A statue of the Greek goddess Athena and the country's nationalflag at Athens University. Greece's unemployment rate increased to21.9 percent in March, up from 21.4 percent in February, thecountry's statistics agency said on Thursday. Kostas Tsironis /Bloomberg Greece may face shortages of imported food and drugs aftertrade-credit insurers announced they won't cover new contractsbecause of concern about a possible default or euro exit. "The cancellation of insurance coverage, from June and on, willlead to the first shortages in late summer or September with moreharmful consequences during winter," said Valia Aranitou, who headsthe Institute of Commerce and Services at Greece's NationalConfederation of Trade. Euler Hermes SA and Atradius NV, the world's two biggesttrade-credit insurers, announced last week that they will stopcovering shipments of goods to Greece. |
The lack of export insurance, which pays companies if customersdefault, raises the chances that certain goods will no longer reachGreek companies and stores. Businesses that import raw materials, automotive fuels, foodproducts and pharmaceuticals face the "threat of total collapseconcerning the domestic market and scarcity for a large amount ofproducts", Aranitou said. No severe shortages have been reported sofar, she said. Greece is holding a second election on June 17 after a vote on May6 failed to produce a government, fanning concern that the countrymay be forced out of the eurozone. Euler Hermes said it will no longer cover shipments of goods toGreece because of the risks of the nation leaving the euro andcustomers defaulting.
France's Coface said it's doing business onlywith "the healthiest Greek companies". Imports in the three months through March 31, excluding the valueof ships, dropped 6.3 percent to 9.6 billion euros ($12 billion)from the year-earlier period, according to Hellenic StatisticalAuthority data released on May 28. Greece's trade deficit in the same period narrowed to 4 billioneuros from 6.5 billion euros. Greece's unemployment rate shot up to 21.9 percent in March, risingsharply from 15.7 percent in the same month last year and up from21.4 percent in February, the country's statistics agency said onThursday. Young people have been the most affected by the job losses, withmore than half - 52.8 percent - of those in the 15-24 age group outof work in March, compared with 42 percent in the same month lastyear.
An index measuring short-term economic trends slipped to 76 from77.3 in April, the Athens-based Foundation for Economic &Industrial Research said in a report on Thursday. Sentiment in the industrial sector dropped to 77.1 from 81.6, whilein the construction industry it fell to 36.5 from 40.8. Consumer confidence improved to minus 75.8 from minus 78.7, and inthe retail industry it improved to 58.2 from 52.4, the foundationsaid.
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