ECONOMY

S&P: More fiscal measures likely needed

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s described measures announced by the Greek government earlier this week as «being in the right direction» if fully implemented, adding that further steps will probably be needed to improve the country’s long-term finances. Marko Mrsnik, associate director at Standard & Poor’s Sovereign Ratings, told Kathimerini English Edition yesterday that announcements such as the extension of the retirement age are not expected to have an immediate impact on the country’s budgetary position. «Moreover, they will likely need to be supplemented with additional measures improving the prospects for the long-term sustainability of public finances,» Mrsnik explained. In mid-December, Standard & Poor’s lowered its rating on Greece by one level to BBB+, from A-, and put the country on «creditWatch negative,» signaling the company may reduce it again. Turning to worker strike action taking place in Greece, Mrsnik said that rising political and social pressures were expected and that if they hamper progress toward containing Greece’s debt burden, the agency may lower the country’s ratings further. «On the other hand, if Greece successfully implements a plan that includes deficit-reducing measures or other economic reforms that could lead to a sustained improvement in the debt trajectory, the ratings could be affirmed,» Mrsnik added.