Ordeal is worsening for households
The government may be speaking of an economic recovery and preparing to celebrate the country’s“clean” exit from the bailout program, but the latest consumer survey shows that two out of three households can hardly make ends meet, while inheritance waivers are soaring.
At the same time, business expectations have weakened considerably, according to the survey conducted by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), sending the economic sentiment index lower in March after three months of growth.
The percentage of Greeks who responded to the IOBE survey saying they are hardly able to get by rose to 67 percent last month from 64 percent in February. Another 11 percent said they are drawing on their savings and 15 percent said they are “in debt,” while only 7 percent claimed to have added to their savings.
IOBE expressed its concern as the consumer confidence index remained unchanged in March after a small decline in February, which the researchers say “shows that the current conditions do not form an environment of faster recovery of the economy in general. This is also illustrated by the slight deterioration in expectations for the economic condition of households and the country.”
The economic sentiment index slumped from 104.3 points in February to 99.8 points last month, with the 100-point level separating optimism from pessimism. There was also a relative decline in the Purchasing Managers’ Index, according to IHS Markit, which fell from 56.1 points in February to 55 points last month.
IOBE links the slump into pessimism with the uncertainty regarding internal and external policy. Still, business confidence continued to rise thanks to the fastest growth in employment recorded since the survey began.
Meanwhile real estate market officials estimate that the number of inheritance waivers came to between 100,000 and 150,000 last year. This is a clear sign of households’ economic inability to bear the additional cost that accepting an inherited property entails, especially as its immediate sale is almost impossible in the current climate.