Athens Digest 26.10.2018

BREAKING: No major damage or injury was reported following a magnitude-6.4 earthquake west of the island of Zakynthos that struck overnight causing power outages and damage to property and local infrastructure. The undersea quake that occurred at 01.45 local time sent residents of the island’s main town into the streets, with many spending the night in their cars. It was followed by several powerful aftershocks and initial concern over indications of altered sea levels. The quake jolted Athens and was felt across the region. Schools on the island will be closed today.

• Something’s Gotta Give: Tax slip and growth projections dent optimism

• Slowdown warning from Citi

• Greece tops Juncker-Plan investment chart

# The 2019 budgetary space _ needed to scrap legislated pension cuts_ remains a concern for the European institutions. Weak tax collection data in September and forecasts for lower-than-expected growth next year make discussions on the suspension of the cuts difficult. The European Commission will reportedly wait for more input about the implementation of 2018 budget. According to sources, meeting 2019 fiscal targets without the pension cuts requires cancellation of countermeasures and probably scaling back some of the relief measures that PM Tsipras announced just last month at the Thessaloniki International Fair.

# High fiscal targets will hit growth starting next year and keep Greek bonds below investment grade through 2022, a Citibank report has warned. After 2 percent growth this year, Citi’s forecast for the next four years is: 1.6 percent in 2019, 1.3 percent in 2020 and 2021, and 1.4 percent in 2022.

# Greece has topped an investment table under the European Fund for Strategic Investments aimed at speeding up the bloc’s financial recovery. European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said Greece has received a total of EUR 2.7 billion euros under EFSI, and is set to trigger EUR 10.9 billion in additional investments _ the highest level relative to the size of the country’s GDP. Programme-funded projects include high-speed broadband services, wind farms in central Greece, and olive oil production.

On our Radar: Slow climb for female executives
Women have just 13 percent of senior executive positions in Greece’s large companies, and 26 percent in medium-sized enterprises, a new study has found, showing an incremental improvement from previous surveys. The ICAP study found that companies with women in top positions were generally more profitable: In 2016 they achieved a gross profit margin of 28.1 percent, compared to the general average of 23.6 percent, and a net profit margin of 4.7 percent, compared to 2.8 percent for all enterprises.