Economy and Development ministry: Business activity steadily expanding in Greece

Business activity is steadily expanding in the last two years –in contrast with what it is often said over a declining trend- with even the problematic sectors of the economy contributing in the recovery, the Economy and Development ministry said in a report released on Tuesday.

In an economic developments bulletin for the last two months of 2017, the ministry said that “2017 was a landmark year for the Greek economy, as it was pulled out from a several-year economic crisis and recession, returning to the path of recovery,” adding that 2018 was also a key year for the economy as it was moving towards exiting the memorandums and the austere supervision and entering a road of sustainable, balanced and fair growth.

The ministry said 2017 was the first year of economic recovery based on healthy forces (exports, investments, reforms and adherence to the programme), “capable for offering continuity and sustainability to growth”. It noted that private investments reached their highest level in the last six years, totaling 9.9 billion euros, up 26 pct from the low levels of 2013. Greek economic competitiveness grew by 3.7 pct in 2017 compared with 2014 (Bank of Greece figures) and by 6.1 pct (OECD figures), while exports of goods and services in 2017 exceeded 58 billion euros, a record for the economy. The report noted that problematic sectors are contributing in economic recovery. The volume of private building activity grew in the first 10 months of 2017, up 23.3 pct from the previous year (for the first time since 2008) while the volume of retain commerce rose 1.6 pct in the same period. Foreign direct investments in the 11-month period totaled 3.3 billion euros and were expected to reach 4.0 billion in the year, a record since 2006, or 2.0 pct of GDP, a 15-year record.

At the end of January, the yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell to 297 basis points (to pre-crisis levels), with Greek state bonds recording the highest performance in the world, returning 60 pct in 2017 (Bloomberg figures).