The Greek Economy

The Greek economy depends a lot on agriculture. One quarter of the Greek
workforce is engaged in farming, and agriculture constitutes about 15% of the
domestic production. Not much attention has been drawn on the agricultural
sector of the economy. The farms are pretty small, the division of inheriting
land has reduced the average size to 3,4 hectares (8 acres) and it is really
difficult to use mechanised equipment efficiently. Yields are also low due to
the dryness and erosion of the soil. Let’s take a look at the yearly output of
some major crops: tobacco 142000, wheat 2.6 million, tomatoes 1.9 million,
oranges 780000, corn 2.1 million, sugar beet 1.9 million, grapes 1.6 million,
olives 1.5 million, potatoes 850000 and cotton 222000. Livestock included some
10.8 million sheep, 3.5 million goats, 800000 head of cattle, 31 million poultry
and 1.2 million pigs.

Forestry and Fishing
The Greek government owns the two-thirds of the forestland and has materialised
her plans i.e. to replace the trees that were destroyed during World War II.

About 2.9 million cu m of timber were annually cut in the late 80’s and
approximately the 75% of the harvest was hardwood. Fish exports are limited
because of the widespread consumption of fish products within Greece. However in
recent years thousands of tons of fish are exported each year, due to the ever
increasing development of fish farms in the country. In the late 80’s the annual
catch totalled 135000 tons, from which 80% was consumed within Greece. Sponges
are the main marine product exported.

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Mining is of little importance to the Greek economy. We should mention though
the annual output of minerals in tons: bauxite 2.3 million, iron ore 1.3 million
and magnesite 884400. Also, about 279200 cu m of marble were quarried. Petroleum,
salt, chromium, silver, zinc were also produced.

Approximately one fifth of the Greek workforce is engaged in manufacturing,
which contributes 18% of the annual gross production. The manufactured
products include: food, beverages, tobacco, textiles, clothing, chemicals,
cement and wine. Athens is the manufacturing center of Greece.

Currency and Banking
The national currency of Greece is drachma. The central banking institution is
the Bank of Greece. The biggest banks of Greece are the National Bank of Greece,
with 470 domestic branches and the Agricultural Bank of Greece with 420 branches.

Foreign Trade
Generally Greece spends each year much more on imports than it receives from
exports. This “imbalance” is offset to a certain extent by tourist revenues and
by remittances from Greeks living abroad. In the 80’s the imports totalled 3
trillion drachmas and exports earned 1.5 trillion drachmas. The imports were
mostly machinery, petroleum and chemicals. The main exports were fruits and
vegetables, clothing, textiles and furs, beverages and tobacco, petroleum
products, non-ferrous metal, iron and steel. The principal trade patterns were:
Germany, Italy, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, the United States and
Japan. The countries of the European Union account for more that 60% of Greece’s
yearly total trade.

Greek economy depends a lot on tourism. Due to the many archaeological places
and buildings, the sun, the blue sky, the sea and the Mediterranean climate,
many people visit each year Greece. In the late 80’s 8.1 million tourists
visited Greece. The receipts from tourism were totalled 300 billion drachmas.

“Encarta” Encyclopaedia, Greece’, Microsoft, 1996
Category: Business