Crisis is an overused term, worn out by endless repetition. For most European economies, it has meant a period of low or stagnant growth over the last decade and, in some cases, a year or two of negative GDP eventually followed by a welcome recovery. For Cyprus, however, the word has had even greater potency: between 2008 and 2015, GDP per capita declined by roughly 30%. On top of the global 2008-09 recession, Cyprus had its own domestic banking crisis in 2012-13, precipitated by the eurozone collapse. This led to a downgrade of its bond credit rating to junk status and a €10bn bailout programme from the troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
It would be all too easy to dismiss Cyprus based on this performance – except that the island’s economy is experiencing a belated rebound. And what that means for investors in the medium term is significant. Despite financial services activity continuing to have a negative effect on the economy, latest GDP figures show a healthy 3% growth, which ‘surpasses all expectations’, according to finance minister Harris Georgiades.