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Business buckles under Greek bank blues

Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 02:01

The business community in Greece will be voting firmly for a Yes vote on Sunday - if the referendum goes ahead. As Hayley Platt reports it's already suffered from years of recession and now has damaging capital controls to contend with.

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Greece's high streets are already littered with empty shops. And there are now fears more could go out of business if capital controls remain in place for any length of time. Constantinos Michalos is President of Athen's Chamber of Commerce and Industry. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ATHENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY PRESIDENT, CONSTANTINOS MICHALOS, SAYING: "Our major concern as representatives of the business community is the 650,000 businesses that are still standing up. We are losing 59 businesses per day - six hundred jobs are being lost as a result of this economic policy and therefore we need to find an alternative solution." Banks have been limiting cash withdrawals to 60 euros. Payments via debit and credit cards within Greece are still possible but not to firms with accounts outside. That's putting huge pressure on businesses working with international companies. And in a country dependent on imports there are many of those. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ATHENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY PRESIDENT, CONSTANTINOS MICHALOS, SAYING: "The only alternative solution is by saying 'Yes' to Europe, agreeing to a painful agreement, I agree with that, but on the other hand, it leaves us standing up in the playing field so that we can continue to re-negotiate." The controls aren't just impacting businesses. Greeks are no longer able to buy goods or services from any of the main international online suppliers - that includes Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. FXPro's Chief Economist Simon Smith says firms also fear they won't get paid. SOUNDBITE: Simon Smith, Chief Economist, FXPro, saying (English): "Usually such transactions involve a 1 - 2 day settlements and anyone is naturally worried about doing business on that side of things, worried that they will actually get that money come through, so it's a general credit risk problem ." Music download sellers are unable to take payment from Greeks either and neither are the foreign airlines. No chance then to escape the crisis or even for some musical relief from the current tensions. And they look set to continue for the coming days at least.

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Business buckles under Greek bank blues

Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 02:01