From B1 to Ba3: Moody’s Investors Service upgraded its credit rating for Greece with a steady outlook.

The ratings agency stated the following reasons for its decision:

– Ongoing reforms that support the sustainable improvement of institutions and have already presented tangible progress in areas such as tax administration, tax compliance and the fight against corruption.

– The country’s growth prospects in the coming years are positive despite negative short-term effects due to the pandemic, especially in the tourism sector. According to Moody’s, the Greek economy will benefit from continuous efforts to improve the investment environment and the inflow of substantial funds from EU’s Recovery Fund.

– Favorable growth prospects, combined with a return to prudent fiscal policies, will lead to a gradual reversal of the public debt. Moody’s notes that Greece has a favorable debt structure.

Moody’s adds that the stable outlook reflects its view that it will take some time for the reforms to be fully operational. It also stressed that the banking sector still needs to improve the quality of its assets.

“Moody’s upgrade of Greece’s rating, which came in the midst of a global recession, is a strong vote of confidence in the growth prospects of the Greek economy post-Covid” Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, tweeted.

The news gave boost to Greek public debt that broke new records on Friday: for the first time in Greek history a government bond got a negative yield. The 3year bond that matures in January 2023 was sold at a -0.02% yield.

Overall Greece’s rating now stands at :

Rating Agency

Rating

Outlook

Date of last review

MOODY’S

  Ba3

Stable

November 2020

FITCH

  BB

Stable

July 2020

STANDARD & POOR’S

  BB-

Stable

April 2020

RATING AND INVESTMENT

  BB

Stable

December 2019

DBRS

  BB (LOW)

Stable

April 2020

Source: Public Debt Management Agency

A surprising move

To many Moody’s upgrade came as a suprise since it happened in the midst of the pandemic crisis, that might lead the Greek economy to double digit recession this year and an unpredictable recovery next year.

Moody’s stopped short from from upgrading the Greek economy like many had expected one year ago and again in May, 2020.

Back then, the ratings agency said that “institutions’ power remained weak”, especially in the field of rule of law, fighting against corruption and tax compliance (November 2019) and that “coronavirus pandemic is expected to be a transitory shock” (May 2020)