ECONOMY

Deutsche Bank talking up Greece as it eyes market penetration

Positive comments on the subject of Greece by senior Deutsche Bank officials in the last few weeks and reports of it providing favorable feedback to the German government regarding Athens’s streamlining efforts are strengthening rumors about the leading German lender’s interest in targeted investment in this country.

In fact, what Deutsche Bank is doing is lobbying in favor of Greece as it may be seeking out opportunities here. After all it was the same lender that in the past had acquired a 10 percent stake in Eurobank, while the Balkans has always been among its priorities as far as its expansion beyond German borders is concerned.

In this context, a well-informed source suggests that Deutsche “has been playing a key role in the formation of Berlin’s policy consensus through lobbying in favor of Athens,” which is also attributed to “its interest in the stability of the periphery of the eurozone and its possible entry into the Greek market within the next couple of years.”

An unconfirmed report also suggested that the German banking giant has already positioned itself through its investment funds, picking up attractively devalued Greek assets such as bonds and illustrating its optimism in the future of the local economy.

The targeted statements by top Deutsche officials in the last week or so are indicative of the bank’s intentions: Co-CEO Anshu Jain told a business forum in Dubai that there is no possibility anymore of a member state’s exit from the single-currency union, stressing that “the eurozone will remain intact” and that “fluctuation in the market that is related to the risk of a country’s default or exit from the eurozone has been reduced.” He went on to speak openly about investment opportunities emerging in Europe at a time when several European Union states are trying to restart their economies.

At the same time Mark Wall, a senior Deutsche Bank analyst, stated that “Europe does not want the Greek program to fail in any way. There is a strong political will for the integrity of the eurozone and its members to be preserved.” He also qualified as “good news” the attitude of the International Monetary Fund, suggesting that it will, sooner or later, force the country’s debt to come to sustainable levels.

Another of the company’s economists, Nicolaus Heinen, stressed in a report that the prospects of the Greek economy have clearly improved.

On the prospects of the reduction of the Greek state debt, he stated that there is no such intention at the moment, but added that “at Deutsche Bank, we insist on the estimate that Greece may not avoid a new haircut in the end.”