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Country Report Greece September 2017

Country Report Greece September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2379082

Summary

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Outlook for 2017-21



  • The government of Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, comprising Syriza Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) and the nationalist Independent Greeks (AE), has a three-seat majority. An early election, before 2019, is highly likely.
  • Syriza is trailing in the polls behind the centre-right New Democracy (ND), which is likely to win the next election and form a coalition government.
  • To fulfil the demands of Greece's euro zone creditors, the government has committed to meeting annual budget primary surplus targets of 3.5% of GDP in 2018-22; The Economist Intelligence Unit regards these targets as infeasible.
  • We forecast annual real GDP growth of a modest 1% in 2017, following stagnation in 2016, as budgetary austerity and low levels of consumer and investor confidence hold back the recovery.
  • We forecast average annual real GDP growth of 1.8% in 2018-21. We assess the risk of Greece leaving the euro zone at 60% over the medium term (we have not built our "Grexit" call into our five-year growth forecast).
  • After zero inflation (EU harmonised measure) in 2016, we forecast a pick-up to an annual average of 1.4% in 2017-21.


Review



  • Ministry of Finance data show that in the first seven months of 2017 Greece recorded a primary surplus of EUR3.05bn, EUR955m above the end-July target. However, underlying revenue and expenditure trends were less positive.
  • Arrears owed by the state rose to EUR5.14bn at the end of June 2017.
  • Ten-year bond yields have risen by about 40-50 basis points since Greece returned to the international capital markets, from about 5.1% in mid-July to 5.55% in the fourth week of August.
  • The Hellenic Statistical Authority announced the suspension of the flash estimate of the quarterly national accounts scheduled for August 14th; GDP data for the second quarter of 2017 will be released in early September.
  • Central bank data show an overall rise in travel receipts of 7.1% year on year in the first half of 2017, to EUR4.1bn, and an increase of 14.2% in June alone.
  • In January-June tourist numbers from Germany were up by 18%, from France by 12.3% and from Russia by 15.1%. Receipts from these countries rose by 15.4%, 17.3% and 10.7% respectively. Visitors from the UK, the second-largest group after Germany, rose by a meagre 3.2%.
  • The first-half current-account deficit was little changed compared with the year-earlier period, at EUR2.8bn; improvements in the services and primary and secondary income accounts offset a larger goods deficit.


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