ECONOMY

Export pace slows as industrial output, building activity decline

Greece’s economic decline continued in December and January, according to data published by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Tuesday, as industrial output and construction activity fell while export growth slowed.

The value of exports in the period from February 2012 to January 2013 grew by 3.9 percent on an annual basis, but in January alone the increase amounted to just 3 percent from the same month in 2012 as exports (not including fuel) added up to 1.28 billion euros from 1.24 billion a year earlier. However, compared with December 2012 data, the value of exports fell 3.5 percent.

Imports posted a rebound in January, growing by 1.9 percent year-on-year to 2.34 billion euros, while in the period from February 2012 to January 2013 there was a 4.6 percent yearly decline.

The Industrial Output Index shrank by 4.8 percent in January in comparison with the same month last year, against a 6.8 percent annual drop a year earlier. The decline was largely attributed to the nearly 14 percent fall of the Mine & Quarry Output Index.

The construction sector is clearly struggling, as ELSTAT data showed that for the whole of 2012 just 22,627 building permits were issued, 36.7 percent less than 2011, corresponding to a surface area of 4.23 square kilometers, down by 30.4 percent, and a volume of 16.5 million cubic meters, down 28.9 percent. In December 2012 alone, the decline amounted to 40 percent for building permits on a yearly basis, to 31.6 percent in surface and 30.5 percent in volume.

In total for 2012, ELSTAT announced that the country’s gross domestic product fell 6.4 percent from the year before, with the biggest contraction being in investment (17.6 percent).