs and reflects Greece’s growing importance as a hub for business process outsourcing.
The European Commission raised its forecasts for Greek GDP growth this year to 2.4% -- twice the Eurozone average – from 2.3% previously, thanks to the country’s improved economic performance in 2019. In its latest economic projections, the Commission also raised its estimate for Greek growth last year to 2.2% from 1.8% previously