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Here's the world's best-performing stock market of 2019

Alexis Christoforous
·Anchor

“We’re open for business.” That’s the message Adonis Georgiadis, Greece’s Minister of Development and Investment, has for global investors.

After a decade of bailouts from the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, and years of tough austerity measures, Greece is finally rising from the ashes of its economic crisis.

In fact, the Greek stock market is the best-performing stock market in the world this year. The MSCI Greece Index (GREK) is up more than 39% year-to-date, compared to a 28% gain in the S&P 500 (GSPC).

Georgiadis tells Yahoo Finance’s “The First Trade” that Greece is working to change investor perception of the country and make it “business friendly.”

“For many years, when someone heard the word Greece problems came to their mind,” says Georgiadis. “We’re trying to persuade everybody that if they chose our country to invest, we are ready to respect their time and money.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, right, Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos, center, and Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, left, take the oath during a swearing in ceremony at the parliament in Athens, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. Greece held its first parliamentary session after the general elections held on July 7. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, right, Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos, center, and Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, left, take the oath during a swearing in ceremony at the parliament in Athens, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. Greece held its first parliamentary session after the general elections held on July 7. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

Greece’s new government, led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is embracing policies to attract foreign direct investment, including tax cuts and the privatization of state-owned industries, such as the country’s ports and utilities.

Direct foreign investment in Greece is higher for the third straight year, led by investments in real estate, as the government becomes more transparent and sheds the bureaucratic red tape that had kept many investors away.

JPMorgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon, who recently met with Mitsotakis, told the Greek newspaper Kathimerini that the investment climate in Greece is “surprisingly good, but unknown to most investors.”

The country recently repaid some expensive loans to the IMF and is hoping foreign investment will help cement its recovery. Greece expects economic growth of 2% in 2019 and 2.8% in 2020, which would outperform the euro zone average.

Alexis Christoforous is co-anchor of Yahoo Finance’s “The First Trade.” Follow her on Twitter @AlexisTVNews.

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