Greek stocks ended slightly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange in subdued trading conditions on Friday. The general index of the market eased 0.55 pct to end at 864.69 points, for a loss of 1.78 pct in the week. The index is down 2.03 pct in November but gains 40.99 pct so far this year.
The Large Cap index eased 0.68 pct and the Mid Cap index fell 1.52 pct. Turnover was 35.089 million euros in volume of 21,962,122 shares.
Titan (2.66 pct), Jumbo (0.72 pct) and GEK Terna (0.45 pct) scored big gains among blue chip stocks, while Alpha Bank (3.63 pct), National Bank (3.03 pct) and Ellaktor (2.53 pct) ended lower. Among market sectors, Constructions (1.12 pct) and Personal Products (0.57 pct) moved higher, while Financial Services (2.75 pct) and Banks (2.35 pct) lost ground. Eurobank and MIG were the most heavily traded securities of the day.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 64 to 36 with another 24 issues unchanged. Minerva (10 pct) and Newsphone Hellas (6.76 pct) were top gainers, while Progressive (20 pct) and MIG (8.44 pct) were top losers.
Greek bond market closing report
Greek state bond prices eased and yield rose in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Friday, in what traders called a normal correction after the previous days’ rally of prices.
The 10-year bond yield rose to 1.32 pct from 1.23 pct on Thursday, while the five-year bond yield rose to 0.48 pct from 0.41 pct. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bond jumped to 1.62 pct from 1.48 pct, with the German Bund yielding 0.26 pct. Turnover was 38 million euros of which only 2.0 million were buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were mixed. The 12-month rate was -0.270 pct, the six-month rate was -0.334 pct, the three-month rate was -0.40 pct and the one-month rate was -0.45 pct.
**** The Greek annual inflation rate remained in negative territory in October, falling by 0.7 pct after a 0.1 pct decline recorded in September and a 1.8 pct increase recorded in October last year, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Friday.
The statistics service attributed this development in the consumer price index to the following changes in the groups of goods and services: price decline of 1.6 pct in food/beverage, 0.5 pct in clothing/footwear, 2.4 pct in housing, 2.4 pct in durable goods, 0.2 pct in transport, 1.9 pct in entertainment and 1.3 pct in other goods and services. On the other hand, prices rose 0.2 pct in alcohol/tobacco, 1.8 pct in health, 2.6 pct in communications, 0.6 pct in education and 0.1 pct in hotel/restaurants.
**** Greek industrial production rose 1.2 pct in September compared with the same month last year, while manufacturing production rose strongly by 4.5 pct in the same period, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Friday. The statistics service said the industrial production index was up 3.3 pct in the same period in 2018/2017.
The September figure reflected a 4.5 pct increase in manufacturing production (food production up 11.1 pct, tobacco up 12.8 pct, printing 12.4 pct, pharmaceuticals 28.3 pct, electrical equipment 26.3 pct) and a 1.3 pct rise in water production in the month. On the other hand, mining production fell 1.9 pct and electricity production was down 9.4 pct. The average industrial production index rose 0.8 pct in the January-September period, compared with the corresponding period in 2018.
**** The Greek unemployment rate fell to 16.7 pct of the workforce in August this year, down from 18.9 pct in August 2018 and 16.9 pct in July 2019, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday. The statistics service, in a monthly report, said the number of unemployed people totaled 788,287, down 110,162 from August 2018 and down 9,932 from July. The number of employed people in the country totaled 3,922,523, up 69,892 from August 2018 and up 10,386 from July 2019.
The unemployment rate among women was 20.7 pct in August, from 23.6 pct in August last year, while among men it fell to 13.6 pct from 15.1 pct, respectively. The 15-24 age group recorded the highest unemployment rate (33.1 pct in August, 37.6 pct in August 2018), followed by the 25-34 age group (22.4 pct from 24.5 pct), the 35-44 age group (14.8 pct from 17 pct), the 45-54 age group (13.7 pct from 15.7 pct), the 55-64 age group (13.3 pct form 15 pct) and the 65-74 age group (10.8 pct from 10 pct). Among the country’s regions, Thessaly-Central Greece (21.7 pct in August from 18.5 pct in August last year) recorded the highest unemployment rate, followed by Epirus-West Macedonia (20.5 pct from 23 pct), Macedonia-Thrace (18.1 pct from 19.3 pct), Peloponnese-West Greece-Ionian Islands (16.9 pct from 19.2 pct), Attica (16 pct from 19.6 pct), Aegean (15.2 pct from 18.3 pct) and Crete (11.4 pct from 13 pct).
**** The Greek trade deficit grew 2.3 pct in September despite a 6.1 pct increase in exports, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday. The statistics service, in a monthly report on merchandise trade, said that the value of import-arrivals totaled 4.72 billion euros in September, from 4.513 billion in September 2018, for an increase of 4.6 pct (excluding oil products, imports grew 12.1 pct while excluding oil products and ships imports rose 12.4 pct). The value of export-deliveries totaled 2.836 billion euros, from 2.672 billion September 2018, for an increase of 6.1 pct (excluding oil products, exports rose 8.4 pct while excluding oil products and ships, exports rose 8.8 pct). As a result, the trade deficit widened to 1.884 billion euros in September, from 1.841 billion in September 2018, for an increase of 2.3 pct (excluding oil products, the trade deficit rose 16.8 pct while excluding oil products and ships the trade deficit grew 17.2 pct).
**** The Greek economy is expected to grow by 1.8 pct this year, the European Commission said in its autumn forecasts released here on Thursday. The EU’s executive body said it expected the Greek GDP to grew by 2.3 pct in 2020 and by 2.0 pct in 2021.
The Commission forecasts a decline in the unemployment rate to 17.3 pct of the workforce in 2019, falling to 15.4 pct in 2020 and to 14 pct in 2021, while on employment, the Commission forecasts a steady increase by 2.2 pct in 2019 and 2020 and by 1.4 pct in 2021. The general government’s surplus is projected to reach 1.3 pct of GDP in 2019, 1.0 pct in 2020 and 1.1 pct in 2021, while the country’s public debt is forecast to reach 175.2 pct of GDP in 2019, falling to 169.3 pct in 2020 and 163.1 pct in 2021. The annual inflation rate is expected to reach 0.5 pct in 2019, 0.6 pct in 2020 and 0.9 pct in 2021, while investments are expected to rise by 10.1 pct this year, 12.5 pct in 2020 and 8.1 pct in 2021.
**** The Greek government continued borrowing at negative interest for the second time during Wednesday’s auction of three-month T-bills. The interest of the yield was set at -0.08 pct from -0.02 pct in the previous auction of same issue last year. The Public Debt Management Authority said the auction raised 487.5 million euros, with bids submitted totaling 1.209 billion euros, 3.22 times more than asked sum. Today’s auction result reflects a very positive climate prevailing in capital markets over Greek state securities, as shown in a plunge of yields in 10-year Greek state bonds.
**** Greek economic growth slowed in the first half of the year affected by external factors, the European Commission said in its autum forecast report released on Thursday.
“Economic growth slowed in the first half of the year but is expected to remain resilient to difficulties and a weaker external environment,” the European Commission said in its introductory chapter for Greece, adding: “A recovery currently underway is likely to be supported by profits in exports and fiscal policy measures aimed to strengthen investments and lower labour cost. The general government surplus is projected to reach record-levels in 2019 for the fourth successive year, facilitating a more rapid reduction of public debt. Greece is expected to achieved its agreed fiscal targets while it will also improve the quality of its finances”.
The Commission noted that real GDP growth slowed to 1.5 pct in the first half of 2019 as an inadequate performance in the first quarter (1.1 pct) was the result of a decline in net exports and public spending. This was partly reversed in the second quarter (1.19 pct), but overall GDP growth remained below the 2018 average. “Despite higher available incomes through an improvement of conditions in the labour market, private consumption fell -0.1 pct in the first half of 2019 compared with the same period last year, but it is expected to accelerate in the seonc half,” the Commission said. It added that a subdued economic prospect for the Eurozone economy is expected to moderate export growth. However, it stressed that the impact could not be so strong thanks to stable profits in the market from Greek exports, while changes in taxation combined with social policy measures were expected to support investments and employment growth. in this framework, the Commission expects the Greek GDP to grow by 2.3 pct in 2020 but to slow to 2.0 pct in 2021.
Employment is projected to rise by 2.0 pct in 2019 and 2020 and to moderate in 2021, with the unemployment rate falling to 14 pct of the workforce in 2021, the report said, adding that the inflation rate was revised down to 0.5 pct in 2019 because of a reduction of VAT in the second quarter and a lower-than-expected increase in oil prices. The Commission noted that any risks to the country’s economic outlook were related with “a slowdown in external demand and a persistent under-execution of the state budget on the public investment leg”. “Positive prospects are related with a remarkable improvement in business and consumer sentiment, while needs to be followed by significant rise in spending. Improved access in funding and borrowing from banks will give a further boost to growth,” the Commission report said.
Greece is projected to reach a record-surplus of 1.3 pct of GDP in 2019, the fourth year of surpluses, while the primary surplus is projected to reach 3.8 pct of GDP this year (the Commission noted that this forecast was based on a hypothesis that spending for PPC will be covered by the capital buffer. The report also noted that a social policy package was accompanied by measures ensuring fiscal neutrality, supported better collection of indirect taxes and revised higher spending limits. “Greece is expected to achieve its primary surplus goals in 2020 and 2021,” the Commission said.