Government seeks calm as bank shares take another hit

Government seeks calm as bank shares take another hit

The government on Monday sought to downplay concerns over the country’s banks after the recent turmoil on the Greek stock market.

“We have a thoroughly fortified banking system,” aides to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, while government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos insisted in an interview with Real FM radio that the recent ATHEX turmoil has no bearing on banks’ capital adequacy.

Greek bank shares came under renewed pressure on Monday due to the market turmoil caused by the confrontation between the Italian government and the European Commission. Shares took a hit for a fourth day running, with the banking sector sliding 6.45 percent. However, turnover was low.

Tzanakopoulos said that fluctuations are nothing new to the Greek stock market due to its traditionally low turnovers, and he took aim at opposition New Democracy, which has been at the forefront of government criticism since bank shares nosedived last week.

Low turnovers, he said, have defined the stock market for the last “five to six years” without anyone making an issue of it apart from New Democracy.

He added that ND is doing its utmost to confirm its scenarios of “doom.”

Tzanakopoulos also took a swipe at Bank of Greece Governor Yiannis Stournaras.

“When Mr Stournaras is not supposed to speak, he speaks, and it’s political, and when he has to speak up, he is silent,”  Tzanakopoulos said, adding that Stournaras should explain how he intends to solve the problem of bank share fluctuations.

Tzanakopoulos added that “this government and the Finance Ministry guarantee political, financial and fiscal stability in the best possible way,” and suggested that Stournaras should also act to secure this stability.

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