Athens Digest 26.07.2018

• Aid ramped up as Greek rescuers search gutted homes for bodies

• Commission denies austerity targeted fire surveillance

• Deposits rise for fifth straight month, says BoG

• Attica Bank picks Pimco for second bad-loan deal

# The search for bodies at burned out homes around Rafina has raised the death toll to 81, with divers and Fire Service crews set to widen the effort this morning. Less than half of the bodies found have been identified so far, while more than 60 people remain hospitalized. The government announced an additional series of relief measures, including EUR 5,000 payouts for affected households and EUR 8,000 for businesses. In Brussels, flags flew at half-mast at EU buildings. Commission spokesman Alex Winterstein said Europe’s Copernicus satellite system had been activated for Greece while additional support from Romania, Italy and Cyprus (firefighting plans and personnel) had been received. Christos Stylianides, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, was in Athens to help coordinate the EU assistance.

# The EU Commission has denied reports that the Greek adjustment programme pulled money out of the country’s fire surveillance budget. Christian Spahr, a Commission spokesman for financial issues, said the Greek firefighting budget had increased slightly between 2010-18 and noted that staffing had been exempt from hiring attrition rules. “While the institutions agree on overall fiscal targets with the Greek authorities in context with the stability support programme, the allocation of budget resources including to emergency services remains the responsibility of the Greek authorities,” Spahr said.

Bank of Grreece announced that In June 2018, the annual growth rate of total credit extended to the economy stood at -2.4 percent from -3.2 percent in the previous month, while the monthly net flow was positive at EUR 613 million, compared with a negative net flow of EUR 831 million in the previous month. The annual growth rate of total deposits stood at 10.0 percent from 10.1 percent in the previous month and the monthly net flow was positive at EUR 884 million, compared with a positive net flow of EUR 1,434 million in May 2018.

# Attica Bank has announced it will award a second “bad debt” portfolio to Pimco. The portfolio contains EUR 700.5 million of non-performing exposures. The move reduces Attica’s non-performing exposures considerably, from 37 percent to 20 percent. Last year, the bank approved the transfer of loans worth EUR 1.3 billion euros to Aldridge. Attica Bank is considered to be a non-systemic bank, and is significantly smaller than the top four lenders.

On our Radar: Reparation claims “active”
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos says claims for German war reparations and the repayment of a forced wartime loan remain “active” and “legally achievable.” Pavlopoulos made the remarks in a written statement to mark the anniversary of the Nazi massacre of civilians at Mousiotitsa in northwestern Greece. 152 civilians were executed on July 25, 1943 in reprisals for guerrilla activity. The President did not attend the commemoration events in person because of the official mourning declared for the deadly fires outside Athens. Germany has repeatedly dismissed the Greek reparation claims _ in a spat that intensified during the bailout years _ insisting it has already honored its post-war obligations.