Credit Rating Upgrade Is Good News For Greece

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A day after eurozone lenders finally released about $45 billion in loans to Greece, a top credit agency raised its rating on the country by a six points. It's a rare piece of good news for Greece, which still faces Depression-level unemployment and at least another year of recession.


Greece got a rare bit of good news late yesterday. Standard and Poor's upgraded the country's credit rating six notches to a B minus. I mean, not the worst grade on your report card, but in the financial world this is junk bond status.

Still, Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens that there is a more stable outlook.

JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: For a country used to bad news, the past few weeks have felt a little like Christmas. First, eurozone leaders agreed to a complex plan to lower Greek debt. Then, Greece bought back some of that debt from investors. Eurozone leaders were pleased - and finally released $45 billion in loans to the country.

Frank Gill leads the European Sovereign Ratings team for Standard and Poor's.

FRANK GILL: All these things taken together I think just shows a great determination by the eurozone to keep Greece in the monetary union.

KAKISSIS: And economist Gikas Hardouvelis says it's a vote of confidence for Greece.

GIKAS HARDOUVELIS: There is light at the end of the tunnel. And it will stay in the monetary union.

KAKISSIS: But Greece has a long and painful road ahead. The government is fragile, and unemployment - now more than 25 percent - is expected to rise next year.

For NPR News, I'm Joanna Kakissis in Athens.

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