|January – August||August|
|Revenue from abroad|
|Services (e. g. tourism)||23,9||19,0||4,0||4,0|
|Total revenue from abroad||45,9||39,4||6,2||6,7|
|Services (e. g. tourism)||11,2||8,5||1,2||1,0|
|Other expense (e. g. interest)||10,7||4,3||0,9||0,4|
|Total expenses abroad||67,7||44,0||6,3||5,1|
|Net foreign deficit (current account)||-21,8||-4,6||-0,1||1,6|
On the revenue side, the most important observation is that revenues from services were almost 5 BEUR lower in 2012 than in 2008. That category is largely comprised of revenues from tourism. That is something which would need to be researched in detail because, with its importance for Greece, if tourism ever got into trouble, that would really spell trouble for Greece (please note that if Greece had had the same revenues from services in 2012 as in 2008, the current account 2012 would have been in surplus for year-to-date).
On the expense side, service expenses are also significantly lower which could indicate that Greece might have foreigners spending less money in Greece but, at least, Greeks are also spending less money on tourism abroad.
Very significiant is the 10,4 BEUR decline in other expenses. Presumably, much of that is due to lower interest expense reflecting the lower interest rates after the rescheduling of earlier this year as well as the impact of the PSI.
On the trade balance, exports were 7% higher in 2012 than in 2008. That is not really cause for jubilation. Considering that the Euro traded much lower against third currencies than in 2008 and considering that, after 2 years of cost-cutting, Greece has already become quite a bit more competitive, one could have expected exports to rise significantly more.
The real bombshell is imports which were 34% lower in 2012 than in 2008. That translated into approximately 15 BEUR of less spending abroad. Congratulations! At the same time, it is clear that with contracting demand, spending on products not only delinces domestically but also internationally. This is why Greece should use the time of depression to increase domestic production capabilities so that future demand can be more sourced domestically.
The figures for August 2012 are commented by the Bank of Greece in this press release. In essence, there has been improvement in most categories relative to the previous year. Again, one soft point is revenues from tourism. This only underlines the need to look into this issue in further detail.