Finance Ministry keeping close eye on coronavirus impact on economy

Finance Ministry keeping close eye on coronavirus impact on economy

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras on Monday expressed concerns about the potential impact on the economy from the new coronavirus outbreak, which made its appearance in Greece last week, but said that steps are being taken to contain it from spreading further.

“We have started posting messages on Taxisnet and sending emails and texts to mobile phones, in cooperation with the Health Ministry, to keep citizens informed,” Staikouras said during a visit to Belgrade, where he met with his Serbian counterpart Sinisa Mali and Trade Minister Rasim Ljajic.

The issue at hand, he said, is not the negative trends on the stock and bond markets, but the impact of the virus on the basic characteristics of the Greek economy, such as consumer behavior, economic sentiment, investments and exports.

“I am much more interested in real economic data than in bonds and stocks, because right now, for this year, our credit needs are covered. A market foray is not the main issue… The crucial issue is the effect on the real economy in Greece, on public finances, revenues and growth. We are watching this very closely and have run different scenarios at the Finance Ministry, but we are also trying to synchronize our response at the European level,” said Staikouras.

He added that an initial assessment of the virus’ economic broader potential economic impact on the eurozone will be made during a Eurogroup teleconference on Wednesday.

Staikouras also spoke with Greek businessmen and women who are active in Serbia and offered assurances of his ministry’s support.

“I asked to be briefed on how the ministry can help and bolster the operations of Greek businesses. I am waiting for them to send me a memo listing specific targeted actions,” he said, according to Greece’s Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

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