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Athens, Greece

Bank of Greece

Athens, Greece
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News Article | May 18, 2017

Athens and the EU and IMF have been deadlocked over reforms for months amid disagreements on debt relief and budget targets for Greece (AFP Photo/Aris MESSINIS) Athens (AFP) - Greece's parliament on Thursday was to approve a new round of austerity cuts, hoping to secure a pledge of debt relief and loan disbursements by the country's EU-IMF creditors this month. Leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has a slim majority in parliament sufficient to pass the bill in the vote expected around midnight. Overall, the bill to be approved entails 4.9 billion euros ($5.4 billion) in cuts in 2018-2021. Tsipras grudgingly accepted to legislate another round of pension cuts and lower tax breaks -- applicable in 2019 and 2020 respectively -- to unlock the cash payment ahead of looming debt repayments in July. In return, Greece will introduce poverty support measures -- such as subsidies on rent and medicine -- over the same period of time. Hundreds of pensioners demonstrated Thursday in front of the parliament building shouting "Hands off Social Security!" On Wednesday, at least 18,000 people demonstrated in Athens and Thessaloniki in union-sponsored protests against the bill. Athens hopes that the disbursement of 7 billion euros from existing bailout loans will be approved by a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on May 22. "We are in the final stretch... the biggest likelihood is that we'll have a deal on May 22 or a few days later," Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told Skai TV. Greece is seeking a clear eurozone pledge later this month on measures to ease repayment on its huge public debt, which represented 179 percent of annual output at the end of last year. The question has served as a point of contention for months between Berlin and the IMF, which doesn't want to participate in the bailout programme unless Greece's debt burden is brought down to manageable levels. In his calls for substantial debt relief, Tsipras faces resistance from Germany, where additional concessions are unpopular with an electorate called to a general election in September. According to sources familiar with the matter, the IMF and eurozone countries are close to reaching a compromise, which would clear the way for a global agreement allowing Greece to return to bond markets in 2018. "Right now, Germany and the IMF are in the final stretch of very tough negotiations going on between them," Tzanakopoulos said. Athens also hopes to be finally allowed access to the European Central Bank's asset purchase programme, known as quantitative easing, or QE, to help its return to bond markets. "The key thing is to have a (debt) adjustment that will permit the ECB to induct the country to QE," Tzanakopoulos said. Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras this week said the ECB was likely to discuss the issue provided that European finance ministers decide something "binding" on Greek debt. "If parliament approves the measures and the eurogroup decides on something more specific and binding on debt sustainability, then, yes, I think the executive board of the ECB will bring the matter for discussion in the governing council," Stournaras told Politico website on Tuesday. "There is plenty of time for Greece to benefit from QE," Stournaras said, adding that inclusion in the purchase programme would "facilitate" Greece's comeback to financial markets. "Greece needs to return to markets after the end of this (bailout) program in 2018," the Bank of Greece governor said. There is speculation that Greece plans to issue a three or five-year bond as early as July. The finance ministry has declined to comment.

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Bragoudakis Z.G.,Bank of Greece | Zombanakis G.A.,The American College of Greece
Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy | Year: 2017

In this paper we attempt to assess the extent to which conversion policies involving the shift of resources from the defence to the non-defence sector may entail some form of peace dividend for the economy of Greece. The issue has become one of increasing importance during the past few years during which the demand for growth-supporting policies has been a top priority requirement as an antidote to the recession. The paper employs a VAR model in order to investigate the interactions among the growth rate of gross domestic product and alternative measures of defence expenditure. We find that defence spending and more so, expenditure on defence equipment, under the present circumstances in which the bulk of the procurement represents import payments is not related in any form of Granger-causal relationship with the economic growth of Greece. Our results point to the fact that there can be no possibility of a peace dividend under the circumstances prevailing, unless defence procurement policies shift to an import-substitution strategy. © 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston 2017.

News Article | June 29, 2015

The eurozone’s three biggest countries have raised the stakes in next Sunday’s Greek referendum with an orchestrated warning to voters that a no vote would mean exit from the single currency and the return of the drachma. As the Greek economy suffered on its first day of stringent capital controls, politicians from Germany, France and Italy joined the European commission in insisting that the poll was not about whether Athens could secure more favourable bailout terms but was about continued euro membership. The stark assessment was shared by George Osborne who told MPs that the UK economy would be affected by the chaos that would result from Greece leaving the eurozone. The chancellor’s comments came as ratings agency Standard & Poor’s issued a grim analysis of the repercussions that could follow an euro exit, the chances of which it has raised from 33% to 50%. S&P said there could be “a serious foreign currency shortage for the private and public sectors, potentially leading to the rationing of key imports such as fuel”. S&P added that without continuing European Central Bank support for Greek banks, the country’s “payment system would shut down and its banks would not be able to operate”. Eurozone leaders sought to exploit pictures of cashpoint queues and empty Athens restaurants to stress what was at stake if Greeks supported the decision of their prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, to reject the fresh austerity measures being demanded by the country’s creditors for continued financial support. At the end of a day that saw sharp falls in share prices around the globe, Tsipras used a TV address to ask a public still stunned by the imposition of a €60 daily limit on bank withdrawals to back his resistance to a new round of tough tax increases and spending cuts demanded by the troika of the commission, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund. Tsipras urged Greeks to vote no in the forthcoming referendum, saying the plebiscite would be a strong “negotiating tool” in talks with lenders. Denying that Greece had walked away from negotiations, he told state-run TV: “The greater the number of no [votes], the greater the weapon the government will have to relaunch negotiations. Greece never left the negotiating table, it is still at the negotiating table. ” Appearing by turns combative and nervous, the 40-year-old leader suggested, for the first time, that he and his radical left Syriza party would resign if the yes vote triumphed in the referendum. “We will respect the result but we will not be there to serve it,” he told the station. Greece’s international creditors clearly did not want a no vote because they wanted to kill “the hope” of enacting policies against austerity, he claimed. “They want to kill democracy in the place where it was born,” he said, adding that the “negative decision” to close banks was aimed squarely at thwarting Sunday’s vote. “Greek people have experienced more difficult moments and they will survive,’ he said. With polls showing Greeks in favour of remaining inside the eurozone, the Greek government made no mention of exit from the single currency in the wording of Sunday’s referendum. This will ask Greece whether they support the “plan of agreement” drawn up by the troika and will put the no option Tsipras wants at the top of the ballot paper. The publication of the wording coincided with Greece admitting that it would not meet the Tuesday deadline for making a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) payment to the IMF in Washington and new evidence of the parlous state of Greek banks following the referendum announcement. It emerged that the Bank of Greece asked in vain for the ECB to increase its emergency funding by €6bn in order to cover panic withdrawals. Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice-chancellor, voiced concerns that a so-called Grexit could start to unravel six decades of closer integration. He said the crisis was the most serious faced by Europe since the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. He added that if the Greeks voted no on Sunday, they were voting “against remaining in the euro”. He was supported by French president François Hollande, who came under strong pressure from US president Barack Obama to find a solution to the deepening crisis before it caused more damage to a still-fragile global economy. Hollande said: “It’s the Greek people’s right to say what they want their future to be. It’s about whether the Greeks want to stay in the eurozone or take the risk of leaving.” Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the chairman of the Eurogroup of finance ministers from the 19 nations using the single currency, said the door was still open for negotiations to resume despite time running out before Sunday’s referendum. But the hardening stance among Greece’s partners was evident from a tweet by Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister and hitherto seen as one of the European leaders closest to Tsipras. The referendum, Renzi said, was not a question of the commission versus Tsipras but of “the euro versus the drachma. This is the choice”. Jean-Claude Juncker, the commission president, said: “It’s the moment of truth ... I’d like to ask the Greek people to vote yes ... No would mean that Greece is saying no to Europe.” In a sign of how relations have been soured by last week’s rejection of what was seen by Tsipras as a take-it-or-leave-it final offer, Juncker accused the Greek prime minister of telling lies about the proposals and said they did not include plans to cut pensions. A government spokesman in Athens accused Juncker of telling a “preposterous lie”. Greece’s stock market was closed but a share price fall that began in Asia spread to Europe and later the US. London’s FTSE 100 lost almost 2% of its value, with drops of 3.5% in Frankfurt and 3.7% in Paris. New York’s Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 2%, the biggest one day decline this year, while the Nasdaq tumbled 2.4%. The euro slid to its weakest level against the pound since 2007 and now stands at almost €1.40 to the pound. Twelve months ago it was trading at €1.25. On global markets, the interest rate on Greek 10-year bonds rose by four percentage points to 15%, a sign that financial markets fear the country’s days in the euro are numbered. About 850 Greek banks could open for business on Thursday in order to pay pensions, the government said. Osborne said British holidaymakers travelling to Greece should carry enough cash for the whole trip and to cover emergencies. After the chancellor held a contingency meeting with David Cameron and the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, he said he was “hoping for the best but preparing for the worst”. The chancellor said British taxpayers could be liable for hundreds of millions of pounds if Greece fell out of the eurozone and relied on an emergency loan scheme supported by the EU’s budget which is funded by all 28 member states. He said that an early decision by the coalition government was to exempt the UK from eurozone bailouts, dramatically reducing the “direct exposure” of the UK. But Osborne added: “Of course we are part of the financial system of Europe and we will be affected if there is a Greek exit.” The chancellor’s remarks referred to the EU’s balance of payments support system which is open to non-eurozone members of the EU. The scheme has been used in recent years to release billions of euros to Romania, Hungary and Latvia when they were hit by the global financial crash. If Greek falls out of the euro, it is expected that the IMF would become its main lender of emergency. Under the arrangements for Hungarian and Romanian, the EU balance of payments scheme provided about 40% of their loans.

Mamatzakis E.,University of Sussex | Koutsomanoli-Filippaki A.,Bank of Greece
Energy Policy | Year: 2014

This paper examines the rationality of the price forecasts for energy commodities of the United States Department of Energy's (DOE), departing from the common assumption in the literature that DOE's forecasts are based on a symmetric underlying loss function with respect to positive vs. negative forecast errors. Instead, we opt for the methodology of Elliott et al. (2005) that allows testing the joint hypothesis of an asymmetric loss function and rationality and reveals the underlying preferences of the forecaster. Results indicate the existence of asymmetries in the shape of the loss function for most energy categories with preferences leaning towards optimism. Moreover, we also examine whether there is a structural break in those preferences over the examined period, 1997-2012. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Lykourentzou I.,CRP Henri Tudor | Lykourentzou I.,National Technical University of Athens | Dagka F.,National Technical University of Athens | Papadaki K.,Bank of Greece | And 2 more authors.
Enterprise Information Systems | Year: 2012

The wiki technology is increasingly being used in corporate environments to facilitate a broad range of tasks. This survey examines the use of wikis on a variety of organisational tasks that include the codification of explicit and tacit organisational knowledge and the formulation of corporate communities of practice, as well as more specific processes such as the collaborative information systems development, the interactions of the enterprise with third parties, management activities and organisational response in crisis situations. For each one of the aforementioned corporate functions, the study examines the findings of related research literature to highlight the advantages and concerns raised by the wiki usage and to identify specific solutions addressing them. Finally, based on the above findings, the study discusses various aspects of the wiki usage in the enterprise and identifies trends and future research directions on the field. © 2012 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Goodvidio, the conversion optimization service helping online stores increase ecommerce sales with product videos curated from social media, announced today it launched the service out of beta and opened it up to public sign-ups. The service is now open to brands and ecommerce stores for a monthly subscription starting at $149, following a 15-day free trial. The company also announced integrations with major ecommerce platforms including Magento and WooCommerce as part of the launch. Beta results from more than 40 international brands and retailers including Tassimo, Mondelez, Travis Perkins and Deutsche Telekom, showed Goodvidio's ability to deliver an increase of up to +80% in conversion rate, +340% increase in session duration and -70% decrease in bounce rate on product pages enriched with Goodvidio product video galleries. "We have been delighted with the collaboration with Goodvidio - the execution has been seamless, the results impressive and the team are exceptionally well versed in meaningful metrics," - said Paula Sweetman, Digital Engagement and eCommerce Manager at Jacobs Douwe Egberts. A case study with reported +74% increase in conversion rates, +161% increase in session duration and +127% increase in pages visited on the brand's ecommerce site using Goodvidio. Goodvidio specializes in conversion optimization results by making the discovery, curation, publishing, and management of product videos from social media possible at a whole new level of effectiveness and scale. "64% of purchases made online are now being influenced by videos shared through YouTube. We want to help online retailers bring this invaluable content from social media into their product pages and make the online shopping experience so much more intuitive and convenient, resulting in increased sales," - says Dimitrios Kourtesis, co-founder and CEO of Goodvidio. Goodvidio has reached $1M seed investment up to present date. The latest investment of $600,000 funding announced today comes from the National Bank of Greece and existing investors JEREMIE Openfund II. The new cash will be directed towards expanding Goodvidio's customer base in Europe and USA. Online retailers and brands who wish to improve their ecommerce KPIs can now try Goodvidio for free by creating an account at They can then select a subscription plan suitable for their store's monthly visitors and get access to standard features like video discovery, curation, publishing and management. Subscription plans go up to $999 per month for more advanced features such as A/B testing and advanced engagement and conversion insights. Goodvidio is conversion rate optimization service helping ecommerce stores and brands utilize product videos from social media to engage shoppers and increase online sales. Goodvidio automates product video discovery, curation, publishing, video management, and optimization. Goodvidio was founded in 2014 and serves multichannel and pure-play online retailers. Goodvidio has raised a total of $1 million of venture funding from National Bank of Greece and JEREMIE Openfund II.

Kostika E.,Bank of Greece | Kostika E.,Athens University of Economics and Business | Markellos R.N.,Athens University of Economics and Business | Markellos R.N.,Loughborough University
Journal of Forecasting | Year: 2013

This paper examines the importance of forecasting higher moments for optimal hedge ratio estimation. To this end, autoregressive conditional density (ARCD) models are employed which allow for time variation in variance, skewness and kurtosis. The performance of ARCD models is evaluated against that of GARCH and of other conventional hedge ratio estimation methodologies based on exponentially weighted moving averages, ordinary least squares and error correction, respectively. An empirical application using spot and futures data on the DJI, FTSE and DAX equity indices compares the in-sample and out-of-sample hedging effectiveness of each approach in terms of risk minimization. The results show that the ARCD approach has the best performance, thus suggesting that forecasting higher moments is of practical importance for futures hedging. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Degiannakis S.,Bank of Greece | Filis G.,Bournemouth University | Kizys R.,University of Portsmouth
Energy Journal | Year: 2014

The paper investigates the effects of oil price shocks on stock market volatility in Europe by focusing on three measures of volatility, i.e. the conditional, the realized and the implied volatility. The findings suggest that supply-side shocks and oil specific demand shocks do not affect volatility, whereas, oil price changes due to aggregate demand shocks lead to a reduction in stock market volatility. More specifically, the aggregate demand oil price shocks have a significant explanatory power on both current- and forward-looking volatilities. The results are qualitatively similar for the aggregate stock market volatility and the industrial sectors' volatilities. Finally, a robustness exercise using short- and long-run volatility models supports the findings. Copyright © 2014 by the IAEE. All rights reserved.

News Article | February 24, 2017

Back with Greece now, where Yannis Stournaras, the Bank of Greece governor, has been giving his annual address to shareholders. The central bank boss echoed the message from prime minister Alexis Tsipras: Greece is on the road to recovery. Helena Smith reports from Athens. Casting recent prognostications of catastrophe to the winds, the Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras said Greece had not only shown “remarkable resilience” over the past two years but was well on the road to economic recovery. Addressing the bank’s 84th annual meeting of shareholders, Stournaras said GDP contracted by just 0.2 % in 2015 despite “the particularly adverse conditions” that prevailed during the first half of the year when debt-stricken Greece came closest yet to exiting the euro area and capital controls were ultimately imposed. In 2016, a whole, he said, GDP rose by 0.3 %, deflationary pressures were contained, employment picked up and joblessness (though at 23 % still the highest in the EU) dropped. These developments are a strong indication that the Greek economy has growth potential, which after remaining idle for so long, stands ready to be tapped into, as soon as the right conditions are in place. Besides, despite the mistakes and the backsliding, despite the heavy economic and social costs of the crisis, the economic adjustment programmes implemented over the past years have succeeded in addressing chronic weaknesses and structural shortcomings of the Greek economy, thereby facilitating the improvement in the medium-to-long term growth potential. Listing the country’s achievements he said the primary fiscal deficit and current account deficit had both been eliminated, the substantial cumulative loss in labour cost competitiveness had been recouped, exports as a percentage of GDP had almost doubled, banks had been recapitalised and the labour and product markets subjected to major structural reforms. There were risks, starting with a volatile global environment, the rise in euroscepticism across the EU and potential changes in US foreign and economic policies under the new Trump administration. Delays in implementing reforms and concluding the latest bailout review also posed dangers. But he insisted Greece had “reached the final stretch.”

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