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JakeS:

[If someone who can read Greek could dig up some import and export data, it would help to qualify this discussion.]

I do not read Greek, but there is some data floating around in english.

Greek GDP:
CIA - The World Factbook

$302 billion (2010 est.)

EU's contribution:
CIA - The World Factbook

Greece is a major beneficiary of EU aid, equal to about 3.3% of annual GDP

Exports:
CIA - The World Factbook

$21.14 billion (2010 est.)
 $21.34 billion (2009 est.)

 Exports - commodities
food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles

Imports:
CIA - The World Factbook

$44.9 billion (2010 est.)
$64.2 billion (2009 est.)

 Imports - commodities
 machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals

And an old data point that might still be relevant:

Greece is the Third Biggest Arms Importer

Biggest Importers (Million $)

India 2,400
China 2,300
Greece 1,434

With a 20 billion trade deficit, cutting 1,5 is not the final solution, but it is a start. And considering how intertvined high politics and weapons sales are, a start that would be felt in the right circles.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:17:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find the fact that imports dropped by something on the order of a quarter between 2009 and '10 to be encouraging. That looks like there's considerable elasticity in the imports.

Of course, it may well be that that was the low-hanging fruit and they're about to hit bedrock [Jake's Mixed Metaphor TechnologyTM]

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:32:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For mixed metaphors, you can issue a [Moustache of Understanding Alert] .

Economics is politics by other means
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:43:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I realised something.

Considering that Greece has 15% of GDP from tourism, is not current accout more relevant then trade balance?

Then instead of a trade deficit of 23 billion USD in 2010 (43 billion 2009), we are looking at 17 billion current account deficit in 2010 (34 in 2009).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 03:08:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tourism should enter into the balance of trade.

Current accounts, on the other hand, include interest payments, some of which would, obviously, cease. Unless I am mistaken on the English translations of the terminology.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 07:05:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually current accounts balance includes balance in services (that means tourism and shipping as well if I'm not mistaken - a big deal), incomes, capital transfers etc. Here's the Bank of Greece's latest (January 11) report on the current account balance.

Note also that less than half of that 15%GDP for tourism is foreign tourism. And while foreign tourism could indeed boom under a cheaper currency, domestic tourism would tank (actually is tanking already)

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:11:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know what "EU aid" includes but Greece received a net ~1.3% of GDP from the EU budget in 2009, (half of what it received in 2008 btw) and that's where it still is if I'm not mistaken...

Export of goods is booming, relatively speaking (which means returning to pre-2008 levels) and import of goods is declining. That's the only good news there is, but this year's petroleum cost increases alone are larger than the decline of the non-oil trade deficit

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Apr 5th, 2011 at 08:20:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can find Greek statistics at www.statistics.gr. It's the official site of the Hellenic (i.e. Greek) Statistical Authority. Everything is in English, too. You can subscribe for free and have access to data and series. Also, you can access statistics of the Bank of Greece (www.bankofgreece.gr), where everything is in English, too.

"Eurozone leaders have turned a 50bn Greek solvency problem into a 1,000bn existential crisis for the European Union." David Miliband
by Kostis Papadimitriou on Wed Apr 13th, 2011 at 05:37:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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