New survey gives more pessimistic view of 2004 economic prospects

Greeks are rather pessimistic about their own economic prospects and those of their country, expecting further rises in inflation and unemployment in the next 12 months, according to a survey released yesterday which contrasted somewhat with the results of another report made public on Wednesday. According to the consumer confidence survey conducted by GFK Market Analysis in June, 77 percent of Greeks believe the prices of consumer goods will rise further in the next 12 months, 18 percent see price stability and 2 percent a decline. Two-thirds also see unemployment moving higher, against just 22 percent of those expecting no change. Regarding their households’ financial situation in the last 12 months, 42 percent said it had deteriorated, 46 percent that it had stayed the same and only 11 percent said they had seen an improvement; 71 percent consider that the country’s general economic situation is now worse than a year ago, 20 percent said it was the same and 8 percent that it has improved. Business research firm ICAP said in an opinion poll released a day earlier that the percentage of those fearing that their real incomes will be trimmed in the near future has declined to 30.7 percent, the lowest rate in the last four years and against 50.5 percent a year earlier; 20.5 percent said they expected an improvement in their finances and 34.7 percent no change. The ICAP survey was conducted between March 15 and April 5. The GFK analysis shows that those belonging to the lower income brackets appear especially reluctant to make any substantial buys now and believe they will be unable to save in the next 12 months; 63 percent of respondents said that they just manage on their present incomes. The higher income brackets are clearly more optimistic. The survey was conducted through telephone interviews with a sample of 1,000 people in urban areas with a population of more than 10,000.