ECONOMY

Greece’s construction activity drops 8 pct on year

Greek public and private building activity, measured by the number of permits issued, fell almost 8 percent in September from a year earlier, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said.

The number of permits fell 7.7 percent to 3,663. The surface area of planned buildings dropped 27 percent to 653,600 square meters and their volume fell 22 percent to 2.4 million cubic meters, the agency said Monday in an e-mailed statement.

Construction slowed most in western Greece and in the central region of Thessalia and dropped almost 13 percent in Athens and its metropolitan area. Private building nationwide fell 7.1 percent.

Greece may reduce taxes for industries that have seen a marked slowdown in economic activity such as real estate, the Athens-based To Vima newspaper reported Monday.

Austerity measures agreed to in 2010 for 110 billion euros ($140 billion) of emergency loans, including a temporary special property tax, have deepened Greece?s recession, as unemployment has risen and people have spent less, including on building new homes.

The prospects for construction in Greece remain ?bleak? with demand for building materials ?all but evaporated? the country?s largest cement producer, Titan Cement Co. SA, said in November. [Bloomberg]