ECONOMY

Investments plunged 45 percent last year

Greece’s industrial sector slashed investment spending by nearly 45 percent in 2009 due to the economic crisis and the country entering its first recession in 16 years, according to a think tank. The Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said yesterday investment activity fell by an estimated 44.8 percent in 2009, with the biggest drop seen in the food, drink and tobacco sector, versus a 3.7 percent rise in the previous year. «The weakening of investment activity in 2009 is across the board. It was largest in the food, drink, and tobacco (minus 48.3 percent) and nonmetal mining (minus 32.7 percent) sectors,» IOBE said. The downturn in Greece is in line with trends observed among its European Union partners but was steeper, IOBE said, adding that investment in the bloc fell 22 percent. Apart from Greece, sharp drops were also recorded in Romania, Latvia, Finland and Bulgaria. Looking ahead, IOBE said that the industrial sector is planning to boost investments in 2010 by 5.6 percent, pushing ahead with delayed plans from last year. Greece’s industrial sector accounts for about 27 percent of the country’s annual economic output.