Greek stocks ended higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, with the general index of the market ending very close to the 900-point level. The index rose 0.65 pct to end at 899.58 points. The index ended the week 0.10 pct up, rising 3.99 pct in April and 11.20 pct so far this year.
The Large Cap index ended 0.64 pct up and the Mid Cap index rose 1.20 pct. Turnvoer was 68.07 million euros in volume of 40,058,959 shares. Piraeus Bank (13.07 pct), Ellaktor (3.09 pct) and OPAP (2.43 pct) scored big gains among blue chip stocks while Eurobank (2.55 pct), TERNA Energy (0.81 pct) and National Bank (0.62 pct) suffered heavy losses. Among market sectors, Travel (2.38 pct) and Telecoms (1.64 pct) moved up, while Banks (0.39 pct) moved down.
Alpha Bank and Eurobank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 78 to 33, with another 25 issues unchanged. Epilektos (20 pct) and AAA (18.95 pct) were top gainers, while Paperpack (22.99 pct) and Yalco (14.29 pct) were top losers.
**** The government announced fresh tax breaks on Thursday in a bid to bring fresh momentum to the economy as it prepares to emerge from lockdown. The cost of the measures Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Finance Minister Christos Staikouras announced is expected to be offset by their growth multiplier.
Corporate tax is to be slashed from 24% to 22% for this year’s incomes, which will be payable next year. The measure is permanent, applying also to the following years’ incomes.
As of this year and on a permanent basis, all self-employed professionals will have their income tax deposit reduced from 100% to 55%, while corporations will this year have their income tax advance reduced to 70% for this year and 80% (from the original 100%) as of 2022.
Two measures that came into force this year for the private sector will be extended into 2022, Mitsotakis announced, these being the suspension of the solidarity levy and the reduction of social security contributions by three percentage points.
**** Greek retail sales turnover fell by 11.3 pct in February this year, compared with the corresponding period in 2020, totaling 2.1 billion euros, Hellenic Statistical Authority said in a report on Friday.
The statistics service said that turnover by retail commerce companies with mandatory book keeping was 2.4 billion euros in February 2020, while the February 2021 figures was 3.6 pct down in comparison with January 2021 (2.2 billion euros).
Companies in the categories of post, or online sales, recorded a 45.8 pct increase in sales, following by retail sales of computers and software (up 29.6 pct). On the other hand, companies in music and image saw their turnover plunge 85.3 pct, while turnover in used items stores fell 83.1 pct.
**** The Greek government deficit rose to 16.1 billion euros, or 9.7 pct of GDP, in 2020, while the country’s public debt was estimated at 341 billion euros (205.6 pct of GDP), Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday.
In a report, in the framework of the excessive deficit procedure, the statistics service said the 2020 data reflected the impact of the pandemic on the country’s fiscal condition. In ESA 2010 terms, the primary result of the Greek budget showed a deficit of 11.18 billion euros in 2020, after a primary surplus of 7.603 billion a year earlier. Greece’s gross public debt, in nominal prices, reached 341 billion euros at the end of 2020, or 205.6 pct of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
**** Consumption of natural gas continued growing in Greece in the first quarter of 2021, reflecting an expanding network in the country, DESFA said on Wednesday.
The domestic consumption of natural gas in the January-March period grew 4.56 pct to 17.64 TWh, from 16.87 TWh in the same period last year.
Natural gas imports eased to 19.16 TWh in the three-month period, from 19.82 TWh in the corresponding period last year, with the largest amounts coming from Sidirokasro (8.9 TWh) with 46.57 pct of imports, followed by Revithousa (30.37 pct). Electricity producers were the biggest consumers of natural gas, with 9.31 TWh, or 52.78 pct of demand, while consumption by households and enterprises accounted for 31 pct of demand. Domestic industries and CNG accounted for 16.39 pct of demand.
**** The Greek economy will grow by 3.5-4.0 pct this year, according to the base scenario of developments, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said in report.
The quarterly report, released on Tuesday, said that if the pandemic eased at a slower pace, hitting the tourist season, and if there were a delay in absorbing EU Recovery Funds, the economic growth rate would be slower (1.5-2.0 pct), while unemployment would be around 15.5-16.0 pct of the workforce.
Presenting the report, professor Nikos Vettas, head of IOBE, said the development and the response to the problem was not the same around the globe, with some regions moving closer to a return to normality while others remaining in a state of great difficulty. “Given the size and unprecedented characteristics of the crisis, total response cannot be judged as negative, as a vaccination progress could not be taken for granted a few months ago, while on the economic field, fiscal and monetary policies are coordinated to offer the necessary safety net,” Vettas said.
Referring to the Greek economy, Vettas said that a return to a double-deficit condition, which characterized the previous financial crisis, was a cause of concern. “An assessment of growth prospects showed a strong recovery in the second half of the year with a real growth rate of 3.5-4.0 pct, without excluding a more negative development. Deflation trends are expected to be reversed and a positive response is projected in the trade balance,” Vettas said.
**** Registered unemployment remained unchanged but the number of people receiving unemployment benefit grew by 39.14 pct in March, the Greek labour employment office OAED said in a report on Tuesday.
The report said that the number of registered unemployed people totaled 1,131,228 people in March, while the number of people receiving unemployment benefits grew 39.14 pct to 256,367 in the month. The number of registered unemployed seeking jobs was 1,086,533 in March, of which 572,645 (52.70 pct) were long-term unemployed. Men accounted for 397,113 (36.55 pct) and women 689,420 (63.45 pct).
Registered unemployed people not seeking jobs totaled 44,695 in March, of which 13,924 (31.15 pct) men and 30,771 (68.85 pct) women. The number of people receiving unemployment benefits totaled 256,367 in March.
**** Turnover by enterprises in the hospitality sector dropped 68.6 pct in February compared with the same month last year, with turnover among enterprises in the food service business falling by 55 pct in the month, Hellenic Statistical Authority said in a report on Tuesday.
For enterprises in the accomodation sector with mandatory book-keeping, accumulated turnover was 24,595,138 euros in February, down 68.6 pct from February 2020 (78,223,504 euros), while for enterprises in the food service sector accumulated turnover was 51,672,826 euros, down from 115,729,873 in February 2020.
Among the country’s regions for the accomodation sector, Thessalonki (83.9 pct) recorded the biggest decline, while Mykonos (34.1 pct) the smallest and Zakynthos reported a 17.6 pct increase. For the food service sector, Magnesia (87 pct) recorded the biggest decline while Evia the smallest (23.8 pct).
**** The turnover index in the industrial sector (measuring both the domestic and external markets) fell 2.4 pct in February this year compared with the same month in 2020, after a 2.4 pct decline recorded in the same period in 2020-2019, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.
The statistics service said that the turnover index was up 16.4 pct in February from January 2021, while the average index in the March 2020-February 2021 period fell 13.4 pct compared with the March 2019-February 2020 period.
The 2.4 pct decline in February reflected an 18 pct decline in mining turnover, a 2.2 pct decline in manufacturing turnover. The domestic market index fell 5.2 pct in February, while the external market index rose 2.3 pct in the month.
**** The board of directors of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) on Thursday short-listed seven interested parties that meet the eligibility criteria to participate in Phase B (binding offers phase) of the tender process for the acquisition of a majority stake of at least 67% of the Igoumenitsa Port Authority (OLHG), in western Greece.
The short-listed bidders, in alphabetical order, are Aegean Oil, Attica Holdings, the consortium of Archirodon Group NV with the ANEK & Trident Hellas Group, the Grimaldi Euromed-Minoan Lines consortium, Portek International Private Ltd, Quintana Infrastructure & Development, and Thessaloniki Port Authority.
After the signing of a confidentiality agreement, the pre-qualified investment schemes will receive the documents of Phase B and the bidders will be granted access to the virtual data room, where data and information related to the asset will be uploaded.
OLHG was granted the right to exclusively use and operate the buildings, land and facilities of the land-side zone of the port of Igoumenitsa, the fishing shelter of Sagiada, the fishing shelter of Plataria and the pleasure boat shelter of Sivota by virtue of a concession agreement with the state.