August 2015 – GREECE – Leaving a meeting with chief negotiators from Greece’s creditors – the European Union, European Central Bank and global Monetary Fund – Tsakalotos told journalists the talks were going “at least as well as we expected”. The four-and-a-half “systemic banks” have sustained incalculable (for the moment) losses and the means of their recapitalization is being discussed. Greek stocks rallied slightly Monday, down 16% at the close of trading, after immediately plunging by just under 23% when the exchange reopened after a break of more than a month. Greece’s stock market closed with heavy losses yesterday after a five-week shutdown brought on by fears that the country was about to be dumped from the eurozone. By contrast, the broad European FTSEurofirst 300 index was in positive territory for the day.
“The market is looking for the bottom, we are not far away from it”, said Alexander Moraitakis, head of Athens-based Nuntius Securities. Greece’s banking stocks plunged for the second day in a row on Tuesday, holding down the main Athens index which otherwise turned the corner after the previous day’s record rout. Eurobank and Alpha Bank both ended a smidgen less than 30 percent lower. Greeks are still limited to withdrawing €420 a week in cash. The National Bank of Greece was, however, down only 1.66 per cent. Foreign investors are free to trade however they want. Banks, gaming giant OPAP, main electricity provider PPC, top telecoms operator OTE and leading refiners HELPE suffered the most for they lost nearly 30% in the opening of the market. Five of the category’s 29 funds have some Greek stocks, mostly shipping companies.
“Under rules announced last week, stocks exhibiting extreme volatility were halted sooner than normal, while would-be buyers had to raise money from places other than their bank accounts due to capital controls implemented last month”, according to Bloomberg. Bank shares were particularly hard-hit, sinking some 30 percent after the Athens bourse opened for the first time since the government imposed capital controls to prevent a bank run and stave off financial collapse at the height of its standoff with EU-IMF creditors over a new bailout. But implementation of the deal is some way off, keeping alive the threat of political and economic instability. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is facing strong opposition to the new bailout from within his Syriza party. Meanwhile, rail services were severely reduced for several hours on Monday as workers staged a strike over plans to privatize the rail company. –Sentinel Republic