Mar­ket ex­pects prod­uct short­ages in Septem­ber due to im­port drop

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY DIM­I­TRA MANIFAVA

The lo­cal mar­ket is ex­pect­ing to face short­ages this Septem­ber in all sec­tors ex­cept for food and drugs, as the lack of raw ma­te­ri­als, or their slow rate of im­port, is ham­per­ing pro­duc­tion.

Although the sit­u­a­tion af­ter the re­cent eas­ing of cap­i­tal con­trols has im­proved com­pared to the first few weeks of July, raw ma­te­rial im­ports con­tinue at a very slow pace, with en­trepreneurs say­ing that “the dam­age is al­ready done and we are just try­ing to min­i­mize the con­se­quences.”

The prob­lem for lo­cal in­dus­tries is even big­ger be­cause of the fact that the for­eign com­pa­nies which sup­ply them usu­ally shut down or slow down work in Au­gust. At the same time, Greek en­ter­prises, 50 per­cent of which forced their staff to take leave in July be­cause busi­ness was slow, will have to op­er­ate as nor­mal in Au­gust.

The num­bers show clearly why the ab­sence of raw ma­te­ri­als will cre­ate short­ages in the lo­cal mar­ket. Greece is self-suf­fi­cient in raw ma­te­ri­als by just 20 per­cent and has to im­port goods that cost on aver- age 3.5 bil­lion eu­ros per month. The in­crease to the in­ter­na­tional pay­ment ap­proval limit to 100,000 eu­ros for last week meant that the daily amount of im­ports made reached 20 mil­lion eu­ros, against 14 mil­lion eu­ros be­fore that mea­sure.

At that rate the value of im­ports will drop to just half a bil­lion eu­ros per month and can­not reach a to­tal of 1 bil­lion eu­ros even af­ter adding the spe­cial ap­provals by the Bank­ing Trans­ac­tion Ap­proval Com­mit­tee of the State Gen­eral Ac­count­ing Of­fice and the im­ports cov­ered by funds that Greek im­porters have in for­eign banks.

The pres­i­dent of the Greek In­ter- na­tional Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion (SEVE), Kyr­i­akos Lo­ufakis, told Kathimerini that im­ports in July are es­ti­mated to have reached just about half of their amount in July 2014, when ac­cord­ing to the Hel­lenic Sta­tis­ti­cal Au­thor­ity they had come to 4.3 bil­lion eu­ros. At the same time ex­ports may well post a de­crease that will be above 10 per­cent.

Even if the cap­i­tal con­trols were to be lifted now, the re­main­ing busi­nesses would have to re­draft their strat­egy on the ba­sis that a ma­jor part of their turnover has been lost, ex­ceed­ing 40 per­cent in most cases.

In­dus­tries will have to re­draft their strat­egy af­ter a huge loss in turnover.

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