Economic sentiment dips further

BRUSSELS – The Greek economic sentiment index dipped by over five points this month, falling to 92.3 points from 97.4 in April, affected significantly by the decline in consumers’ expectations to -44 points, a historic low. In the eurozone the same index has remained stable, at 97.1 points, despite forecasts for a dip to 96.6 points; a development which illustrates that fears of an abrupt economic slowdown are not widespread. Average consumer sentiment in the eurozone stands at -14, far better than in Greece. The expectations of Greek households for the next 12 months were particularly low at -34, against a eurozone average of -20, which is also a negative record for Greece, along with -43 for expectations regarding the general economic climate in the same period. The outlook for savings are even worse (-50) while unemployment prospects reach 47 points, up from just 34 last June. In construction, the new orders index showed a steep decline to -37 points, reaching the average of the last 12 years. Price expectations dropped to -14, although hiring expectations have gone up in the sector. In retail commerce, the index tracking expectations of business activity has fallen to 50 points from 55 in April and 67 in February, while the general index for the sector touched 27 points this month, the lowest level for the last year. The manufacturing index remained in negative territory (-2), where it has remained since January, while the employment index in the sector is also deteriorating. Finally in services, the index dropped to 22 points, falling below the average for the last 18 years.