Business World

Saturday 20 January 2018

Greece to suffer ignominy of losing 'developed' status

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

With its economy already pummelled and its reputation in tatters, Greece is to suffer the further ignominy of being kicked out of the developed markets club.

US-based Russell Investments, which advises funds that manage $2.4 trillion (€1.8tn) in assets, said it no longer considered the Greek economy a developed one. In an unprecedented move, it will instead be reclassified as an emerging market.

Greece's economy has contracted an eye-watering 20pc in the past few years.

Russell Investments classified Greece as a developed market back in 2001. But the firm says the country has been failing tests since 2011 to remain classified as such.

It said Greece "did not meet macro and operational risk criteria for developed market status, but did meet classification criteria for inclusion in emerging markets".

It will take at least another three years before Greece could be reclassified as a developed economy and the likelihood is that it could take at least a decade before that happens.

"Since the country began revealing unsustainable levels of public debt in 2009, it has been in an unfortunate economic tailspin that at times has threatened to pull apart the entire European Monetary Union," said Russell Investments senior analyst Mat Lystra.

Mr Lystra said that the reclassification of Greece "should not be viewed as the removal the 'bad apple' from the cart".

Stress

"Many market economies have been under stress in recent years and some could follow Greece's path to a riskier market categorisation," he said.

Russell Investments' methodology requires developed markets, in general, to be the least risky and most efficient in which to trade, with emerging and frontier markets progressively more risky and less efficient along the spectrum.

"Any index provider's downgrading of a market's categorisation is a consequential decision, and Russell does not take this action lightly," it said.

Representatives of the ECB, the IMF and European Commission held talks yesterday with Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras to discuss budget implementation and other issues including unemployment that need to be addressed before Greece gets a €2.8bn bailout loan instalment.

Irish Independent

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