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George Georgiopoulos

Greece aims for 30 bln euro sour loan clean up via Hercules scheme

18 Sep 2019

ATHENS, Sept 18 Greece expects a green light from European Union authorities shortly to put in place an asset protection scheme that will help its banks offload up to 30 billion euros of sour loans, bankers close to the process told Reuters on Wednesday.

Greece's NBG to sell four soured loan portfolios by year-end -bankers

18 Sep 2019

ATHENS, Sept 18 National Bank (NBG) plans to sell four portfolios of non-performing loans this year, bankers close to the process said, as Greece's recovering economy allows its major banks to focus on balance sheet repair after a 10-year debt crisis.

UPDATE 1-Greek PM outlines tax cuts in 2020, promises reforms

08 Sep 2019

* Athens wants lenders to reduce primary surplus target in 2021 (Adds quotes)

Greek economic growth gains pace, boosted by net exports

04 Sep 2019

ATHENS Greece's economy remained on the path of recovery in April-to-June, with its pace of expansion picking up from the first quarter thanks to a boost from net exports and government spending.

UPDATE 1-Greek economic growth gains pace, boosted by net exports

04 Sep 2019

* GDP expands 0.8% in second quarter * Annual growth pace quickens to 1.9% * Net exports, government spending main drivers (Adds economist comment, details) By George Georgiopoulos ATHENS, Sept 4 Greece's economy remained on the path of recovery in April-to-June, with its pace of expansion picking up from the first quarter thanks to a boost from net exports and government spending. Gross domestic product expanded by 0.8% in the second quarter compared with a 0.2% growth rate in the first three months of the year, according to seasonally adjusted data released on Wednesday by the statistics service ELSTAT. On an annual basis, economic growth accelerated to 1.9% from a downwardly revised 1.1% clip in the previous quarter. "Second quarter GDP growth was broadly in line with market consensus and in line with projections for a growth rate of 2.0% or slightly higher for the year as a whole," said National bank economist Nikos Magginas. Data showed that exports of goods and services, up 3.3% compared to the first quarter, outpaced imports which fell 0.8%, producing a positive contribution to domestic economic output. While government spending also boosted GDP in the second quarter, household spending shrank 0.7% on an annual basis and by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter. Weaker consumer spending was likely due to households putting off planned expenditures until after the national election that took place in July. "We will likely see a sharp rebound in consumer spending in the third quarter, given that consumer confidence hit a 19-year high in August," Magginas said. Greece's 180 billion euro economy grew 1.9% last year, driven mainly by net exports, with private consumption also providing a boost. Greece emerged from a decade of bailouts in August last year and is now relying on financial markets to cover borrowing needs. The government fully lifted remaining capital controls earlier this month. Its economy remains way below the size it reached before the crisis, when national economic output was around 242 billion euros. The newly elected conservative government is keen on accelerating the country's economic recovery through promised tax relief and investment friendly policies. In its spring forecasts, the EU Commission projected the economy would remain resilient and expand by an annual 2.2% this year. The country's central bank sees growth remaining at last year's pace, around 1.9%. KEY FIGURES Q2 2019 Q1 2019 Q4 2018 Q3 2018 Q2 2018 GDP (q/q, pct) 0.8 0.2 -0.1 1.0* 0.0* GDP (y/y, pct) 1.9 1.1* 1.5 2.0* 1.5* * revised source: ELSTAT (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Alison Williams)

Greek housing sector rebounds at strongest clip in more than 12 years

02 Sep 2019

ATHENS The recovery in Greece's housing market gained speed in the second quarter with prices increasing at the strongest pace in more than 12 years, helped by an expanding economy and growing foreign interest, central bank data showed on Monday.

Greek housing sector rebounds at strongest clip in more than 12 years

02 Sep 2019

* Residential property prices rise 7.7% y/y in Q2 * Home prices had plunged 42% since 2008 peak * Prices in Athens outperform, up 11.1% y/y By George Georgiopoulos ATHENS, Sept 2 The recovery in Greece's housing market gained speed in the second quarter with prices increasing at the strongest pace in more than 12 years, helped by an expanding economy and growing foreign interest, central bank data showed on Monday. Property accounts for a large chunk of household wealth in Greece, where the home ownership rate is 80%, above the EU average of 70%. Apartment prices rose 7.7% in the second quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, Bank of Greece data showed, accelerating from a 1.3% increase in the first quarter of 2018. More specifically, prices rose by 11.1% year-on-year in Athens, where home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb and a "golden visa" programme - a renewable five-year resident's permit in return for a 250,000-euro ($285,000) investment in real estate - have grown very popular. Greek house prices fell 42% between 2008, when the country's protracted recession began, and the end of 2017. A similar trend is unfolding in Greek prime office prices, which rebounded 7.0% last year. "Housing prices rose 3.5% quarter-on-quarter, a seventh consecutive quarter of growth. Year-on-year it was the strongest pace in 12 and a half years," said National Bank economist Nikos Magginas. The uptrend was seen in all market segments - including old and newly built apartments - and in all regions, though prices in the capital led the way. "Increasing demand from residents and non-residents, buoyed by positive macroeconomic trends and the first reduction in real estate taxation in a decade, supports the uptrend," he said. The Greek market had been hurt by property taxes imposed to plug budget deficits, tight bank lending and a jobless rate still around 17.2%, the highest in the 19-nation euro zone. But economic prospects have improved since 2015 when Greece signed up to a third bailout package worth up to 86 billion euros ($107 billion). The country emerged from its latest bailout in August last year and is now relying on markets to cover its financial needs. Greece's 180 billion euro economy expanded in January-to-March, but at a slower annual pace than the quarter before, mainly driven by consumer spending and a pick-up in investments. Following is a table on Greek apartment prices from Greece's central bank: **************************************************************** 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Q2 Index 69.5 64.3 61.1 59.6 59.0 60.0*64.4 Change y/y % -10.9 -7.5 -5.1 -2.4 -1.0 1.7* 7.7 New (up to 5 years) 71.4 66.8 63.0 61.2 60.7 61.9*66.3 Change % -10.9 -6.5 -5.6 -3.0 -0.8 1.9* 7.7 Old (older than 5 years) 68.3 62.8 59.8 58.6 57.9 58.9*63.2 Change % -10.8 -8.1 -4.7 -2.0 -1.2 1.6* 7.6 ---------------------------------------------------------------- * revised source: Bank of Greece (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Greek banks Alpha, NBG trim bad loan pile in second quarter

29 Aug 2019

ATHENS Greek lenders National Bank and Alpha pressed ahead with their balance sheet repair in the second quarter, reducing their sour loans as the country's economy recovers from a 10-year debt crisis.

UPDATE 1-Greek banks Alpha, NBG trim bad loan pile in second quarter

29 Aug 2019

* NBG Q2 profit drops to 122 mln euros on weak trading gains (Adds National Bank results, background)

Greece to fully lift capital controls imposed during bailout chaos

26 Aug 2019

ATHENS Greece is fully lifting its remaining capital controls, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday, in a move signaling the economy's continuing return to stability after the tumult of three international bailouts since 2010.

World News

Iran says it will destroy any aggressor

Iran will pursue any aggressor, even it carries out a limited attack, and seek to destroy it, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday, after attacks on Saudi oil sites which Riyadh and U.S officials blamed on Tehran.