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Credit Rating Upgrade Is Good News For Greece


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. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Joanna Kakissis is an international correspondent based in Kyiv, Ukraine, where she leads NPR's bureau and coverage of a conflict that has upended millions of lives, affected global energy and food supplies and pitted NATO against Russia.