Kamis, 29 Maret 2012

Greece continues to get whacked as the process of austerity wrings the country and their banks dry....

Measures to help households in need withdrawn
29 Mar 2012
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Measures designed to ease the pressure on over-indebted households, included in article 49 of the labour ministry's draft omnibus bill, were withdrawn by Labour Minister Yiorgos Koutroumanis on Thursday, after discussion on the bill had begun in Parliament.
The labour minister said that the decision to withdraw the measures was taken because consultation with the European Central Bank was continuing and that they would be re-tabled as an amendment once the ECB report on the issue was released some time next week.
The specific article introduces a series of measures to ease pressure on households with an excess debt burden, such as an extension for debt settlement, more favourable interest rates and a freeze on a debtor's main residence, as well as a ban on seizing sums less than 1,500 euro from regular bank accounts, or 2,000 euro from joint accounts.
It also introduces changes to the regime for out-of-court debt settlements and made the measures for households open to entrepreneurs that had one-person businesses and do not have the right to file for bankruptcy under the code for businesses. (AMNA)


Unemployment figures continue to paint dark image
29 Mar 2012
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Painting a dire picture of employment prospects in Greece, the European Commission's quarterly report on employment and the social situation in the European Union published on Thursday, noted that 370,000 jobs were lost in the country of roughly 11 million people during the first three quarters of 2011.
It reported a sharp increase in unemployment levels that reached as high as 21 percent in December 2011, from 14.4 percent in December 2010 and 10.3 percent in December 2009, making it the second highest in Europe after Spain (23 percent).
It noted that this was the result of the deep recession in Greece, which was estimated as 6.8 percent in 2011 and is forecast to reach 4.7 percent in 2012, which had caused the economy to shrink 15 percent since the start of the crisis.
The report also noted a 22 percent reduction in the basic wage in Greece, which rose to 32 percent for young people, and pointed to a 2.8 percent drop in productivity during the first quarter of 2011.
Worst hit by unemployment in the country are medium-skilled workers (20.1 percent against 8.7 percent in the EU27) and low-skilled workers (14.6 percent against 5.7 percent).
Long-term unemployment increased to 9.1 percent of the labour force (355 000 people) and accounts for half of the unemployed. As the economic outlook for 2012 remains pessimistic about labour market recovery, long-term unemployment is likely not to have peaked yet. Poverty among the unemployed was an issue raised by the report, given that the maximum duration of unemployment benefit in Greece is 12 months and that unemployment benefit is subject to narrow eligibility conditions.

It also noted a doubling in youth unemployment, which ended at 45 percent in the third quarter of 2011 (48 percent in November 2011) - twice as high as two years ago - and their heavy contribution to the number of long-term unemployed. In the third quarter of 2011, some 45 percent of the unemployed aged 15 to 24 were long-term unemployed, against 30 percent two years earlier.
The report highlighted low access to life-long learning in Greece, with just 3 percent of the population participating in education or training against 9 percent for the EU27 average. Participation for those aged 25-34 was 7 percent in Greece against 15 percent in the EU and dropped to just 0.5 percent for those aged 55-64 versus 4.5 percent in the EU.
Gross disposable household income decreased by 9.3 percent in 2010, with lower-income groups losing a significant proportion of their income. Households in the poorest 20 percent of the population lost an estimated 9 percent of their income, compared with 11 percent for households at the top end of the spectrum.
The overall at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate for the total population stood at 27.7 percent in 2010, higher than the EU27 average of 23.4 percent. The risk-of-poverty (income-poor) rate was 20.1 percent in 2010, following an increase from 19.7 percent in 2009, whereas the EU average is 16.4 percent. The risk of poverty for children (23 percent) is higher than the EU average which stood at 20.6 percent in 2010.
The in-work poverty rate in Greece was the second highest in the EU in 2010, while the rate of severe material deprivation stood at 11.6 percent in Greece, whereas the EU27 average was 8.1 percent in 2010.
The share of persons declaring that they were having great difficulty in making ends meet rose from 19 percent in 2007 to 24 percent in 2010 (and from 36 percent to 47 percent among those at risk of poverty). The share of people with arrears (mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase) rose from 26 percent in 2007 to 31 percent in 2010. The share unable to afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish or vegetarian equivalent every second day has risen to 8 percent of the population (6.5 percent in 2007). Homelessness is estimated to have risen by 25 percent between 2009 and 2011. (AMNA)



Banks still staying away from public lending
29 Mar 2012
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file photo

Bank lending to Greece's private sector contracted further in February as austerity measures and a drawn-out recession continued to sap demand for loans, central bank data showed on Thursday.
The Bank of Greece said credit shrank 3.8 percent on an annual basis in February, with the pace of the decline picking up slightly from January when it contracted 3.3 percent.
Bank credit to households and private non-profit institutions shrank 4.3 percent in February after a 4.1 percent drop in January. Credit to businesses dropped 2.7 percent after a 1.9 percent drop.
Greece's economy is expected to stay in recession for a fifth consecutive year in 2012 after a 6.8 percent slump last year. (reuters)

and will we finally see pushback as to the endless austerity....

GSEE appeals to CoS over bailout deal

The General Confederation of Greek Labor, the country’s main private labor union, said Thursday that it had appealed to the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, to revoke the measures set out in Greece’s second debt deal with its foreign creditors and approved by the government.
GSEE is particularly opposed to the wage and pension cuts outlined in the new agreement and has staged a series of strikes in protest, calling for these measures to be repealed.

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