Athens Digest 04.12.2018

• Eurogroup: A night-long nail biter, but not about Greece

• Poll tracker sees conservative win in Euro-vote

• Sub-100K homes to go under the hammer

• Consumer confidence rebound settles economic sentiment

# Eurogroup ministers and institutions put in another all-nighter, but their concerns have moved past Greece. Reportedly, discussions on deepening eurozone integration forced participants to call repeated breaks, at a meeting where Greece’s first enhanced surveillance report was also on the agenda. Walking into the meetings, EC Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis again declared support for Greece’s draft budget that has omitted pension cuts. “The Greek budget is deemed to be compliant with the Stability and Growth Pact as it is in surplus and Greece is aiming to meet the primary surplus target of 3.5 percent of GDP,” Dombrovskis told reporters. You may find the Eurogroup Statement on the Draft Budgetary Plans for 2019 here. The press conference has been rescheduled and is expected to take place today at 08.45CET

# A poll tracker maintained by Politico predicts that New Democracy will be the clear winners of the European elections in Greece. The tracker, which summarizes and combines voter surveys in all EU members, suggested that New Democracy will win 10 seats with 36.79 percent of the vote, beating Syriza which had six seats from 25.4 percent. They were followed by the socialist Movement for Change picking up two seats and 7.88 percent, Golden Dawn two seats and 7.62 percent, and the Greek Communist Party (KKE) with one seat and 6.94 percent predicted support.

# Homes valued under EUR 100,000 could be put up for auction under plans being discussed by Greek banks. Mortgage protection rules for primary residences under the so-called Katselis Law will expire at the end of the year. The government has promised to extend protective measures but is finalizing new criteria that are expected to cover far fewer distressed households. Eurobank Deputy CEO Theodoros Kalantonis said that negotiations were in the final stages and that the EUR 100,000 mark had been discussed. He was speaking at a Southeast Europe-Germany business summit in Berlin organized by the Economist.

# Greece’s Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, IOBE, says the country’s economic sentiment index has stabilized, helped by a rebound in consumer confidence. The index was up a fraction in November to 101.8 from 101 a month earlier, ending the slide that occurred as Greece exited the bailout programme. The strong consumer sentiment was offset by disappointing numbers in other sectors.

On our Radar: Ouch! QCM drills into new target
After exposing financial scandal at Greek jewelry maker Folli Follie earlier this year, Gabriel Grego’s Quintessential Capital Management painted a target on cannabis firm Aphria Inc., describing the Canadian company as a “black hole for shareholders’ money.” Shares of the firm swiftly plummeted on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. According to several reports, Aphria had met Greek government officials as well as farmers in Northern Greece in early 2018 as it planned to invest EUR 1bn in the country and create up to 500 new jobs.