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Greeks lose half purchasing power within two years: survey


10:29, December 06, 2012

ATHENS, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Greeks lost half of their purchasing power over the past two years due to the debt crisis and three out of ten struggle with poverty, a survey released in Athens on Wednesday showed.

Since 2010, following a wave of austerity measures introduced to tackle the crisis, which fuelled recession, the average income of Greek households has been reduced to 74 percent of the EU average, down from 84 percent in previous years, according to experts of the labor institute of the two main trade unions in Greece.

As salaries shrink to the levels of the poorest countries across the continent, such as Portugal and eastern European countries, the extent of poverty in Greece rises.

In 2011, at least 28.4 percent of Greeks were lacking of means to cover basic goods and services, such as house rent, heating oil, meat or fish twice a week, electrical appliances, the survey showed. In 2010, the same percentage stood at 21.4 percent.

The EU average was 24.2 percent in 2011, the EU's statistical office Eurostat said on Monday, releasing similar estimates for Greece, which confirmed that the country had slipped to ratings which brought it closer to Bulgaria, Romania or Latvia.

According to Eurostat's figures for 2011, about 3.4 million Greeks, 31 percent of the population, lived below or near the poverty threshold. Two out of 10 were struggling to survive on less than 5,000 euros (6,540 U.S. dollars) per year.

A recent survey of the Greek statistics authority ELSTAT showed that the negative trend continues in 2012.

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