NSS data runs contrary to that of Bank of Greece and shows trade deficit hike

Greece’s drachma-denominated trade deficit in the January to September 2001 period rose by 4.9 percent year-on-year following sharp declines in exports and imports receipts, the National Statistics Services (NSS) said yesterday. Calculated in dollars, the oil trade deficit, however, showed a 1.1 percent decline. The non-oil trade balance in terms of dollars fell by 4.7 percent but rose by 1.1 percent in terms of drachmas. NSS’s statistics ran contrary to the Bank of Greece’s provisional trade data which showed a 1 percent drop in the oil trade deficit in the same period. The discrepancy could be attributed to the fact that customs receipts do not capture unrecorded transactions and services dealings, said EFG Eurobank Ergasias economist Platon Monokroussos. He said the incongruity between the drachma-denominated and dollar-based trade deficit came from currency fluctuations relating to the euro and dollar. Monokroussos said while the «overall impression is clear that Greece continues to show a significant trade deficit, from the central bank’s data, there’s an improvement in the 2001 current account deficit.» The Eurobank economist projected the current account deficit to gross domestic product in 2001 at «6.5 percent or slightly lower,» improving from the 6.9 percent recorded in 2000 as Greece benefits from higher surpluses in the services and transfers sectors and a reduced non-oil trade deficit. NSS’s figures showed a 10.1 percent drop in import receipts in terms of dollars, compared with a 4.3 percent fall calculated in drachmas. Non-oil imports were down by 11.3 percent (dollar-based) and by 5.7 percent (drachma-based). The general picture suggested that domestic demand slowed in line with the global economic downturn. Export receipts fell by 24.5 percent (dollar-based) but were only down by 19.2 percent in terms of drachmas. Non-oil export receipts declined by 22 percent (dollar-based) and by 16.5 percent (in drachmas). «If you’re asking me about (today’s) EGM (extraordinary general meeting), I have nothing to say,» Manassis told Reuters when asked about the rumors.

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