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China and investors bet on Greece

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 02:05

May 16 - A rally in Greek bonds and improved confidence has raised investors expectations. As Greece's PM attempts to drum up business in China Sonia Legg asks whether it's time to start betting on Greece thriving not just surviving.

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Greece and China are perhaps like David and Goliath when it comes to economic strength. But there's no animosity between the two countries - this David is after help. The Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is on a five-day state visit to the world's second largest economy. He has state assets to sell - including three quarters of the port of Athens. Chinese shipping group Cosco - already a Piraeus port investor - is considering spending a further one billion euros. And it seems it's not the only investor looking at Greece. The country's bonds have rallied this week and hedge funds are reportedly starting to look at Greece as a potential money spinner. Michael Hewson from CMC Markets (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL HEWSON, CMC MARKETS, SAYING: "The economic environment in Greece remains extremely difficult - having said that some of the assets in the Greek stock exchange were probably extremely over sold so you are essentially going to get some form of bounce back. You've also got this search for yields and growth yields are very, very attractive given the fact that we have the ECB in full on easing mode talking OMT and essentially acting as a back stop for Europe." It might be hard to be optimistic if you're one of the millions unemployed in Greece and struggling to feed a family. But Fitch and Standard and Poor's both lifted Greece's credit rating this week - giving the bailed-out country a fillip..of sorts. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL HEWSON, CMC MARKETS, SAYING: "I think with a lack of attractive assets out there then I think investors are taking the view that there is yield there let's go in we can get some upside from it but we need to be nimble and get out if the economic outlook deteriorates and I think that's essentially where we are. And obviously the Fitch upgrade earlier this week certainly helped on the margins but let's not forget Greek bonds are still junk - they are just less junky than they were before." The Athens stock exchange rallied to its highest level for two years after the upgrade. There's even talk of Greece issuing bonds next year - a prospect even Samaras would probably have considered highly optimistic not so long ago.

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China and investors bet on Greece

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 02:05