Shares of Greek shipping companies in freefall

Shares of Greek shipping companies listed on US stock exchanges took a nosedive on Monday, aday after the Greeks in a referendum rejected additional austerity measures that would have led to a fresh financial aid package from international creditors to the country.

Among those companies affected were the holding company DryShips, Inc., whose shares tumbled 9.2% to $0.54, Diana Containerships Inc. whose shares fell 5.3% to $1.95, containership owner Danaos Corp. that saw a fall of 2.8% to $6 and Costamare Inc., a container ship owner, which saw a drop of 1.7% to $18.10, the Wall Street Journal reports.

However, the fall has not been fully attributed to the ongoing turmoil in Greece, but also to a slowdown in the famously fast Chinese economy, Kevin Sterling, an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets, told the Journal.

The possible exit of Greece from the Euro zone would not jeopardize shipments of goods to and from China, according to Sterling, whereas China’s lower demand for exports and imports amid an economic slowdown would.

Greek shipping lines are also faced with a tax hike that was announced by the country’s government which has already made a proposal to implement an effective taxation framework for commercial shipping and increase the tonnage tax.

Greek ownerscontrol 23 percent of the world bulk carrier fleet and the industry has been an important revenue source for the country as it makes up 7.5 % of Greece’s economy.

Meanwhile, Secretary General of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, Steve Cotton, who just returned from a visit to Greece, where he met with ITF-affiliated trade unions including the Pan-Hellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO), says the level of anxiety people have over the nation’s future is very high.

“Workers and pensioners are deeply concerned about their jobs, their pensions and their future, especially as they have already had to pay the price of an irresponsible economic monetary system. The referendum vote makes clear that they decisively reject the dead end of austerity.”

“The ITF stands by its affiliated unions and their members in this grave and precarious time. Like both the Greek Confederation of Workers (GSEE) and the German Confederation of Workers (DGB), we urge an extension of the Greek bailout package, a deferral of debt repayments to the IMF and the resumption of negotiations between Greece and the creditor institutions – in order to find a solution based on an investment plan for growth that avoids once again shifting all of the burden of this crisis onto workers and pensioners,” he added.

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