Cyprus Isn't Calm, It's paralysed

The buzzword for the Cyprus story this morning is “calm.”

Despite banks reopening today, there was no panic, just a few long lines scattered among packs of journalists.

A better word, thought, might be “paralysed.”

We just spoke by phone with George Christodoulou, manager of Press Cafe, a coffee shop on the main drag in Nicosia’s Old City.

He repeatedly said that everyone is worried. They’re worried about their jobs, their pensions, their livelihoods — everything.

You don’t need to riot in the street to express fear. 

As he quipped to us, “Business is a bit strained right now.”

He confirmed what we reported earlier, that the reason why people aren’t emptying the shelves is that they can’t — capital controls have temporarily stunted all commerce.

He did acknowledge that prior to the crisis, many Cypriots had been living too large.

“People need to start living differently — reduce their expenses, live with less,” he said.

He corroborated our report yesterday, that anyone who has the means to is seriously contemplating leaving the country.

Cyprus has basically been in a depression since the Greek crisis began several years ago.  

So while the crisis has become more acute in the past two weeks, things could still be even worse, Christodoulou said.

“I’m not happy, but I can’t be sad either. My health is more important than these things.”

We’re glad to hear it.

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.