Greece hopes for investment boost after key credit rating upgrade

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A major international agency on Friday upgraded Greece’s credit rating to investment grade, a move that is expected to boost investor confidence in the formerly bailout-dependent country.

Despite a series of previous upgrades, Greece had until now failed to regain the investment grade it lost at the start of the 2009-2018 financial crisis that brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy.

DBRS Morningstar said in a statement that its decision to upgrade Greece to BBB (low) from BB (high) reflects its view that Athens "will remain committed to fiscal responsibility, ensuring that the public debt ratio stays on a downward trend.”

DBRS is one of the four ratings agencies taken into account by the European Central Bank. The others, Fitch, Standard & Poor's and Moody's, rate Greece at just below investment grade.

“This is a very significant development for our country,” Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said late Friday. “It also means a further improvement of our borrowing terms, more investment, growth and jobs.”

During its financial crisis, Greece required international bailouts to stay afloat after a series of credit downgrades cost the country access to international bond markets.

In return, successive governments slashed spending, hiked taxes and imposed sweeping economic reforms, in a deeply resented shock therapy that saw a drastic drop in incomes and a spike in unemployment before the economy recovered.