ATHENS – Despite the highest inflation in 30 years and many households turning to cheaper foods, Greece’s economy is set to grow 6 percent and is doing so well it’s been touted as one of the seven countries beating back recession.
Writing for The Financial Times, Ruchir Sharma, Chair of Rockefeller International said that Greece, along with Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Japan are economic stand-outs.
“They share some combination of relatively strong growth, moderate inflation or strong stock market returns – compared with other countries,” he wrote as they are outperforming the world’s biggest economies.
He added: “Some of the ‘Pigs”- the countries at the core of the Eurozone debt crisis a decade ago — are now in revival mode. Greece and Portugal have cut their government deficits by more than half, and are less exposed than most of Europe to gas supply shocks emanating from Russia.”
He noted that Greece is riding the back of what’s expected to be a record-breaking year for tourism during the waning COVID-19 pandemic that could bring in more than 20 billion euros ($19.39 billion) in 2022.
Greece is also benefiting from growing interest by foreign investors, especially luxury resort operators and the world’s rich who see the country as a summer playground and businesses buying up inner-city properties.
Greek banks have seen a sharp drop in bad loans that hit a 50 percent level during the 2010-18 years of bailouts and austerity, now less than 10 percent and many sold off to vulture collectors hounding people for repayment.
Greece’s economic comeback, which had been slow and was accelerating before the pandemic hit, is stepping up again after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis essentially ended COVID health measures to lure tourists.
“It is wisely investing support funds from the EU and reforming one of the continent’s most excessively generous pension systems, while a special “golden visa” attracts a tide of rich new émigrés,” Sharma wrote.