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Greek firms fear slow death as bank freeze cuts off imports

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Thessaloniki is famous for its wines and spirits that are in high demand across the world, regardless of Greece’s economic crisis. But it cannot be exported without bottles, which have to be imported.

“We don’t make bottles in Greece, we import them. But with capital controls and a freeze on the banking system, imports are practically nonexistent, so the bottles aren’t coming in. No one can export wine without bottles. We’re experiencing a devastation of the economy. For one week nothing has moved, there are no transactions.” said an industry spokesman.

Greek banks were closed for more than a week and Greek customers’ money has essentially been frozen.

In an economy that produces very little itself and instead relies on importing products ranging from pharmaceuticals, paper and plastics to beef, milk and animal feed, this has led to a meltdown in the motor of Greek economic life.