NBG chairman sees risks to recovery

The chairman of National Bank of Greece warned on Thursday that political, economic and geopolitical risks pose a threat to the country’s recovery.

“Unfortunately we made too much noise and instead of investors focusing on the financial achievements secured with so many sacrifices, they are busy focusing on the political risk,” Giorgos Zannias said while addressing an NBG event on Crete.

“The main thing is that we should not allow conditions of uncertainty to return, after pulverizing the economy in recent years and causing the huge recession that has led to the loss of almost a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product,” stressed Zannias, also a former finance minister.

He went on to add that the credibility of the country is extremely fragile, as reflected by the reaction of the markets in recent days: “I consider deplorable the fact that Portugal, a similar country to ours, which was also in a bailout program and has emerged from it relatively quietly, can borrow at rates of just over 3 percent, while we are around 7.5 percent and two weeks ago we came close to 9 percent.

“It is even more deplorable considering that we already have primary surpluses in our budget, while Portugal is still in the process of trying to achieve them.”

“For Greece to enjoy the treatment countries such as Portugal have, or even better Ireland, which borrows at a rate of 1.8 percent, we need to maintain a steady course and efficiently perform the reforms that will constantly improve the competitiveness of the country’s economy,” the National Bank chairman stated.

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