Majority of goods remain off-limits for most Greeks


Few Greeks can afford to splash out on items beyond their daily needs, according to GfK’s consumer sentiment survey for the last quarter of 2016 that was released on Thursday.

Two main conclusions can be drawn from the survey: The first is that the increase in gross domestic product in the third quarter of 2016 has not had any positive impact on Greeks’ everyday lives – for the time being at least – while the second is that there is a large difference in consumer sentiment with other European economies where there was a nine-year high recorded in Q4 2016.

The GfK data showed that the financial expectations index may have risen by 3.3 percentage points from the third quarter, but its reading remains negative all the same at -33.8 points, as pessimistic estimates outnumber optimistic ones. GfK notes that although the index posted a small rise, it remains at particularly low levels, almost the same as in the last quarter of 2015.

The adverse economic conditions are reflected in the propensity Greeks have to buy: Although the index climbed by 6.7 points in Q4 from Q3 to reach -36.1 points, it remained at the same level as in the last quarter of 2015, which was a few months after the imposition of capital controls that have now been relaxed somewhat.

Greeks continue to see a weak increase in revenues, whose index declined by 2.6 points to -40.1 points in Q4. That is considerably lower – by 22.1 points – than the reading of the same quarter in 2015. This element and the persistently high unemployment translate into poor prospects for Greeks regarding the creation of jobs and rising incomes.

The situation is different in the rest of Europe, as GfK’s economic sentiment index in the European Union climbed 5.6 points to 17.9 points in December. This is the highest reading recorded since January 2018.