Greeks grim on economy, brighter on outlook

Greeks continue to be gloomy about the country’s current economic situation but appear more upbeat about a recovery in the future, according to a recent survey carried out by polling firm Public Issue.

In its “economic barometer” for March, Public Issue highlighted “cautious optimism among Greeks for the long-term future of the economy” compared to a much grimmer overall outlook in January.

The consumer confidence index nudged up 3.3 units in March to reach 60.5, the firm said in its survey. It noted that the stabilization of the index close to 60 points “confirms an improvement compared to the levels of last autumn,” referring to a period when uncertainty in Greece had peaked ahead of an agreement with foreign creditors to release crucial rescue funding and avert a default.

Despite the slight uptick, however, Public Issue stressed that the outlook among Greeks remained gloomy overall. The assessment of the current state of the economy was grim with most Greeks holding an “extremely negative” view, it said.

The survey came a few days after the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) reported a 16.4 percent slump in retail sales in January, confirming fears that a series of austerity measures imposed by foreign creditors have struck private consumption, a key driver of the Greek economy.

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