ECONOMY

Shipping and tourism revenues drop

Revenue losses from tourism, shipping and exports amounted to 7 billion euros or 2.9 percent of gross domestic product in the first seven months of the year over the same period in 2008, the Bank of Greece announced yesterday. The global financial crisis has hurt the most important sectors of the local economy (tourism and shipping), which explains the slowdown in GDP to just 0.3 percent in the second quarter of the year for the first time since 1993 and its expected contraction for the entire year. The losses in the shipping sector in the year to July reached 3.4 billion euros (1.4 percent of GDP) year-on-year, and those in tourism came to 917 million euros (0.4 percent of GDP). Losses from exports amounted to 2.6 billion euros (1.1 percent of GDP). Revenues from shipping came to 8 billion euros, falling by 30.1 percent yearly, while receipts from tourism reached 5 billion euros, a 15.5 percent annual drop, and exports brought in 8.7 billion euros, a 23 percent drop over last year. The international decline in trade has also hurt imports, which reached 27 billion euros in the January-to-July period, compared to 38.2 billion euros in the same period last year. The contribution of fuel was particularly significant to this decline, as the drop in oil prices worldwide led to a shrinking in the value of fuel imports by about 37.3 percent. All this has limited the trade deficit to 18.3 billion euros, from 26.8 billion euros last year, representing a 31.8 percent decline. The current account deficit also shrank by 22.9 percent, from 21.5 billion euros last year to 16.6 billion euros in the first seven months of 2009. For the whole of the year, the current account deficit is expected to reach between 11 to 12 percent of GDP, from 7 percent in the first seven months of 2009.