ECONOMY

Leading bankers speak of major shift in climate at IMF meeting

Top Greek bankers who attended the International Monetary Fund’s recent annual meeting in Washington are reporting an impressive change in the mood regarding Greece, in the latter’s favor, following three years during which the country’s prestige took a beating on a global level, when Greece was seen as a pariah and the main talking point was the possibility of a Greek default.

This time, however, the atmosphere as far as Greece was concerned was radically different. There was a universal acknowledgement of the progress recorded, especially on the fiscal front, while a Greek default is now off the agenda and a great number of investors are seeking opportunities to position themselves in the local market in anticipation of the country’s recovery. Country risk has been seriously reduced and foreigners do not seem to be too worried about the possibility of political instability.

Speaking to Kathimerini, Bank of Greece Governor Giorgos Provopoulos, National Bank of Greece Chief Executive Alexandros Tourkolias and Piraeus Bank CEO Anthimos Thomopoulos stressed the major shift in the mood regarding Greece and the positive expectations for the country.

Provopoulos said that “everyone recognizes the major progress implemented. Greece is steadily recovering its lost credibility.” From his contacts with the IMF board, managers of major foreign banks and members of the international investment community, the central banker confirmed the accelerating improvement in the climate in Greece’s favor as the view that Greece is on the recovery path is gaining ground.

Likewise, Tourkolias stated that “there has been a particularly positive response from foreigners and strong investment interest. After a long time, Greece is regaining trust and ever more people are discerning the momentum and the potential of the domestic economy.” National officials also report strong interest from foreigners in Greece’s privatizations program.

“The spectacular improvement in the atmosphere creates a unique opportunity for the country to stage a big push forward,” said Thomopoulos, adding, “It is absolutely essential that we manage to turn this major interest abroad into investments whose implementation is of decisive importance for the country’s recovery.”