ECONOMY

Greek consumers get more pessimistic

Greek companies and consumers are the most pessimistic in Europe, after the Portuguese, about their financial prospects, as the impact of the international crisis on the local economy (in both inflation and growth) is obvious, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) has found. The institution’s monthly survey found the consumer confidence index dropped to minus 48 in July, an all-time record. Only 7 percent of Greeks expect that their personal finances will improve in the following 12 months, against 27 percent who believe that they will worsen. Consumers are even more pessimistic about the national economy and unemployment, with eight in 10 predicting a deterioration in the Greek economy, leading to a rise in the jobless rate. About the same rate (78 percent) of Greek households believe that prices will go up; 13 percent think they will remain stable and just 9 percent are optimistic prices will decline. The crisis and uncertainty are forcing Greeks to cut down on spending and save ahead of the tougher days they see coming. The intention to put money aside soared in July by 18 percentage points, as 35 percent of those surveyed said they will try to save money in the next year. Apart from showing that private consumption will slow down, this shows that term deposit banking products are beginning to become more attractive with the rise in interest rates and offers from banks.