Athens Digest 07.03.2019

• IMF’s Executive Board discussed Greece’s post programme monitoring report

• Bank of Greece drafting study on impact of plan to tackle NPLs

• Piraeus Bank CEO says four systemic banks have agreed to reduce bad loans to the tune of EUR 50 billion

# The medium term report by the IMF on the Greek economy, after its mission to Athens in late January is expected to be made public tomorrow. The report was discussed during the IMF’s Executive Board meeting yesterday. According to several reports from Washington DC, it notes Greece’s significant fiscal adjustment effort but also highlights a series of risks linked to the banking sector and the repercussions that the increase of the minimum wage will have on the economy’s competitiveness and employment.

# Meanwhile, negotiations over the plan to tackle NPLs are ongoing between the government, banks, the Bank of Greece and the institutions. The Bank of Greece is drafting a study, which is being assessed by the ECB and the institutions, on the plan’s impact on the banks.  Eurozone finance ministers will decide at Monday’s Eurogroup whether to approve a further debt relief of EUR 970m to Greece or to defer the decision.

# For his part, Piraeus Bank CEO Christos Megalou says Greece’s four systemic banks have agreed to reduce “bad debt” by EUR 50bn by the end of 2021. The bad debt, he said, amounts to almost 30-percent of Greece’s current GDP.  He added that the four banks are determined to meet, and even exceed this target. He insisted the effort will not detract banks from financing the Greek economy. “We’re willing to finance any project that is financeable,” he said.

On Our Radar: Monthly income lasts… 19 days
Three out of 10 households have an annual income of less than EUR10,000 euros, while pensions are a main source of income for almost half of all households, according to a survey by the Institute of Small Enterprises of the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE). The survey found that 43.9 percent of households reported a decline in their incomes last year compared to 2017. 48.9 percent said their income remained the same while 7.1 percent said they had seen an increase. According to the survey, 2.7 percent of the households say that their incomes do not cover their basic monthly needs. 52.5 percent say their monthly income is not enough to carry them through all 30 days. Averagely it is sufficient for 19 days per month.