ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ strategy of attracting foreign investors to accelerate Greece’s economy is working, along with an emphasis on driving up exports of the country’s top products, said a report by the British bank HSBC.
Tourism is the country’s biggest revenue producer and is on track for a record year that could bring in 20 billion euros ($21.76 billion) to also spur a recovery with the COVID-19 pandemic all but forgotten.
Greece’s economy was saved by three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($354.77 billion) that came with harsh austerity measures, the last package running out in August, 2018.
Greece has repaid some of the loans early, the report noting the damage done during those years when the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrank 25 percent, but with near 6 percent growth in 2022 and lesser seen in 2023.
The crisis took a toll on workers, pensioners and the poor with big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings and saw an exodus of scores of thousands of the country’s best and brightest and youngest to other countries.
But now exports are growing again, the report said, noting that while the balance of payments remains negative with more imports, the gap is closing and becoming more favorable to Greek producers.
Investment gains and direct foreign investment are at historical highs and faster growth will allow the debt to shrink faster and a deal with the European creditors has led to interest rates falling and investment grade status just about reached.