Greek unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in November 2021, new bond issue raises €11 billion

A waiter collects chairs from the beach at an empty seaside restaurant in Thessaloniki, Greece. Greek unemployment

The Greek unemployment rate fell to 13.3% of the workforce in November 2021 from 16.1% in November 2020 and 13.4% in October 2021, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Wednesday.

More specifically, the number of unemployed people totaled 624,858, down 121,560 or 16.3% compared with the same month in 2020, but up 3,551 or 0.6% compared to October 2021.

The unemployment rate among women was 17.2% (down from 20% in 2020), while among men it was 10% (from 13.1%).

The unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group was 34.3% in November (37.6% in November 2020), while in the 25-74 age group it fell to 12.2% from 15.1%.

The number of employed people totaled 4,087,369, up 5.4% from November 2020 and 1.4% from October 2021.

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Meanwhile, offers in a book-building process launched by Greek authorities to issue a 10-year bond loan exceeded 11 billion euros within the first few hours of the process, with the interest rate of the issue falling from 1.89% to 1.83%, sources said.

Greece’s Public Debt Management Authority plans to issue new bonds worth at least 12 billion euros this year, down from 14 billion in 2021, in a move aimed to highlight that Greece is able to borrow at competitive terms.

Economists expect that Greece will seek to raise as much capital as possible in the first quarter of the year before the termination of the PEPP programme by the European Central Bank.

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The state budget which the parliament ratified on Dec 18 foresees a minimum 4.5% growth rate next year after the 6.9% achieved this year, according to the government’s conservative estimates to date.

According to Greek bankers and prominent economists, the growth rate in 2021 will eventually stand at 8.5%, far higher than the 4.5% forecast a year ago.

After recording a 9% economic plunge in 2020, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority, the recovery was viewed as an encouraging sign by analysts.

The rebound is impressive, Panagiotis Liargovas, chairman of the board of directors and scientific director of the Centre of Planning and Economic Research, a leading research institute in Greece, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Noting that exports and investment grew by 40% and 18.2% respectively in a year, Liargovas said: “This is very promising, because it gives the signal that the growth model of Greece has started to change and be based on external factors like exports and investment rather than consumption. And I think it gives good prospects for 2022 and 2023.”

“It was a really nice surprise for Greece. For the first time, Greece presents the highest rate of growth in the eurozone,” added Panagiotis Petrakis, a professor in the Department of Economics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

A cocktail of good performance in tourism industry, positive economic policy and the restart of the housing sector contributed to the positive outcome, Petrakis said.

Greece is experiencing a V-shaped recovery, according to the two professors.

Most of the financing coming from the projects of the NextGenerationEU, the European Union’s recovery plan, will arrive in Greece the next year, Liargovas noted.

“Those funds will help us a lot in the digital and green transformation,” Petrakis added.

Inflation and the pandemic will pose risks, noted the two experts.

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