Businesses say they have started to see a few, still tender green shoots rising out of the economy’s ruins – raising hopes that Greece’s freefall has finally hit bottom, though few are willing to bet on a full recovery.
A raft of positive economic data in recent weeks has lent credence to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s declaration that Greece has turned a corner, and evidence on the ground suggests Europe’s most troubled economy might be enjoying more than a statistical bounce.
As Athens gears up to host an informal meeting of EU finance ministers next week, the mood in Antonopoulos’s Tzortzis SA Jaguar-Land Rover showroom is brightening.
“It has been psychologically tough, going to work to face a sales drought. The phones started ringing again, but it’s too early to say we have turned the corner,” Antonopoulos said.
“Much will depend on whether growth returns. Our clients are mostly business people and they are still quite reserved.”
Elsewhere in Athens, cranes are busy building a new opera house and national library centre near the capital’s coast, a regeneration project funded by the foundation of late shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos and designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
Some stalled motorway projects have resumed, helped by the unblocking of EU funds.
Drilling machines are also working on a new subway line that will link the city’s centre with the main port Piraeus.
On the corporate front, the country’s biggest cement maker Titan (TTNr.AT), last month said resuming such state-funded projects would boost demand for cement in Greece this year for the first time since 2006.
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