The deteriorating circumstances of the Marinopoulos supermarket group triggered a chain reaction in the market this summer, as reflected in the total amount of bounced checks which soared to 215.4 million euros in August.
The rise is huge when compared with August 2014 (August 2015 is not comparable as the capital controls had just been imposed), when checks that could not be processed because the account holders did not have sufficient funds added up to just 24.1 million. Rubber checks totaled 37.3 million euros in August 2013.
August was the second consecutive month to post a massive increase in bad checks, which is linked to the problems of Greece’s biggest retailer, which filed for protection from its creditors in late June. The cracks started appearing in July, when bounced checks amounted to 199.5 million euros, against 47.8 million in June and 48.6 million euros in May. After two very bad months, the total value of rubber checks added up to 574.4 million euros in the year to end-August.
Market estimates point to a continued rise in bad checks in the coming months, as the agreement reached by Marinopoulos, Sklavenitis and the crediting banks will require some time to implement. The court will examine the Marinopoulos application for protection from its creditors on Wednesday, September 21, with the most likely scenario being the granting of an extension.