ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Ratings agency Fitch has upgraded Greece's sovereign credit status as the country heads toward an end to eight years of international bailout programs.

The agency announced late Friday that it had raised the country's rating from B- to B with a positive outlook, citing Greece's improved adoption of reforms and a path to growth in 2018.

The news came as Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos wrapped up meetings with institutional investors in Paris and London. The country is preparing for a full return to markets this year.

The European Commission is predicting that Greece's economy will grow by 2.5 percent in 2018 and in 2019 after years of recession and flat growth.