Fitch affirms Greece's rating as BB with stable outlook, revises growth forecast to 4.3%

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Fitch agency affirmed Greece's rating as 'BB' with a stable outlook late on Friday (Athens time).

In a report from Frankfurt, the ratings agency said, "Greece's ratings reflect weak medium-term growth potential, still very high levels of non-performing loans (NPL) in the banking sector and very large stocks of general government and net external debt. These weaknesses are balanced by high income per capita levels that far exceed both the 'BB' and 'BBB' medians, and governance scores above most sub-investment grade peers'."

Its 'stable outlook', it said, "reflects our view of the sustainability of Greece's public finances, even after the severe shock to the economy and public finances from the pandemic, and despite material risks to the economic outlook."

Fitch also said it had revised its forecast for real GDP growth this year to 4.3% from 3%, based on the first quarter of 2021 results and a less negative carry-over effect from 2020.

"We expect the economy to recover further in 2022 and expand 5.3%, with the deployment of the Next Generation EU (NGEU) funds gathering pace and providing an uplift to real spending over the course of the whole year. The 2022 GDP growth forecast is a substantial downward revision from our previous review due to a smoother assumed path for using NGEU funds and a lower carryover effect from 2021. For 2023 we expect above-trend GDP growth of 3.5%," it said.