Still locked out of private markets and depending on continuing international aid, Greece’s hopes of trying to increase revenues by luring foreign companies put off by its reputation for corruption, inefficiency and red tape are looking more favorably at the country now, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The financial newspaper said that “foreign investors are returning to Greece as fears of an exit from the Eurozone recede, signaling a possible turning point in the country’s three-year-long debt crisis.”
About 109 million euros ($143.8 million) of foreign money was put into Greek stocks in the last six months of 2012, followed by an additional 27.6 million euros )$30 million in January, according to the Athens Stock Exchange.
That money helped lift Greece’s major stock index 33.4% last year, making it, oddly enough, the best-performing stock market in the European Union. It is up an additional 10.51% this year, to 1003.32, although it remains well off its high of 6355 reached more than 12 years ago and has been a roller-coaster ride for investors with some off-the-cliff plunges as well.
“Despite seeing revenue drop amid the country’s steep recession, the general government deficit in 2012 was reduced in line with targets, to 12.9 billion euros from 19.7 billion euros the previous year, according to Finance Ministry data, although that does not include what’s due in interest payments.
Investors now believe “in a way they haven’t before” in the ability of Greece to deliver the reforms that are a condition set by international creditors to keeping funding lines to the country open following a renewed sense of trust in the coalition government, Richard Deitz, President of VR Capital Group, a hedge fund specializing in distressed assets, told the Journal. “We have been investors in Greece, and we continue to look at Greece as a source of investment opportunities,” he said, without disclosing specific investments.”