Greek economy seen growing by 4.8% in 2022, central banker says

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask makes his way on Omonia square in Athens, Greece, September 3, 2020. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s economy is seen growing by 4.8% in 2022 after an estimated 4.2% recovery this year, the country’s central banker said in a TV interview on Sunday.

The economy contracted by 8.2% last year, less than expected, despite much lower tourism revenues and tough restrictions the Greek government imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with Greek Antenna television aired on Sunday, Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras said that the bank’s growth projections were uncertain as the pandemic still posed serious risks.

Greece’s economy is expected to grow by an annual rate of about 3.5% in the current decade thanks to the billions of euros from a recovery package agreed with EU leaders last year and other EU funds, Stournaras said.

“A 3.5% (growth rate) in the decade is a very realistic target for me, as long as we move fast,” he said, adding that Greece should reform its state sector to be in a better position to absorb those funds.

Greece is expected to get some 32 billion euros in grants and cheap loans from the European Union recovery fund in the coming years.

While the country had fared better than many other European countries, a surge of COVID-19 infections forced the government in November to reimpose a lockdown it had previously lifted. (Graphic: tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)

Greece hopes that millions of free home-testing kits it began distributing this week and ramping up of COVID-19 vaccinations will help reopen its tourism sector next month and save the all-important summer season.

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