Athens Digest 01.05.2019

• Relief or restructuring? Competing demands for surplus overrun

• T-Bill auction the latest positive signal for Greek debt market

• Bank deposits back up after two-month dip

• Labour Day: Share of self-employed highest in Greece

# With the Orthodox Easter holiday over, voters are waiting to see what the government will offer in terms of spending measures, based on promises made by officials and leaks to the news media. Those promises include a more generous installment scheme to cover unpaid taxes. Despite the pledges of pre-election tax relief, the Finance Ministry in its latest economic bulletin said cash left over from the primary surplus overrun “could now be used to restructure the public debt through the early repayment of the most expensive segments of the official sector debt, to support potential NPL reduction schemes, and to shield Greece against future fiscal risks that may emerge from a global economic slowdown.”

# The yield on six-month treasury bills has fallen further, to 0.46 percent from 0.58 percent at the previous auction on April 6. The Public Debt Management Agency announced the results of yesterday’s auction for EUR 875 million. Bids totalled EUR  1.375 million _ or 1.57 times the offered amount _ and an additional EUR 262.5 million was accepted in non-competitive bids. It was the latest positive signal from Greece’s debt markets, as the yield on the 10-year government bond edged further downwards to 3.37 percent.

# Household and commercial bank deposits rose in March to EUR 133.44 billion from EUR 132.18 billion the previous month, the Bank of Greece said. The figure follows two months of decline but is in line with a wider trend of deposit inflows. Most of the March increase came from business.

# Greece has the highest percentage of workers who are categorised as self-employed among the nations of the European Union, according to data released by Eurostat ahead of International Workers’ Day. In 2018, the number of self-employed people in Greece reached 30 percent, followed by Italy at 22 percent, Poland at 18 percent, and Romania at 17 percent (EU average: 14 percent). The most popular jobs among the self-employed were classed as professionals at 22 percent, in sales and services at 16 percent, trades workers at 15 percent, and agriculture-related at 14 percent.

On our Radar: Syriza calls Venezuela uprising ‘undemocratic interference’
Greece’s governing Syriza party late last night condemned the opposition-backed armed uprising against the Maduro government in Venezuela as “undemocratic interference against the elected Venezuelan government,” adding that the international community had a “duty” to try and seek a democratic and negotiated settlement to the crisis.