Global turbulence hurts ATHEX

Global turbulence hurts ATHEX

The deterioration of the international climate, with the political crisis in Italy, the escalation of the US-China trade war, the threat of recession in Germany, the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit and the threat of default in Argentina, inevitably casts a shadow on the Greek economy.

The Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX) reflected this reality Tuesday, with the composite index falling 1.52 percent. It has also dropped a cumulative 10 percent since the start of the month. Furthermore, some are questioning the economy’s ability to grow at a faster pace.

Analysts note, however, that the investment climate is positive and say that positive news about the economy is expected soon: the lifting of the remaining capital controls and the earlier-than-scheduled repayment of the International Monetary Fund’s high-interest loans. A lot will depend on the Mitsotakis government’s ability to implement its reformist program.

In an article published Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal mentioned the Greek stock market’s very good recent performance and underlined “investors’ optimism that a new government will be able to pare back austerity measures and revive the debt-laden economy.”

It noted that the ATHEX index has risen 35 percent in 2019, initially on the expectation of Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ election victory. “Greek Stocks Poised for Best Performance in 20 Years,” was its title.

The newspaper mentioned that investors now expect Mitsotakis to keep his pre-election promises of more robust growth through tax cuts and limiting the bureaucracy that stands in the way of investment projects.

According to Giuseppe di Mino, a managing director at the London-based investment management firm Amber Capital, there is an “inflection point” in investors’ stance toward Greece. He said investors are waiting to see what the government will actually do, as opposed to what it says it will do.

Amber Capital, which manages $1.5 billion worth of funds, has a less than 2 percent stake in betting company OPAP and is considering raising that stake if the government lives up to its commitments, di Mino said.

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