International rating agency Standard & Poor’s unexpectedly upgraded Greece’s sovereign credit rating by one notch on Friday, to ‘BB’ from ‘BB-‘, and maintained a “positive” outlook, with Athens greeting the news with satisfaction.
In its scheduled review of the Greek economy the US firm projected an economic rebound of 4.9% for this year, above the latest Bank of Greece forecast for a 4.2% growth. The recovery will accelerate to 5.8% in 2022, the agency said on Friday.
The fact S&P has also adjusted Greece’s outlook to “positive” from stable means that a further upgrade may well be due in the next 12 to 18 months, taking Greece to the verge of investment grade after more than a decade.
Greece now lies two notches below investment grade, as it continues a long climb back to recovery.It fell into junk status in 2010 as the country sought its first of three successive international bailouts from other eurozone members and the International Monetary Fund.
Finance Minister Christos Staikouras commented on the development that “this is the second time an international rating agency has upgraded the country’s rating amid the health crisis and the conditions of high uncertainty that has created on global level.”
“Without a doubt this is an exceptionally important and positive development for the Greek economy, attributed to the planning and implementation of correct policies in the economic field and generally to the efficiency of government policy, as well as a series of reform initiatives,” said Staikouras.