ECONOMY

Sentiment dips again

Economic sentiment in Greece worsened for a second straight month in December as the country’s fiscal crisis hurt consumer confidence and retail trade expectations, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said yesterday. IOBE said its economic climate index fell to 64.2 points from 66.4 in November but remained above the average for the year, 56.9 points. «It is obvious that the sharp improvement in business and household expectations during the pre-election period is adjusting to conditions of strict supervision of the Greek economy by the EU and a tight incomes policy,» IOBE said in a statement. Consumer confidence dropped to -44, its lowest level since September. The gauge had jumped to its highest level in two years in October, after the election of a new government which pledged to tax the rich. There was also a weakening of sentiment in retail trade, with companies in the sector dropping revenue expectations for the current period and reducing hopes of a rebound in demand. The overall index is compiled on the basis of business expectations in subsectors of industry, construction, retail trade and services, as well as consumer confidence. Economic sentiment in Greece is out of step with eurozone trends. The 16-nation bloc’s economic sentiment benchmark rose for a ninth consecutive month to 91.3 in December from 88.8 points in November.