ECONOMY

Recovery signs become tangible

A series of data reports released on Monday all pointed in the same direction – that Greece’s recession has likely bottomed out and the confirmation of the disbursement of the next bailout tranches will see the country emerge from its six-year long crisis soon. The data concerned the continuing deflation, the improvement in business confidence, hirings outnumbering sackings, and car sales reversing a downward trend.

Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) figures released on Monday showed that the consumer price index contracted by 0.4 percent last month, continuing the trend that started earlier this year. Prices dropped in June in telecommunications, health, homeware products, goods and services, entertainment, education and food services, against an increase in fresh fruit and vegetables, air tickets, tobacco and fish.

The Labor Ministry’s Ergani database showed on Monday that the balance between hirings and sackings returned to 2006 levels last month, amounting to 14,341 in favor of hirings. The majority of new jobs were in tourism-orientated regions. The balance is particularly favorable for the age group that has been worst hit by unemployment, as it amounted to 10,130 more hirings than sackings in the 15-24 bracket.

ELSTAT also showed on Monday that tourism has benefited vehicle sales as well, as June saw the decline of previous months turn into 3.3 percent growth, mostly on sales to car rental companies and hotels that use minivans to shuttle their guests around.

The “Sales Trends” survey by the Athens University of Economics and Business and the Sales Institute in Greece showed a slowdown in the market’s decline, as only 41 percent of corporate officials observed a drop in sales in the year’s first half against 63 percent in H2 of last year. The business confidence index of sales directors posted a 20 percent increase in 2012 from the year before, the survey showed.

The decline in building permits issued was at 20.8 percent year-on-year in April, ELSTAT data showed on Monday, compared with a 46 percent average decline in the year from May 2012 to April 2013 on an annual basis.