Monday 18 December 2017

In brief: Greeks remain wary over banking

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

As Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, inset, braces for another round of tough negotiations with creditors, savers are still reluctant to bet their money that this year's talks will be less perilous for their country's place in the Eurozone than 2015.

New data from Greece's central bank shows that deposit outflows continued in November for a second consecutive month, even as the nation's lenders plugged their capital shortfalls, and strict capital controls put in place last summer capped withdrawals and money transfers abroad.

Deposits held by households and businesses in Greek banks fell close to a 12-year low of €120.9bn in November, bringing total losses to a record of more than €43bn, or 26.4pc of total savings, in the last 12 months. Savers' distrust may derail the government's goal of lifting capital controls by the end of June. Reluctance to return deposits back to banks hinders the ability of lenders to provide credit to the economy, as the government struggles to lead Greece out of recession this year.

African market rise for exporters

Africa was the fastest growing market for Irish exporters last year with visa applications to Ghana, Kenya and Cameroon all on the rise, according to the Irish Exporters Association.

The body said it also saw a growing interest from companies looking to do business in Iran.

The top five countries for visa applications were China, India, Russia, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, it added.

Chief executive Simon McKeever said that the Irish Exporters Association has played a pivotal part in Ireland's "export miracle".

"Membership has increased in 2015 and 2016 promises further growth, particularly outside of Dublin where we are planning a major focus on regional development with the establishment of two regional boards in Munster and Connaught backed by a National Council which will accurately represent the membership in terms of size, sector and location across the country," he said.

New gloom over China output

China's first official economic report of the year suggested manufacturing weakened for a fifth straight month in December, the longest such streak since 2009.

The purchasing managers index edged up to 49.7 last month from a three-year low of 49.6 in November, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. That compared with a median estimate of 49.8 in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The non-manufacturing PMI, meanwhile, rose to 54.4, the highest since August 2014. Numbers below 50 indicate deterioration.

The slight improvement in the country's sluggish manufacturing sector follows stepped-up stimulus including six People's Bank of China interest-rate cuts. Policy makers trying to meet Premier Li Keqiang's goal of about 7pc growth this year are also facing pressure from employment, which has been steady thanks to a resilient services sector.

Irish Independent

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