UNFOLDING GREEK TRAGEDY

Dozens of businesses closing down every day as people have less cash

A shopkeeper waiting for customers outside his shop in Athens. According to the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce, the economic uncertainty has meant an average of 59 businesses closing down every 24 hours in recent months.
A shopkeeper waiting for customers outside his shop in Athens. According to the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce, the economic uncertainty has meant an average of 59 businesses closing down every 24 hours in recent months.PHOTO: REUTERS

The Greek economy has shrunk by 25 per cent since 2010, after the country became the epicentre of Europe's debt crisis. It sank into a fresh recession this year after a brief recovery last year.

The rapidly deteriorating conditions have led to dozens of businesses closing down every day. Revenues and profit margins have been hit hard as Greeks have less and less to spend.

The National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce says the uncertainty has meant an average of 59 businesses closing down every 24 hours in recent months, along with €22.3 million (S$33.6 million) being wiped from the economy every day.

Greece's small enterprises are facing even more pressure as the flow of cash dries up and Greeks cut back on non-essential expenditure and keep cash purchases to a minimum.

Businesses are having to pay expenses like rent, utility bills and salaries entirely in cash, as the banks are shuttered.

CASH FLOW DRYING UP

Greece's small enterprises are facing even more pressure as the flow of cash dries up and Greeks cut back on non-essential expenditure and keep cash purchases to a minimum. Businesses are having to pay expenses like rent, utility bills and salaries entirely in cash, as the banks are shuttered.

However, some businesses have thrived despite the economic turmoil - those selling essentials, for instance, are doing a roaring trade.

The Guardian reported "mayhem" in some supermarkets over the past few days.

The newspaper said that "panicked buyers were snapping up everything in sight, not least staple foods such as sugar and flour".

Even if Greek and European leaders manage to agree on a temporary bailout at their negotiations in Brussels this weekend, it will take much longer to overhaul Greece's economy and keep its government from insolvency.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2015, with the headline 'Dozens of businesses closing down every day as people have less cash'. Print Edition | Subscribe