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Economists expect Greece to attain investment grade soon enough

TAGS: Markets, Finance

Fitch Ratings upgraded Greece's rating on Friday to "BB" from "BB-", and the country's outlook to "positive" from "stable". This means Greece's credit rating is now two notches below investment grade, though that level could also be attained soon enough, economists argue.

"As long as the government continues with this serious policy toward investments and with stability toward the country's targets, Greece's credit profile will keep improving further," Nikolina Kosteletou, an Economics Professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and board member at the Independent Authority for Public Revenue, commented to Xinhua.

Among the other major rating agencies, Standard & Poor's and DBRS Morningstar have Greece three notches below investment grade, while Moody's has placed Greece a further step lower.

"Each rating agency has got its own procedures and standards," noted Georgios Argeitis, Professor of Economics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

"The country has now emerged from a great adventure. The government policy followed these years has been in the right direction. However, the international conjunction creates obstacles, due to the international fatigue in economic expansion and investments; this will have consequences on the attraction of investments to Greece that are necessary for returning the country to investment grade," he argued.

The way toward investment grade is higher economic growth, noted Argeitis, saying that "investors and rating agencies need to see a rapid shift to a high and sustainable growth rate, of 3 percent or more, from the current 2 percent."

The next rating actions for Greece, by both Standard & Poor's and DBRS Morningstar, are scheduled for April 24.

The upgrade by Fitch in the first rating action for Greece this year will also be favoring Athens's plans for a new bond issue in the coming days, according to Argeitis.

Greece emerged from its third and final bailout program in August 2018 and has since seen its benchmark bond yields drop to all-time lows.

[Xinhua]

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