ECONOMY

February’s ECI rosier

Greece’s Economic Climate Index (ECI) showed an improved picture in February after four straight months of decline, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said yesterday. The think-tank agency said ECI rose to 102.7 points from 100.6 in January but, despite the reading being higher than the long-term average, comes in at the second-lowest mark of the last 20 months. Nevertheless, this was still higher than the respective ECI in the EU and the eurozone, which stood at 100.2 and 100.1 points respectively in February. In Greece an improvement was registered in all sectors apart from industry and consumer confidence. In industry, projections regarding industrial production for the next few months weakened, in line with estimates for the volume of orders and inventory levels. By contrast, the climate in services improved markedly, as most enterprises appeared particularly pleased with the development of demand and their business activity over the last three months, and had optimistic projections for the next three months. The same applied to retail trade, where estimates of turnover during the recently ended sales period and projections for the next few months are looking up despite a slight swelling in inventories. In construction, projections are improving, with positive reflection on employment. Moreover, the improvement in the consumer confidence index showed that the rather steep decline of the previous month was circumstantial. Even though Greeks remain among the most pessimistic consumers in Europe, there was an improvement in their view of the country’s general economic situation and employment prospects, IOBE said.