Surprising performance of the Greek economy

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ATHENS: Despite a raging Covid-19 pandemic, fueled in part by the Omicron variant, the performance of the Greek economy this year has come as a surprise to policymakers and analysts, showing signs of a continued recovery .

The state budget that parliament ratified on December 18 projects a minimum growth rate of 4.5% next year after the 6.9% reached this year, according to conservative government estimates to date.

According to Greek bankers and prominent economists, the growth rate in 2021 will ultimately reach 8.5%, well above the 4.5% forecast a year ago.

After recording an economic drop of 9% in 2020, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority, the recovery was seen as an encouraging sign by analysts.

The rebound is impressive, Panagiotis Liargovas, chairman of the board and scientific director of the Center for Planning and Economic Research, a leading research institute in Greece, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Noting that exports and investments increased by 40% and 18.2% respectively in one year, Liargovas said: “This is very promising, as it gives the signal that Greece’s growth pattern has started to grow. change and is based on external factors like exports and investment rather than consumption. And I think that gives good prospects for 2022 and 2023. “

“It was a very nice surprise for Greece. For the first time, Greece has the highest growth rate in the euro zone, ”added Panagiotis Petrakis, professor in the economics department of the National and Capodistrian University of Athens.

A cocktail of good performance in the tourism industry, a positive economic policy and the restart of the housing sector contributed to the positive result, said Petrakis.

Greece is experiencing a V-shaped recovery, according to the two professors.

Most of the funding from the projects of NextGenerationEU, the European Union’s stimulus package, will arrive in Greece next year, Liargovas noted.

“These funds will help us a lot in the digital and green transformation,” added Petrakis.

Inflation and the pandemic will pose risks, the two experts noted.

Global inflation is being driven by rising energy prices, but it is relatively low in Greece compared to the rest of the eurozone countries and is expected to last until next summer, Liargovas said.

Much will depend on the impact of the new variants and the implementation of the right mix of economic policies in Athens and Brussels to get back to normal, Petrakis explained.

Win-win cooperation across borders is the key to progress, they said, noting the collaboration between Greece and China in recent years and the prospects for the future.

“I think there is a good basis so far in previous years for cooperation between the two countries. We have the port of Piraeus, the investment of Cosco Shipping.

“We have cooperation in the educational and technological sectors,” Liargovas told Xinhua.

“We can go further, and we also have opportunities to expand this cooperation, because the two countries have a lot of problems in common,” he said. – Xinhua

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