Greek Economy Grinds To A Halt As New Construction Implodes By 66.6%

Tyler Durden's picture

Some time ago we used to joke that the Greek economy, and by implication society, is literally falling apart due to its sacrifice at the altar of preserving the European, and thus global, status quo. It is no longer a joke, and the latest confirmation of the absolute halt in the Greek economy, which is now way beyond the liqudity trap and is now in a liquidity (and everything else) tiger cage is data on Greece Construction activity which according to data released on Tuesday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority is in complete freefall. From Kathimerini "In November 2012, total activity dropped 66.6 percent year-on-year in terms of building permits, 63.3 percent in terms of surface area and 65.4 percent in terms of volume." Just 1,156 permits were issued across the country, corresponding to 197,000 square meters and 706,900 cubic meters. In the first 11 months of last year construction activity shrank by 36.4 percent in terms of permits, 30.3 percent in surface area and 28.7 percent in volume, compared with the same period in 2011. The statistics observed in private construction activity are virtually the same as the above, as activity in the public sector has effectively ground to a halt.

And for those curious how the people are surviving, the answer is simple: nobody is paying taxes:

More and more professionals are withholding value-added tax from the authorities in a bid to maintain cash flows.


Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) inspections last months led to fines imposed for the nonpayment of VAT and the tax on salaried service growing by 51 percent within a period of just one year: In January 2013 the fines amounted to 35.3 million euros, compared to 23.3 million in January 2012.


In total the fines imposed by SDOE inspectors last month amounted to 258 million euros, from 217.4 million euros in January 2012. Notably, while there were more inspections conducted (1,559 against 1,460) and while more fines were imposed, the violations identified were actually lower in number: In January 2012 the violations numbered 5,332, while last month there were just 2,999 identified. Most of those violations concerned the issuing of fake financial data.


The question now is how these fines will be collected, as experience to date shows that despite the imposition of fines, debtors often fail to turn up to settle their accounts, at the expense of public coffers.

Good luck with the collections Greece, especially if they are at night as soon the public utilities themselves will soon be halted:

The phenomenon of electricity theft has grown out of control due to the economic crisis and the inability of many to pay their bills.


While before the crisis power theft was only seen in certain downgraded areas such as Roma settlements, it has now spread across the country and into expensive areas too, including the northern suburbs of Athens.


Officials at the Hellenic Electrical Energy Distribution Network Operator (DEDDIE) estimate that the turnover from electricity theft at businesses alone has quadrupled within just one year, climbing from 10 million euros in 2011 to 40 million in 2012.


The methods employed to steal power vary although authorities believe that in many cases electricians are paid to carry out the illicit connection. Public Power Corporation’s data on its lost income have been compiled from checks on corporate supplies, as there are no inspectors available to conduct random checks on household meters.


“Unfortunately [the illegal] connections are conducted in such a way that cannot be noticed by inspectors who check the meters once every four months,” a DEDDIE official told Kathimerini. “We have information about con artists who have made electricity theft their profession, but this information is not sufficient for us to catch them.”

So to paraphrase Rajoy, when excluding everything else, Greece is fine.

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MrX's picture

I still think this will repeat itself many many times soon in a neighborhood near you:

....the Greeks sure know how to make yogurt though...and movies with John Travolta.

Mr Pink's picture

Can we just get to the important stuff? 

Where's the State of the Union drinking game?

francis_sawyer's picture

My advice to you is to start drinking heavily...

THX 1178's picture

Dr. Bernanke sez, "If you get hung over, just drink more alcohol. This will cure the symptoms outright. Continue ad infinitum."

Peachfuzz's picture

I guess even a broke clock is right twice a day - lol

All Risk No Reward's picture

Such suckers for the false narrative.

Bernanke works for "the power of money that is gravely to be regarded" - Dwight Eisenhower.

Bernanke prints and hands money over to the power of money when it suits the power of money's needs.  That's why they tell his punk *ss to do it - and that punk *ss does what he is told.

If you don't understand this, you don't understand anything.

And don't think the media will tout the truth...  that's why they are the media.

When printing trillions and funneling to themselves no longer makes sense to them, the power of money will stop doing it.

They don't want money.  They already have your freedom - you live today because their presidential operative decided not to call you a terorist and murder you today...  and no other reason.

They aren't stealing dollars and dumping debt on society - by the trillions - to play a numbers game.  They are doing it to set the stage to rip some Muppet face off and spit down Muppet throats.

And they will get almost all of Muppet "stuff."  My goal, at this point, is to simply point out to the Muppets that they've been robbed, not that things "went bad."  The Muppets are going to lose almost everything.

Banksters's picture

We must first destroy it before we build it- Paul Krugman

zorba THE GREEK's picture

The party is over fellow Greeks. Pack your bags and head to greener pastures.

I get a feeling there is going to be a resurgence of diners and hot dog stands in the U.S.

francis_sawyer's picture

Every little jew who works at Goldman Sachs will have themselves their own little Greek Island before all is said & done... This represents an unbelievable opportunity for LasVegasDave to franchise his 'pool cleaning' services... Opportunities like this only come once every 100 years or so... It's where fiats go to die...

CompassionateFascist's picture

...and the ZOG even took down the Pope. Now that is impressive. 

matrix2012's picture

in addition to the Greek little island, the little joos at GS may keep these hot chicks as well. The northern Greece has plenty of great looking Slavics (but not the southern parts such as Crete, Cyprus) ... Greece may go bankrupt as a nation but its girls are pretty hot, highly demanded in Europe... take a look at thisthis, and this 

Iam Yue2's picture

Who cares .....the market is up..

disabledvet's picture

unfortunately true. from what i've been told there is a "physical reality" to go along with these numbers. coming from a place that has a mud season i don't doubt that's true as well. I think not just Greece but the totality of Europe is starting to take on a kind of Kafka-esque "neo realism." The kind of place where "suddenly common sense prevails! and people wonder...why the hell were we doing it like that all those years?"

e-recep's picture

so are the corporate profits.

JustObserving's picture

Lazy, underachieving Greeks - they could have have gotten 100% if they had tried.

Imminent Crucible's picture

"Greek housing starts fall by 66.6%"

I didn't believe the headline, so I checked and it's true. Last year they built three new houses. This year they're building just one. It's for the Goldman Sachs guy to stay in while he's checking out their austerity progress.

Eally Ucked's picture

That's strange Marc To Market or whatever his name is says that everything is getting better, Spain, Greece,UK, Ireland and so on.

They all are paying down debts like there is no tomorrow, question where the fuck they get the money from?


orez65's picture

From the US Federal Reserve.
According to ZH over $200 Billion US Dollars in the last quarter of 2012 to EU bank branches in the US.

Tango in the Blight's picture

Marcie probably listens to Tony B. Liar's favourite song all of the time:

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Greece is just 3 - 5 years ahead of us...

hairball48's picture

"Greece is just 3 - 5 years ahead of us..."

Maybe, but I believe we're only 2, 3 at most behind them. Things will go to hell much faster here once the slide begins.

clara-to-market's picture

History teaches us one importat lesson.

Greek is never gentle.

Love hurts.

youngman's picture

What is really really hard is to turn this around...once you quit paying taxes..stop playing by the rules..stop following the is very hard to start need to trust that other people are doing the same thing...and with the Greeks who have always cheated..well...its going to be a very long time...

walküre's picture

You say that so casual "the Greeks who have always cheated" .. and what is going on RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW on A MASSIVE SCALE on Wall Street, in DC and at every FED bank? There's a whole lot of cheating going on my friend. Cheating that they think they can get away with indefinitely. It's about time that J6P catches on and starts doing AS THEY DO and not do as he thinks they do.

Why pay taxes when Uncle Sugar can print to cover all bills and fund itself into oblivion?

They make the rules doesn't mean that we have to play by their rules. Let the snake eat its own tale. Good luck when they're trying to run the state budgets on worthless Dollars when the people are already dealing in tangibles and barter. Tax free and out of sight and out of reach from the parasites.

steve from virginia's picture




Nobody pays taxes in Detroit, either.

bill40's picture

Oh good public sector (boo hiss) activity is at a standstill, this is all very good. Now the private sector will step in and all will be fine.

Hoist by your own petard bitchez!

syntaxterror's picture

Shoulda learned from Iceland and given the middle finger salute to TPTB, but the allure of giving the bankers steamy rimjobs was too powerful to resist.

walküre's picture

Iceland isn't operating within the confines of the EU. The bondage of EU dictatorship has the Greeks by their balls. They can only default if they go all the way and abandon all aspects of the EU. It would be harsh for a while but they'd come out ahead eventually. Now they're in eternal debt bondage to the EU overlords.

Their only saving grace will be the underground economy. Let the officialdom implode and start living and working below the radar. Maybe there aren't any permits out, but when has that ever stopped anyone from building what they want and when they want it.

asteroids's picture

Greeks have to wake up and realise they have fallen into a black hole. Only way out is for the people to tell the bankers and politicans to fuck off. This is best done democratically, but, someone like Golden Dawn will eventually step up to the plate. It won't be pretty.

CompassionateFascist's picture

No, harm to Jews in general. Just to liquidate the Banksters....

trendybull459's picture injoy your last freedoms,read why in the near future you all will be leaving under much worth leader that Stalin was,Elite should prepare testoments,your last days counted FED,prepare for changes,working for change!Because most of you worthening midlle class conditions,you are blind in your greedy habits to leave some change to poor and middle,then you will loose all like it was many times in hystory under the New Order which not you,others will do very soon!

in order to give citizens and foreighner to build real astate greeks beurocrasy outsize russians,they are greedy and do not wish accomodote to the changes happening in young greecs,but problem is that young greecs do not wish to work like their parents for free,they demand to be paid and in currency which is not sucks.This conditions hardly could be filled for now and this may bring people to revolution,like Mubarak i Qaddafi ne greecs Elite also wish to be gaved with triumf,well,you deserve what you want!

Lesson for the crab or cancers catching:"Cancer so busy with catching its victim,that its gonna lose his hand ,but not to leave the trophy" by the way,its many cases in nature when cancer(cribe) went to hunt,catched and was eaten by victim-lessons to modern democracies!

CheapBastard's picture

Do the cruise ships still stop at Athens? (or Piraeus)

tmosley's picture

Do people in Greece still bother getting permits?

object_orient's picture

My thought exactly. Greece is probably like my neighborhood. Plenty of unpermitted work going on at night and on weekends when code enforcement isn't around. Pass around beer to the neighbors so they don't turn you in.

steve from virginia's picture




The Greeks aren't going to tell the bankers or the EU to 'fuck off' because to do so would mean abandoning the euro.


Without the euro, the Greeks cannot gain fuel for their precious automobiles. No petroleum supplier will accept a Greek currency that is likely to be precipitously depreciated. Under such circumstances, Greeks would spend any amounts of new currency to gain euros or dollars on black markets: there would be hyperinflation followed by the complete collapse of Greece.


Before the crisis, the Greeks could borrow euros and use them to buy automobiles and the fuel to drive them. Nobody cared whether the Greeks could repay the loans b/c they could always borrow more. The waste of fuel was collateral for the loans so the more fuel waste the more fuel was made available to waste!


Now, fuel is in shorter supply and one country can waste only if other countries do without. A 'have not' country is Greece, the longer they try to keep buying fuel for their precious automobiles the greater the level of suffering for the actual human beings. Rght now, Greece is on track to turn into Yemen, the step afterward is Haiti. Greece has very little in the way of industrial goods to trade for petroleum, only agricultural products and some soft-coal (lignite). Both of these are entirely petroleum dependent, what remains of Greece's economy is competing with Greek automobiles for fuel. Not hard to tell by reading this article to see who is 'winning'.


What the Greeks need to do NOW is get rid of the goddamned automobiles. Each auto uses the fuel resources of 20 Greeks. The autos are bankruptiing the country.


They are also bankrupting all the other countries ... not that anyone cares or bothers to notice.



Haus-Targaryen's picture

Steve -

Your droning on about the evils of automobiles is just stupid. Please find a new schtick to rile people up. You're really bad at trolling

But I'll take the bait -

Just bought a v8 BMW. Hope the environment enjoys the additional co2. I know I will. ;)

All Risk No Reward's picture

Stockholm Syndrome in the wild...  the Euro is Debt Money Tyranny and is mathematically guaranteed to bankrupt its host.

Debt Money Tyranny

CompassionateFascist's picture

No, the essential problem is not Peak Oil. It is Peak Jew. 

401K of Dooom's picture

Hey everybody, the Greeks are showing us the way to survive!  Just imagine in Obama's next state of the Union speech.  We get to see how people are scamming the system in the name of fairness!  Where's me pot of GOLD!

q99x2's picture

Why don't they start a new country with the Swiss constitution as a basis.

I mean how long will it take before someone goes after GS. Blankfein is even starting to look like Osama Bin Laden with that beard and mustache.

americanspirit's picture

I need one of those Greek electricians who know how to bypass the meter so that inspectors can't catch me. Major opportunity in the US guys!

Rustysilver's picture

This opportunity in U.S. is being used already. You just have to know how to do it or have someone do it for you.

The idea is to bypass the meter. If the meters are inside you basement, this is easy.  An electrician in CT was fined about $7,000 for stealing "services".  I think he was connecting at the point were it was coming from the street into the house (high up).

Lord Of Finance's picture

Quick Ben! Better fuel up the chopper for another overseas mission. More money bombs and dollar drone strikes are needed. Your soldiers in the field,ie; Krugman, Goldman, Geithner are ready for battle. These keynesian monetary warriors are the best of the best. A special operational force to fight free market proliferation and seal the neo-marxist dream.

Peter Pan's picture

With VAT taxes at 23% the government is virtually forcing people to become tax dodgers. In addition they have sustained massive wage cuts, introduced property taxes, higher tax rates, reduced tax free thresholds, cut deductions etc etc. Is any serious person telling me that this is the correct approach because if they are then how come the same medicine is not being applied to the USA and Britain?

We can be rightly critical of how Greeks and the their governments ran the country for the alst 30 years but Europe is being destructive in its approach. And this will not end well.

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

The domestic economy of ireland - multinationals is much like Greece.


This sort of fixed capital formation is very fuel intensive.


The Euro boys wish to build elsewhere.


A example of bad planning in Franceéane


Never NEVER build something like this next to a marshalling yard.



smacker's picture

It won't be long in Greece before the govt does what every socialist government really really has on its agenda: have all salaries paid thru the Greek treasury who will take what they want out of it first, and send what's left to the wage-earning individual according to their needs (specified by government).