Athens Digest 26.04.2019

[Due to the Orthodox Easter holiday, the next edition of the Athens Digest will be sent on Tuesday, April 30. Best wishes from our team]

• Government eyes new sovereign upgrade and market outing

Eurobarometer: Greeks slowly regaining faith in European Union, still below average

Greece granted asylum to 15,805 migrants in 2018, one of the highest amounts in the EU relative to the population size

Greeks are paying by far the most expensive mobile data across Europe

# The government and the country’s debt management agency are reportedly awaiting a ratings decision today by Standard & Poor’s before penciling in possible dates for Greece’s next outing to bond markets. S&P has put Greece on a positive outlook with a B+ sovereign rating _ raising hope of a one-notch upgrade to BB- or three positions below investment grade. Greece has already raised money on bond markets twice this year with 5-year and 10-year bond auctions and is eyeing a third auction next month to take advantage of favourable interest rates. The yield on the 10-year Greek government bond remains at 3.32 percent.

# Greeks are slowly regaining faith in the European Union but still lag behind the bloc’s average. Data from the latest Eurobarometer published by the European Parliament showed that 57 percent of Greeks believe EU membership has benefitted the country, up 3 percentage points since last September. The EU average in the latest survey was 68 percent. Also: 62 percent of Greeks would vote to remain in the EU if the issue was put to a referendum, while the EU average again stood at 68 percent. Majorities were not found in Italy, the Czech Republic, or the U.K.

# France and Greece have the highest rates of dissatisfaction with the direction of their own countries, as well as the EU, a trend the Eurobarometer survey noted was worsening across the bloc. For Greece, 76 percent believed the country’s outlook was negative and 66 percent held the same view for the EU, rates that were broadly similar in France. Citizens in Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Belgium were also noted for their negative views. Respondents in Greece, Estonia, and the Czech Republic were the most likely to report that their voices were not being heard in the EU. And finally, most Greeks, especially the older generations said they intend to vote in May. Nevertheless, 52 percent of them listed the most likely reason to abstain from next month’s European election was due to the perception that nothing would change, the highest rate in the union.

# Greece granted asylum to 15,805 migrants last year, one of the highest amounts in the European Union relative to the size of its population. Eurostat data showedthat Syria (6,015 or 38 percent), Iraq (3,545 or 22 percent) and Afghanistan (2,635 or 17 percent) were the three main nationalities to be granted protection in Greece. The highest levels of acceptance relative to national population were: Austria, Sweden, Germany, Greece, and Cyprus. Overall, EU Member States granted protection to more than 300,000 asylum seekers last year _ 29 percent were Syrians, followed by citizens of Afghanistan (16 percent) and Iraq (7 percent)

On our Radar: Dear Data
Greeks are paying by far the most expensive mobile data across Europe. And Greece remains one of the most expensive countries on Earth to buy mobile data, with rates higher than Chad, Yemen, and Turkmenistan according to a global survey. The UK data service Cable ranked 230 countries where information was available, and Greece was placed in 224th place. Zimbabwe was the most expensive country listed, while no figures were given for several countries including Venezuela and North Korea.