THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE GREEK ECONOMY: NEW ATRADIUS REPORT

Economists from trade credit insurer Atradius report that the year ahead holds a mixed outlook for industries in Greece following another international bailout.

In a new country report on Greece, Atradius forecasts growth across selected sectors including tourism, packaging and international transportation following an expected rebound this year. Exports of agricultural goods such as olive oil, vegetables and fruit, as well as petroleum, pharmaceuticals and aluminum products are also expected to increase, benefiting from higher external demand and the country’s improved international competitiveness compared with some European peers like Portugal and Spain.

However, Atradius warns that the forecast outlook for other industries including construction, construction materials, textiles and financing remains tense. More positively, economists expect to see a 2% decrease in business insolvencies in 2017, following on from yearly increases since 2008. However, the insolvency level remains more than five times higher than pre-crisis levels (prior to 2008). Across the sectors, food and IT/electronics are expected to record declining business failures while insolvencies in the construction, textiles and machines sectors are forecast to remain high with no decrease in insolvencies expected.

The Atradius country report follows the news in June that Eurozone finance ministers agreed to provide Greece with another €8.5bn from the international bailout fund. Austerity measures in Greece, alongside the current bailout scheme and capital controls restrain economic growth.

Tanya Giles, Atradius Regional Manager commented: “Greece has continued to hit headlines over its economic crisis and, unsurprisingly, this had led to a degree of caution amongst British businesses about trading within the country. However, despite the negative picture there are opportunities for successful trade, providing that exporters are well prepared. There are pockets of positivity with open doors to international trade, the British brand is regarded strongly in Greece and with the weakening of the pound against the euro over the last year British products and services are perceived to be more competitive.

“Trading overseas demands a robust risk and credit management strategy; be prepared and businesses can seize opportunities for new partnerships, customers and growth. As standard, businesses need to develop a comprehensive knowledge of the market, not just identifying demand but understanding its economic stability, legal framework and business culture. Armed with the right information and tools businesses can reap the benefits of international trade.”