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Economy

Moody’s Puts Greece Just One Notch Below Investment Grade Status

March 20, 2024

ATHENS – After other top financial ratings agencies granted Greece Investment Grade status, marking a remarkable turnaround from the 2010-2018 financial crisis and three international bailouts, Moody’s maintained the country’s credit rating at Ba1, with a stable outlook.

The rescue packages totaling €326 billion didn’t slow Greece’s debt but lowered its percentage of the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has attracted more foreign investors.

Greece’s economy grew by 5.9% in 2023, driven by record tourism that saw some 31 million foreign visitors spending more than €20 billion, with another big year anticipated in 2024.

This rebound convinced most ratings agencies of Greece’s recovery, with its economy now even outperforming Germany, the European Union’s largest. Although growth is expected to slow in 2024, it is also expected to continue.

In September 2023, Moody’s raised Greece’s rating two notches, from Ba3 to Ba1, placing it just one level below investment grade, indicating growing investor confidence in the country.

Moody’s is considered the strictest of the credit rating agencies the European Central Bank consults regarding the solvency of European member states, alongside Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings, DBRS Morningstar, and Scope Ratings, all of which have placed Greece at investment level since 2023.

When the financial crisis began in 2010, Moody’s was also the first agency to rate Greek sovereign bonds as “junk,” followed by the other agencies. The bailouts came with harsh austerity measures that cut the GDP by 25%.

The next rating decision by Moody’s is expected in September. Standard & Poor’s will be the next major agency to issue its verdict on Greece, on April 19.

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