BUSINESS

Still no end to Greece's recession in sight

EVGENIA TZORTZI

TAGS: Finance

The latest data on consumption and exports point to the fact that the Greek economy has not yet developed the necessary momentum to break the recessionary cycle, despite government projections for an economic rebound in the second half of the year.

According to Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) figures released on Wednesday, retail commerce turnover posted an annual decline of 5.2 percent in June, while the months of July and August were also disappointing as the summer sales were unable to reverse the downward trend.

A survey by the Commerce and Services Institute of the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Enterprises (ESEE) showed that turnover during the sales period that started on July 11 and ended yesterday posted a decline of 9.7 percent year-on-year, with more than half of enterprises (53 percent) reporting a drop in sales and just 14 percent pointing to a rise.

This week ELSTAT also said that private consumption in the second quarter of the year had fallen by 1.9 percent on an annual basis.

Furthermore, exports of Greek products dropped to their lowest point in the last four years in the first half of 2016, posting an annual decline of 8.1 percent to 11.8 billion euros, against 12.8 billion in January-June 2015. Excluding exports of oil products, the annual decline came to 1.4 percent. Besides the major drop in fuel products (down 24.1 percent), there a remarkable decline in raw materials (14.5 percent) was also noted.

Exporters say that the contraction recorded is due to the lack of liquidity, the capital controls that came into effect in late June 2015, the state’s high debts to companies, excessive corporate taxation and delays in the activation of European Union-backed subsidy packages.

Imports also continued to slide, as they came to 20.9 billion euros in H1, down 4.1 percent from the 21.8 billion euros recorded in 2015. This has taken the trade deficit 1.7 percent higher to 9.1 billion euros, against 8.9 billion a year earlier.

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