Greek economy surges after decade of pain

People walk in front of Bank of Greece in central Athens, Greece, April 12, 2024. [Louisa Gouliamaki/Reuters]

A decade ago, Greece was in the throes of a devastating debt crisis marked by years of austerity, hardship and unrest. Now, officials and investors say 2024 could be the year its rebound is finally complete.

The Greek economy is forecast to grow nearly 3% this year, approaching its pre-crisis size of 2009 and far outpacing the euro zone average of 0.8%.

Borrowing costs have plummeted to below those of Italy, and banks bailed out during the crisis are set to be fully privatised for the first time in decades - a move some of the country's largest investors see as a final sign of normality.

"With (the state's participation) out of the way, that's a landmark," said Wim-Hein Pals of asset manager Robeco, which recently bought shares in Greek banks.

"The Greek economy is in good shape to benefit from further growth going forward."

The turnaround in...

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