Greece’s economic performance for 2023 has been ranked in the top spot in the list of 35 countries around the globe by the Economist magazine.
According to the Economist’s analysis based on five economic and financial indicators (inflation, “inflation breadth”, GDP, jobs and stock market performance), Greece has the best economic marks among 35 mainly rich countries this year.
Greece is above South Korea and the United States in the relevant table.
“Top of the charts, for the second year running, is Greece—a remarkable result for an economy that was until recently a byword for mismanagement,” wrote the Economist.
The magazine says that Greece scores some surprising results in terms of the five indicators, based on which the overall score for each country is derived. But what stands out is the increase in the market value of the Greek market by 43.8 percent.
“But for glorious equity returns, look thousands of miles west—to Greece. There the real value of the stock market has increased by over 40 percent. Investors have looked afresh at Greek companies as the government implements a series of pro-market reforms,” wrote the outlet.
Greece’s budget aims at robust economic performance for 2024
Greece approved its 2024 budget on Sunday, forecasting a rise in economic growth to 2.9% from 2.4% this year as a result of robust tourist revenues and EU funds helping investment.
The budget was approved with 158 votes in favor, which is the majority of the conservative government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in the 300-seat house.
Athens will target a primary budget surplus – which excludes debt-servicing costs – of 2.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) next year, up from a surplus of 1.1 percent this year.
About 1.4 billion euros in spending is earmarked to boost income, including pay rises for civil servants for the first time since 2010.
Economy boosted by gaining investment-grade status
Greece regained its investment-grade status in 2023 after 13 years.
Earlier in December Fitch Ratings upgraded Greece’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BB+’.
Characterized by Greek finance experts as the strictest and most robust rating agency, Fitch rewards the Greek economy’s effort by giving the country a vote of confidence.
Fitch is the fourth rating house to upgrade the investment in Greek bonds after Scope Ratings in August, DBRS in September, and S&P in October.
Fitch is also the second of the big three US rating agencies after S&P to give Greece a higher investment grade. This will allow more institutional investors to buy Greek bonds, thus increasing capital inflows and further helping to contain borrowing costs for the Greek government and businesses.
The main drivers for the upgrade, according to Fitch’s announcement, are the favorable dynamics of the Greek debt, the commitment to fiscal adjustment, resilient growth, policy continuity, and the improvement of the banking system.