ECONOMY

Bank chips inflict record ATHEX fall

bank-chips-inflict-record-athex-fall

The reopening of the Greek bourse on Monday after five weeks of no trade saw losses mount to an all-time record of 16.23 points. The session was also marked by particularly low trading volume as the sale orders for bank stocks could not be served because the credit sector’s chips had already reached their limit down. Over 8 billion euros in stock value was wiped out within less than seven hours of trading.

Although not quite the Black Monday the market had feared, as non-banking blue chips did not crumble as anticipated, the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed at 668.06 points, having started from the 797.52 points reached back on June 26. A few minutes after the start it dropped as low as 615 points (almost 23 percent down).

The large-cap FTSE 25 index declined 16.37 percent to 201.73 points, but banks went as low as they could with their index shedding 29.92 percent. Greek stocks cannot drop any more than 30 percent in one session.

In total nine stocks posted gains, 84 suffered losses and three closed unchanged. Turnover amounted to 66.9 million euros.

The capital controls in place meant that Greek traders could only sell and not buy stocks unless they brought in new money. Foreign traders have no restrictions. The Capital Market Commission also banned short selling.

The backlog of sale orders for bank stocks is set to take the bourse lower still as of Tuesday, although some other financial sectors are expected to show some resistance. National and Piraeus fell 30 percent, Eurobank lost 29.86 percent and Alpha 29.81 percent. Aegean Airlines dipped just 0.49 percent.

Hellenic Exchanges head Sokratis Lazaridis expressed hope that the bourse could start recovering from as early as Tuesday, at least in some sectors, and that companies would not start delisting from the ever-thinning Greek market, which is now only worth just over 40 billion euros.

Shadow Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, an MP with the New Democracy party, said that “the government’s irresponsibility, its movements back and forth and its amateur handling, the pointless statements on the banking system and on specific banks, the dangerous Plan B games and the plan for a return to the drachma, the bank shutdown and the capital controls due to the government’s action and neglect have all led to the crumbling of the stock market.”