April retail sales post 14 percent drop
Greek retail sales by volume fell 14.2 percent year-on-year in April after a revised 5.9 percent drop in the previous month, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said yesterday. Austerity measures imposed by the debt-laden country’s foreign lenders and record unemployment have hurt private consumption, the main driver of its economy. Retail sales by volume fell 12 percent in 2012, bringing the sector’s total contraction in 2009-2012 to 34 percent. showed on Thursday. Bank of Greece data showed deposits increased to 163.39 billion euros at the end of May from 162.29 billion at the end of April, when they registered their biggest drop since June 2012. Greek banks lost about a third of their deposits after the country’s debt crisis erupted in late 2009, partly due to capital flight on fears of a eurozone exit. More than 17 billion euros have returned to the banking system since mid-June last year when the election of a pro-bailout government eased fears Greece would leave the eurozone. The inflows, still a fraction of the 90 billion that fled during the debt crisis, help to ease Greek banks’ liquidity strains and reduce their dependence on central bank funding.
Greece’s bank rescue fund picked a former Credit Suisse investment banker to run Eurobank on Thursday, aiming to reprivatize the country’s fourth-largest lender and recoup funds it injected to plug its capital hole. Eurobank was the only one of Greece’s four major lenders to fall under the full control of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), a rescue vehicle financed from Greece’s EU-IMF bailout package, after it was recapitalized. At the annual shareholders meeting, HFSF named Christos Megalou to take over from Nick Nanopoulos as chief executive and businessman George David, a major shareholder in bottler Coca-Cola HBC (CCHBC), as the new board chairman for a threeyear term.
BoC cannot fail.
Bank of Cyprus Pcl, the lender forced to impose losses on uninsured depositors in return for the country’s 10-billion-euro bailout, must emerge stronger from the financial crisis, an independent adviser on the Cyprus banking system said. Bank of Cyprus’s absorption of second-biggest lender Cyprus Popular Bank Pcl is a “difficult merger which contains considerable execution risk,” according to a report issued on Thursday by the Independent Commission on the Future of the Cyprus Banking Sector. “Everyone has got to put a full effort into making a success of this merger, because if it fails one doesn’t really want to think what the consequences of that will be,” David Lascelles, the commission’s chairman, said in an interview in Nicosia. “Bank of Cyprus could emerge in a year and a half or two years as a very strong bank.”
Simos Anastasopoulos is the new head of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce. He is also the president and chief executive of N. Petsiavas SA and has been a member of the chamber’s executive committee for the last six years.