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Monday, March 8, 2021

Economy: Resilience of industry and exports to the crisis

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Key sectors of the Greek economy, such as the industrial and export sectors, are showing resilience to the COVID-19 crisis.

After the fall of almost 10% recorded on an annual basis in industrial production in April, it gradually recovered from May and in July had reached approximately the levels of the corresponding month of 2019.

The course of the industry in the crisis was better than the corresponding one in the Eurozone, where, despite the recovery after the lifting of quarantine measures, production was reduced by 7,7% in July compared to a year earlier.

Greek exports began to improve in June, after plunging more than 30% in April and May due to a drop in world trade caused by the pandemic.

In July, exports were reduced by 10,1% compared to the corresponding month of 2019, but if fuel is excluded, they showed a significant increase of 9,2%, which also shows the dynamism of this sector.

At the same time, imports fell more during the crisis, with the result that the trade deficit, which is one of the determinants of GDP, fell by 17,1% in July and by 19,5% in January - July.

These developments, to which the business support measures taken by the government have contributed significantly, are mitigating the impact on the economy of the decline in tourism and some other sectors, such as catering.

The Minister of Finance, Christos Staikouras stated at the beginning of the week, that according to the current data, the recession this year will be around 8%, while he added that due to the very high uncertainty, this forecast may change.

With the current data, the recession of the Greek economy will be similar to that of the Eurozone as a whole, despite the fact that Greece has a very large tourism sector, which has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The latest forecasts from international organizations converge that the recession in the Eurozone will be slightly smaller than expected in the spring, as the economies of its countries recovered more than expected after the lifting of quarantine measures.

The OECD forecasts in its baseline scenario for the Eurozone a 7,9% recession for this year and growth of 5,1% in 2021, while the European Central Bank also forecasts in its baseline scenario a recession of 8% for this year and growth of 5,2% next year.

As they warn, however, these predictions are associated with a high degree of uncertainty as it is unknown how the pandemic will develop. In essence, these forecasts are based on the assumption that there will be no generalized quarantine measures in the near future, which will "stifle" the activity of companies, especially in the service sector.

Precursors to economic activity - such as those compiled by IHS Markit - show that the services sector, which is the largest of all eurozone economies, was affected in September by rising coronavirus cases and individual measures taken by some countries to curb them, showing signs of declining activity following the recovery in the summer months.

On the contrary, the manufacturing sector of the Eurozone seems, according to the results of the same survey, to have continued its upward trend more intensely in September.

Source: RES-EAP

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