Thursday, 6 March 2014

A few good signs

Some rosy-fingered signs of recovery attended the Greek economy this week.

Unemployment is steady at 27.5 percent for December, after posting at 27.6 percent for the previous month, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority, Elstat.

On Tuesday the country's Public Debt Management Agency sold 1.137bn euros' worth of six-month treasury bills at the lower than expected rate of 3.6 percent, versus four percent paid last month, suggesting that Greece is indeed slowly making its way back to financial markets for longer-term paper as planned this year.

Finally, industrial production was slightly up in December by 0.5 percent, and manufacturing has continued to improve in January and February, suggesting that Greece has clawed back some of its lost competitiveness.

No-one in their right mind would suggest that Greece is out of the woods yet. Youth unemployment is at 55 percent. The country still can't persuade its flagship industry, shipping, to keep its oceangoing fleet on the Greek registry (Greeks have been putting their ships under foreign flags).

Nonetheless, the first step to recovery must be a reversal of downward trends, and the signs are increasing that that reversal is gradually approaching. 

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