Key sectors suffer revenue slump

As signs emerge that the eurozone may by emerging from recession, data released yesterday showed that several of the Greek economy’s key sectors are reeling from the global crisis. Data from the Bank of Greece, the country’s central bank, showed that January-June tourism receipts fell 14.7 percent to 3.1 billion euros. Revenues from tourism, which accounts for about 20 percent of the country’s annual economic growth, fell to 1.3 billion euros in June from 1.5 million in the same month a year earlier, according to the central bank. The performance of the tourism sector this summer has been described by experts as being crucial in determining the extent of the economy’s slowdown this year. In the second quarter of the year, Greece’s gross domestic product contracted for the first time in 16 years, shrinking by 0.2 percent on an annual basis. On the shipping front, central bank data showed that transport receipts, which are mostly derived from shippers, fell 28.4 percent in the first half of the year to 6.7 billion euros. In June, revenues dropped off by some 600 million euros to stand at 1.1 billion euros. The economic data paint a picture that contrasts markedly with what can be seen in the eurozone’s two largest economies, Germany and France. In the second quarter of the year, Germany and France each posted economic growth of 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter after GDP in each country contracted in the first three months of the year. Improvements in economies such as Germany’s, one of Greece’s key trading partners, may help boost local exports that have been hit hard by the slump in global trade. Central bank data showed that exports in the January-June period dropped 21.8 percent to 7.4 billion euros. But imports also fell sharply, dropping almost 30 percent to 22.8 billion euros, helping narrow the current account deficit which hit 14.7 billion euros for the six-month period, down from 19.1 billion euros last year.