The Unimaginable NBG and Greek Bank Upgrade by S&P

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Can you imagine that the Greek banking sector is being raised by a credit ratings agency? It sounds impossible to imagine if you have been following the story as long as we have. Still, apparently even bad things can come to an end. Standard & Poor’s has announced on Wednesday that it has upgraded the ratings of the four major Greek banks to “CCC+” from “CCC” in the call – including National Bank of Greece S.A. (NYSE: NBG).

The short-term ratings were affirmed at “C” and the outlook is Stable.

Before you blow the all-clear whistle, there are still some risks here. Any rating around “CCC” of any sort is far from good.  Still, good news is good news and it has been hard to find. It is also on the heels of an SEC filing where NBG showed its offering circular regarding additional funds that were raised. S&P showed that NBG completed a 2.5 billion euro capital raise on May 8.

S&P said in the report, “In our view, the risk that Greek banks’ profitability might deteriorate further has diminished, as has the possibility that public authorities might distort the market by interfering further in the financial system.”

Another risk that S&P points out is very high economic risks. Still, S&P shows that the Greek economy continues to stabilize and local bank creditworthiness has improved. Other banks also given the same as NBG were Alpha Bank A.E., Piraeus Bank S.A., and Eurobank Ergasias S.A.

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NBG’s ADS shares were still down 2.2% at $3.35 in late afternoon trading in New York on Wednesday. Its 52-week trading range is $2.85 to $24.70.