COVID-19 Costing Cyprus 660 Million Euros Monthly Losses

Αssociated Press

A cat walks across a road in the nearly empty medieval core of Cyprus' capital Nicosia, Friday, April 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Cyprus's economy is taking a hit of some 660 million euros ($721.24 million) monthly during the COVID-19 Coronavirus lockdown that has shuttered non-essential businesses including restaurants and bars to keep people apart and help prevent the spread of the disease.

That was the assessment from Hellenic Bank’s chief economist Andreas Assiotis, said The Cyprus News Agency, as he called on the government to implement targeted interventions that will support production so that the economy can restart when the shutdown ends.

Assiotis, also a member of the Economy and Competitiveness Council of Cyprus (SOAK) said the daily effect of 22 million euros ($24.06 million) in losses amounting to about 3 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP.)

It wasn't estimated how much the cost would be if the aftermath extends into the critical summer tourism season that is essential to the economy and with hotels and the whole sector shut down for now.

There was no real help seen coming from the European Union as officials debated and stalled what to do for weeks during the pandemic and then came through with a package that doesn't include issuing Eurobonds, now called Coronabonds.

Northern European countries opposed the idea of pooling European Union debt  and instead approved a 540-billion euro ($590.52 billion) to protect the bloc's economy that is expected to shrink by 10 percent from COVID-19's damage.

Speaking on state broadcaster CyBC, Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides said the plan was helpful but that it means “each country must go its own way,” as the funds made available were not enough to finance the measures for protecting jobs and keeping businesses afloat.

The Cypriot government moved on its own during the EU's absence, to raise 1.75 billion euros

($1.91 billion) from jittery markets, in seven-year and 30-year bonds. “If we had not acted immediately, we would have jeopardized our liquidity,” Petrides said.

Cyprus is eligible for a 400-million euro ($437.42 million) loan from a 200-billion euro ($218.71 billion) European Investment Bank (EIB) fund, he also said.