ECONOMY

Industries fear drop in competitiveness

Industries fear drop in competitiveness

The Federation of Industries of Greece (SBE) warned on Thursday of the risk Greek industries are at of losing market share due to the increase in their products’ prices following the huge hikes in energy rates, raw materials and shipping costs.

It presented a survey it conducted on a sample of 142 companies from all domains of manufacturing, which took place from January 25 to February 7 and showed that 88% of companies have suffered an energy rate increase of more than 40%.

It also found that energy rate hikes have increased production and shipping costs between 20% and 40% for one in every five manufacturing enterprises and raw materials’ costs have grown by the same margin for one in three companies.

The majority of manufacturers (57%) have passed on the increases to their clients, and only 33% have not yet done so. As their forecasts on the trajectory of energy rates remain gloomy for the next six months, worries focus on the impact on their sales, exports and profits, where a decline of between 10% and 20% is projected.

SBE President Athanasios Savvakis commented on the survey’s findings, saying that “there is an obvious risk of losing important markets abroad, with negative effects on the sustainability of enterprises and of course on the maintenance of existing jobs.”

To avoid those forecasts proving correct, SBE is proposing measures to the government for the immediate implementation of specific institutional interventions in energy policy. It calls for the immediate support of energy-intensive industries via a subsidy adjusted to each professional sector and depending on the significance of energy costs to their operation. It is also asking for a process for the payment of electricity bills in more than six interest-free installments, for fixed power rates for small industrial consumers, and for a framework regarding the supply of electricity from renewable sources through bilateral contracts.

Regarding the institutional interventions, SBE is proposing the review of the country’s energy mix, so that the lowest rates possible be achieved, and the acceleration of the introduction of laws on storage, infrastructure upgrade and energy saving programs for the industry.