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ECONOMY: Now is the time to invest in Cyprus

24 September, 2018

Bank of Cyprus CEO John Patrick Hourican told investors now is a good time to invest in Cyprus as Nicosia went on a charm offensive in London on Friday.  

BoC’s CEO told Bloomberg that post-bailout “Cyprus is now out of the Cardiac arrest it had been since 2013” and is in a proper position to offer investment opportunities.

“There are a lot of reasons why Cyprus is poised to grow across a range of economies, not just tourism,” he added.

Hourican said that Cyprus has been making the case for a while, but the data is now there to support it. “The sovereign is the indicator whether or not the country is doing well and as of last week the country received its first investment grade post crisis, moving us out of the junk category”.

He added that there are a series of indicators showing the country is doing well, such the drop in unemployment, the stabilizing of housing prices, the attraction of foreign capital and the restructuring of the banking system.

Hourican stressed that the track record of the banking system regarding the reduction of NPL portfolios and the shrinking of the system itself are also an indicator of how well Cyprus has done.

He said that the banking system has shrunk from 8 times the GDP a few years back to four times.

Talking on Boc’s track record regarding the reduction of their NPL portfolio, Hourican said that the bank has succeeded in bringing in down its NPE by two thirds in just four years, from EUR 15 bln to 5 bln.

“That means a reduction of 3.2% per quarter for 13 quarters. I think we are on the way to get it done,” said Hourican.

Asked to comment on how Brexit will affect the Cypriot economy, BoC’s CEO said that there is no suggestion at a data level that Brexit is causing issues for Cyprus at this stage.

“Cyprus has a great history with Britain ever since the country gained its independence, 1.2 million tourists visit the island every year, a number which has been growing during the Brexit talks not dropping.”

However, as he argued as Cyprus is a member of the European Union, it is “expected to be negatively impacted if we do not solve this issue sensibly”.

President Nicos Anastasiades accompanied by Finance Minister Harris Georgiades and Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis was in London to promote investment on the island.

Participating in the Invest Cyprus Forum organised hosted by Bloomberg Media on Friday, Anastasiades addressed members of the UK business community, lauding the achievements and advantages of Cyprus as an investment destination.

Addressing also a crowd of Bloomberg analysts, the President revealed that Cyprus has seen a significant 18% annual increase in investment fund registrations.

 

''The challenge now is to keep up the momentum and ensure that Cyprus remains on the path of sustainable growth. Hence, the objective is to continue to pursue the sound governance of public finances complemented by a business-friendly investment environment,'' he said.