Greece

Greece's economy should grow by 1.8% next year, at a slower pace than initially expected, as soaring energy costs and higher inflation are seen hurting tourism and curbing domestic demand, the government's 2023 final budget projected on Monday, Reuters reported. Next year's growth estimate was downwardly revised from the draft budget submitted to parliament in October. Authorities expect economic output to increase by 5.6% in 2022, better than forecast in the draft budget due to stronger tourism revenues.
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Workers walked off the job in Greece and Belgium on Wednesday during nationwide strikes against increasing consumer prices, disrupting transportation, forcing flight cancellations and shutting down public services in the latest European protests over the rising cost of living, the Associated Press reported. In Greece, where workers were holding a 24-hour general strike, thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki.

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While Greece's economy is growing at nearly twice the euro zone rate this year thanks to a robust rebound in tourism, young people are increasingly being priced out of the property market due to the energy crisis and inflation, soaring rents and a scarce supply of small flats, Reuters reported. Rising rents and unaffordability of housing is a problem across many industrialised economies, but in Greece it is particularly acute as living standards and household wealth have already been crippled by the debt crisis that began in 2009 and the years of austerity that followed.
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Greece's exit on Saturday from the European Union's so-called enhanced surveillance framework for its economy ends 12 years of pain and allows the country greater freedom in policy making, its prime minister said, Reuters reported. Greece's economic performance and policies have been closely monitored under the framework since 2018 to ensure it implemented reforms promised under three international bailouts - totalling more than 260 billion euros ($261 billion) - from the European Union and the IMF between 2010 and 2015.
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Greek public debt has significantly increased since last year reaching 193 percent of the country's GDP, the Express reported. Inflation for June was 11.6 percent, up from 10.5 percent in May last year. According to data from the Greek Statistical Service (ELSTAT), public debt increased by €13.417 billion (£11.4 bn) between Q1 2021 and Q2 2022. Public debt is now expected to exceed €357 billion (£303 bn). The worrying figure has alerted experts, who have warned that another collapse of the Greek economy could bring the whole eurozone down.
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Greece raised 1.5 billion euros in a 7-year bond re-issue Wednesday, tapping markets days after a sovereign credit rating upgrade, the Associated Press reported. Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the money was raised with a yield of 2.4% ‒ up from the 2% yield in 2020 when the bond was first issued. The latest auction took place amid “uncertainty and a deterioration of conditions in the global bond market,” the minister said.
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Greece will raise the minimum wage from May 1 for a second time this year, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday as rising inflation takes a toll on household incomes, Reuters reported. "The global surge in inflation is hitting low incomes. From May 1 the basic wage will rise by 50 euros a month to 713 euros a month," Mitsotakis said in a televised address. The conservative government raised the monthly gross minimum wage by about 2% to 663 euros in January, meaning that with the new increase the minimum wage will go up by 9.7%.
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Public transport largely ground to a halt in the Greek capital on Wednesday and state-run services remained shuttered as workers walked off the job in a 24-hour general strike to protest rising prices, the Associated Press reported. The strike left ferries to and from Greek islands tied up in port, and left Athens without a subway, tram, trolley or suburban railway, while buses were to run for 12 hours from 9 a.m.
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Greece plans to repay more than 7 billion euros in loans from the International Monetary Fund and eurozone partners in the next two months, paying down the rest of the IMF funds it borrowed to prevent bankruptcy during the financial crisis, two officials said, Bloomberg News reported. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Thursday the Treasury would repay 1.8 billion euros ($2.03 billion) in IMF loans ahead of schedule, the last batch of a total 28 billion euros the lender provided in two bailouts between 2010 and 2014.
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Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the Greek economy could grow more than projected next year, saying he was "very bullish" about prospects for the economy and a successful tourism season unless there are further big complications from COVID-19, Reuters reported. Greece's economy attracts particular scrutiny after a decade of financial turmoil which saw the nation of 11 million people almost topple out of the euro zone as recently as 2015.
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