ECONOMY

Strikes hurt export figures

Greek exports plunged by nearly 10 percent in September, reversing solid growth in the previous month, due to truck driver strike action that put the brakes on the sector with the inability to get goods to market, said exporters. The Panhellenic Exporters Association (PEA) said that exports in September fell 9.6 percent year-on-year to 1.17 billion euros, after rising by an annual pace of 18.7 percent in August. «The percentage drop in September is the second largest for the year, after a 14 percent drop in February, and shows once again that Greek exports follow a ‘one up, one down’ course from month to month,» PEA said in a statement yesterday. Exports in August had been one of the Greek economy’s few bright spots, with demand for products, mainly consisting of agricultural products and industrial goods, rising from the country’s main trading partners, including Germany. However, strike action for much of September by truck drivers opposing government plans to liberalize the road haulage sector caused problems in the transportation of goods as the truckers parked their vehicles on roadsides. Over the first nine months of the year, exports rose by an annual rate of 2 percent to 11 billion euros, PEA added, citing data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority. PEA has some 1,500 members across the country that account for 80 percent of total Greek exports, according to its website.