Greek banks have been losing their deposits since the beginning of 2010. Total deposits stood at 245 billion euros at the end of 2009. That number fell to 223 billion at the end of 2010 and 183 billion by the end of 2011. At the end of April total bank deposits in Greece was 175 billion euros. Greece is experiencing its “Great Depression” and smart people withdraw their money from the banks and stuff them into safe deposit boxes. Unfortunately some Greek people followed Jeff Gundlach’s advice at the Ira Sohn Conference and keep their money at home. Last month Jeff Gundlach urged investors to withdraw their money from banks and hide them in cereal boxes. He recommended buying different brands of cereals for investors who want to diversify.
We have been receiving anecdotal evidence that there is a sharp increase in home invasions where robbers armed with assault rifles torture (and in some cases kill) home owners until they tell them where they hide their money. According to a recent report by Greece’s Public Order Ministry home invasions increased by 110% between 2010 and 2011.
This is totally expected. Given the further decline in bank deposits and increasing unemployment we expect things will get worse. Increasing violence is also causing tourists avoid Greece. Greece’s tourism sector accounts for more than 16% of its economy. Tourism revenues fell 15% during the first 3 months of 2012.