Slump weighs on two key sectors

The downturn in Greece’s industrial and construction sectors continues as the economy heads for a recession but conditions appear to be easing, according to data made public by the National Statistical Service (NSS) yesterday. Industrial output fell 8.8 percent year-on-year in August, contracting for the 16th consecutive month, according to the NSS. In the first eight months of the year industrial production contracted 9.7 percent year-on-year versus a 2.7 percent decline during the same period in 2008, the statistical service added. Industrial production in the 16-country euro area fell 15.9 percent year-on-year in July, according to Eurostat, the smallest year-on-year decline since December 2008. «The decline in Greece’s industrial output is continuing but at a milder pace,» National Bank economist Nikos Magginas told Reuters. «The contraction in output is expected to slow down in the coming months, reflecting the upturn in leading indicators and the expected improvement in demand globally.» Meanwhile, data showed that Greek construction activity, measured by the number of new building permits, dropped 16.9 percent year-on-year in July after a 14.7 percent fall in June and a 23.2 percent drop in May. The NSS said 6,519 new permits were issued nationwide in July, corresponding to 1.5 million square meters, versus 7,846 permits in the same month a year earlier, which covered 2 million square meters.