ECONOMY

Services, building power economy on

Construction, shipping, car repair shops, gasoline stations and entertainment will be the most promising branches of the Greek economy in the near future, according to a survey by business research company ICAP. By contrast, the primary sectors, such as agriculture, stock farming and fisheries are projected to remain in recession. The survey monitored specific indices and sectors of the Greek economy from 1995 to 2002. It confirms the expected diminishing of the primary sector, with two of its domains that cover 95.83 percent of production and 94.17 percent of value of the sector being in the list of decline. In the context of the long-term development of the Greek economy, where the primary sector continues to have a larger share than in other developed countries, «it is natural for the primary sector to be in decline,» suggests ICAP, adding that «the rise of the tertiary [service] sector is absolutely compatible with the structural developments many Western countries have shown, where the traditional secondary sector domains tend to step back giving their place to new high-technology or service domains.» The picture for the Greek secondary sector is virtually the same, with traditional domains such as textile, leather products and the paper industry shrinking while modern domains that are more knowledge-intensive such as printing and publishing, sound and image reproduction, TV, radio and communications appliances production and medical instruments are looking up. This does not mean traditional secondary-sector domains such as construction cannot have strong growth rates. The great momentum of the service sector is driven by domains related to transport, telecommunications and credit, while entertainment, cultural and sports activities also have a significant position. Other domains on the rise are information technology and its relevant activities, while household services keep going up, too. Across the economy, construction is the sector with the greatest growth, with an annual rate of 4.98 percent in terms of product volume and 10 percent in value. This is down to the intense private and public activity in recent years. Following are the domains of banks, post, telecoms, trade, car repair, fuel sales, entertainment, cultural and sports activities and water transport. The survey further highlights the rapid rise of small domains that in the early 1990s had been practically nonexistent, including recycling, IT and relevant activities, TV and radio sets and households with staff. Despite their small size and therefore dramatic shifts in percentages in volume and production value, these increases are so prolonged that can hardly be attributed to cyclical factors. On the verge of joining the domains on the rise are those of mining, basic metals, car trading and repair, and fuel sales. If the added-value criterion is used, then among the top 22 domains we will find oil-refining products, metal products and other service activities. There are nine domains in decline, with agriculture and stock farming faring worst, showing a drop in production volume in five out of the seven years monitored. Employment in these domains has followed the shrinking of production.