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Greece

Moody's upgrades Greece's credit rating two notches

The US ratings agency Moody's has upgraded Greece's credit worthiness by two notches. Despite the improvement, Greek government bonds still have "junk" status.

Moody's announced on Friday that it raised Greece's credit rating in light of progress made by Athens toward bringing its public finances and debt under controll.

"The first factor behind the upgrade of Greece's rating is Moody's strengthened expectation that the general government debt to GDP ratio will start declining in 2015, after peaking this year according to Moody's estimates at around 179 percent [of gross domestic product]," the agency said in a news release.

"The government's progress in fiscal consolidation under its economic adjustment program underscores the improvement in the debt trajectory," the agency continued.

Moody's decision to upgrade Greece's rating comes after fellow US ratings agency Fitch did the same back in May.

Despite having its rating upgraded to Caa1 from Caa3, Greece's government bonds still have "junk" status, meaning they're not considered safe for investment.

Recession nearing an end?

By the end of this year, Greece's is expected to emerge from recession for the first time since 2008, with its economy projected to grow by 1.2 percent.

Greece nearly went bankrupt in 2010, but was rescued by two international bailouts that together total 230 billion euros ($ 308 billion).

The European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary (IMF) have imposed strict conditions on the aid money, forcing Athens to implement tough fiscal reforms. Public services have been cut and unemployment has soared.

"Fiscally, we have already taken most of the beating, but the road ahead remains tough," said Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis during a parliamentary committee debate on reforming the country's tax collection system.

slk/av (AP, AFP)