Signs sentiment is improving

Economic sentiment in Greece has been improving over the last few months, according to two surveys made public yesterday that show retailers are more upbeat while data on consumers remains mixed. The Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said yesterday that Greek economic sentiment rebounded for the second straight month in May after a 12-month slide, helped by stronger readings in retail trade and services. Consumer confidence remained weak, IOBE added, as readings in construction also worsened. IOBE’s economic climate index rose to 49.2 points from 46.4 in April. The research group said Greek consumers were still among the most pessimistic in the European Union, after Hungary and Lithuania. «The economic sentiment index in Greece is rising, as is the case in most European countries, which implies that the trend toward stabilization is strengthening.» IOBE said. The economic sentiment benchmarks for the EU-27 and the eurozone rose in May to 66.7 from 63.9 points and to 69.3 from 67.2 points in April, respectively, IOBE said. «Businesses in retail trade and services are giving less pessimistic projections and seem to be able to support a recovery path. A new small improvement has been noted in industry as well,» IOBE said. Overall, the positive readings of the last two months strengthen the view that the deterioration in Greece’s economic sentiment may have reached the bottom, it added. Meanwhile, the Piraeus Traders Association said yesterday that its members are optimistic despite the impact of the crisis. Traders are working toward securing steady cash flow and staying afloat with limited profits rather than chasing after increased market shares, it said in a statement. The drop in turnover, at an average of 15 percent in the first quarter of the year, appears to have stopped, with sectors such as clothing and footwear showing slightly improved revenues. Consumer confidence improved significantly between April and May, it added.