Greek public debt settled at €360.17 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2023, marking an uptick from €358.046 billion in the second quarter. In the first quarter, the debt stood at €355.63 billion, according to data released by ELSTAT (Hellenic Statistical Authority).
Meanwhile, the primary surplus at the end of the third quarter amounted to €3.31 billion, based on ELSTAT data, according to ESA (European System of National and Regional Accounts).
As Bloomberg reported, Vanguard Asset Management, the world’s second-largest asset management company, and Candriam, a subsidiary of New York Life managing assets of €140 billion, are upping their stakes in government bonds from the so-called European peripheral countries, notably Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain.
Over a decade after the yields of these peripheral countries – which became known as the “PIGS” amid the debt crisis – threatened the very foundations of the Eurozone, they are now considered more financially robust with foreign investors feeling more confident in buying their debt.
While it remains uncertain when the European Central Bank (ECB) will proceed with interest rate cuts this year, the market sees the inevitable policy easing as a sign of declining concerns about the servicing cost of large debt amounts.
“As inflation and interest rates have changed course, we believe money should continue to flow into the European periphery,” said Ales Koutny, head of international rates at Vanguard.
This month, Koutny is adding to positions that started in late last year. He now has overweight positions in Spanish debt, expanded his position in Greece, and also acquired some Italian bonds. Philippe Noyard, global head of fixed income at Candriam, has also upgraded Italy and Portugal to neutral from underweight.