Greek Economy to Grow Over 2 Percent in 2017, Papadimitriou Says

  • Economy minister sees boost from investments, privatization
  • Greece to be ‘normal’ country when included in ECB QE program

Greece is confident that the country’s economic output will exceed 2 percent in 2017 boosted by investments, privatizations and exports, Economy and Development Minister Dimitri Papadimitriou said.

This year will be “the year of real growth in Greece,” Papadimitriou said in a May 10 interview in Nicosia, Cyprus, at the annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

With the exception of 2014, Greece’s economy shrank every year since 2008. The International Monetary Fund in April cut its forecast for 2017 Greek economic growth to 2.2 percent from 2.8 percent. The European Commission revised earlier today its estimate for the Greek growth rate to 2.1 percent from 2.7 percent.

Papadimitriou cited committed investments for 2017 of 300 million euros ($326.5 million) by Philip Morris International Inc and 500 million euros by Hellenic Telecommunication Organization SA as well as applications to make investments worth 1.9 billion euros following the introduction of new legislation that provides incentives to investors. He also highlighted higher industrial production, increased exports and a rise in employment.

Greece will also complete in 2017 an “ambitious” privatization program worth over 2 billion euros that mainly comprises regional airports, the country’s second-largest port of Thessaloniki, the national railroad operator Trainose and units of state-controlled Public Power Corp. SA, the largest electricity supplier, Papadimitriou said.

With almost one-quarter of Greeks without work in the fourth quarter of 2016, or 23.6 percent, the highest in the European Union, Greece is targeting a fall in the unemployment rate by 2020/21 to the euro-area average of 12 percent through targeted programs for job creation, Papadimitriou said.

The final conclusion of the review of Greece’s bailout program with the country’s international creditors will see the nation’s sovereign bonds included in the European Central Bank’s asset purchase program that will mean Greece will be like “a normal country and every other member of the euro zone,” Papadimitriou said.

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