15 Jun 2022

The Greek Wire - May 2022

The Greek Wire is a monthly newsletter aiming to inform you about key economic and political developments in Greece.

Greek House Davos 2022 was concluded with great success
Greek House Davos 2022 was present at Promenade 49d in Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 between 22-26 May 2022. The high-level sessions, meetings and further activities of Greek House Davos 2022 were concluded with great success with the participation of Greek The synergies and partnerships that have been achieved, the positive national and international press coverage and the valuable feedback of the institutional stakeholders and the international business community indicate that the aim to enhance Greece's presence in the environment and network of World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 has been achieved.

During his visit at the Greek House Davos, the Prime Minister of Greece Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “I think that this is a very important initiative, which aligns with the general change of the country’s image and its upgrade. This is a reality that is felt everywhere and it is very important that we have a presence, a space for meetings”

“Besides, the significance of Davos does not only lie in our public appearances. It is above all the meetings and contacts taking place in the sidelines of the activities that are included in the official program. Therefore, you should know that the government will continue to support this initiative,” continued the Prime Minister and added: “You are doing your part in the overall effort to change the country’s image, to attract investments and upgrade Greece politically and economically”.

More than 20 high-level sessions and panel discussions took place at Greek House Davos 2022. During the session on “East-West dialogue for sustainable peace and cross-cultural understanding”, the Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Promoting our European Way of Life Mr. Margaritis Schinas said: “We have to mobilize everything we have, not only investments, but also people to people engagement, and we need to get it right. I am very encouraged by the sort of engagement I saw in Davos with the UN.’’

“Greece sits in a very strategic place. I believe Greece can play a very positive role. My own feeling is that the opportunities are here, and that time is of the essence. And we need dialogue for this to happen,” added the Chairman and Managing Director of ARTOC Group for Investment and Development Mr. Shafik Gabr.

Ahead of the next WEF Annual Meeting in January 2023, Greek House Davos will continue and intensify its work as a platform for ideas and multi-stakeholder dialogue, bringing together decision-makers and the business community within and beyond Europe with the goal to promote the Greek entrepreneurship and innovation and forge partnerships for change between the public and the private sector at the domestic and the international level.

Greek GDP rises by 7%
The GDP of Greece recorded a significant growth in the 1st quarter of 2022. In terms of volume, it increased by 2.3% compared to the 4th quarter of 2021 and by 7.0% compared to the 1st quarter of 2021. The Minister of Finance Mr. Christos Staikouras spoke of a “particularly positive development” as GDP growth estimates for 2022 reach 3.1%. The Minister pointed out that the growth recorded in the 1st quarter “significantly exceeds the European average and proves that the Greek economy, despite the intensifying pressures from the energy crisis and the waves of inflation it causes, is maintaining strong momentum.”

Greece to play and important role in solving Europe’s energy crisis
Greece, an entry point for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, could play a key role in helping Europe achieve energy autonomy. The European Union has been looking for new natural gas routes and alternative energy resources as it seeks to cut reliance on Russian gas. The Prime Minister said to Reuters that “when it comes to gas from the Eastern Mediterranean, I think we need to look at all options and we need to find the most cost-effective way of transferring the gas that exists in Cyprus or Israel to the European market.” Greece has one liquefied natural gas terminal and is planning to build another two LNG facilities, one of them a floating facility close to Alexandroupolis. It has been expanding its power grid to be able to tap more into renewable energy. A gas link with Bulgaria is also expected to be ready next month.

Greeks the undisputed leaders in shipping
Greece remains the global leader in shipping. Greek shipowners control 5,514 vessels or 21% of the global fleet in deadweight ton terms. The total capacity of the Greek-owned fleet has grown by 45.8% from 2014, while since the outbreak of the pandemic its capacity has increased by 7.4%, according to the data in the annual report of the Union of Greek Shipowners. The report notes that considering the Greek-controlled fleet ships loads between third countries in more than 98% of its shipping capacity, it is the biggest cross-border forwarder in the world.

The Greek-owned fleet accounts for 59% of the European Union fleet.

Increase of Greek exports by 28.5% in April
The total value of exports-dispatches, in April 2022 amounted to 4,106.6 million Euros (4,456.4 million Dollars) in comparison to 3,195.8 million Euros (3,831.4 million Dollars) in April 2021, recording an increase of 28.5%, in Euros. The total value of imports-arrivals, in April 2022 amounted to 6,854.1 million Euros (7,393.1 million Dollars) in comparison to 5,033.6 million euros (5,998.1 million dollars) in April 2021, recording an increase, in Euros, of 36.2%.

+20.2% overall turnover in Greek retail
The Overall Turnover Index in Retail Trade in March 2022 increased by 20.2%, compared to the corresponding index of March 2021, while compared it increased by 5.6% compared to the corresponding index of February 2022. The Overall Volume Index in Retail Trade (i.e. turnover in retail trade at constant prices) in March 2022, increased by 12.3%, compared to the corresponding index of March 2021.

12-month rise of 26.2% for the Greek PPI
According to new data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority, the Overall Producer Price Index (PPI) in Industry recorded an increase of 48.8% in April 2022 compared to April 2021. The Overall PPI in April 2022 recorded an increase of 2.5% compared to March 2022. The average Overall Index for the twelve-month period from May 2021 to April 2022 increased by 26.2% in comparison to the corresponding index for the period from May 2020 to April 2021, while the decrease recorded between the previous twelvemonth periods amounted to 4.3%.

10% luxury tax on fur and silver likely to be abolished
The Finance Ministry plans a significant change in the taxation of the fur industry. There is a proposal in Parliament that is due for a plenary vote to abolish a 10% luxury tax on raw materials required in the fur industry and in silversmithing. It is “an essential step for the survival of these industries,” said Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) President Giorgos Karanikas. He noted that after having been severely affected over several economic crises, this decision will “help these two important sectors of the economy to continue their efforts to regain their competitiveness and growth prospects.”

Greece is the 5th tourist brand in the world
Greek tourism is bouncing up after the pandemic and the cruise sector is growing. Government Spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said that “Greece is the fifth tourist brand in the world,” and more specifically “the statistics of the cruise sector are impressive. According to the Thessaloniki Port Authority, cruise ship arrivals increased by 250% this week compared to an increase of 180% a few weeks ago,”.

Doha - Santorini connection creates new possibilities
A historic Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Santorini was operated by an A320 aircraft featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy Class and was welcomed by senior executives from Fraport Greece at the island’s international airport. The airline will fly three times a week (every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday) from Doha to the famous Greek island. “We feel honored that Qatar Airways’ has included Santorini in its network and is expanding its presence at the Fraport Greece-operated airports,” Fraport Greece CEO Alexander Zinell said. “Greece offers to the world some truly iconic holiday destinations and Qatar Airways now makes Santorini accessible from numerous new markets via its Doha hub,” Zinell said.

New direct flights from Toronto to Athens until October
Canadian carrier Air Transat will return to the Athens International Airport with seasonal direct flights connecting the Greek capital with Montreal and Toronto, with the period covered commencing this month until October 2022. Air Transat was named as the World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards last year. The carrier will service the routes with Airbus 330-200s.