|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-11-27
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Simitis again dismisses speculation over early elections, cites full term
Athens, 27/11/1999 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday rejected a renewed flurry of rumours that he intends to call early general elections, saying "ele-ctions will take place at the end of the four-year term".
Speaking in Irakleio shortly after his arrival on the island for a two-day tour, Mr. Simitis challenged main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis to "take the beneficial decisions regarding the President of the Republic".
The ruling PASOK party "is not going to go to early elections," he said. "Those are rumours instigated by all those who wish to avoid certain important decisions."
"The present Parliament is able to elect a President of the Republic. ND must drink the bitter cup and take its decisions. It must take responsible decisions in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution. Decisions that will benefit the country. It cannot escape from the dilemmas. We shall carry on with the policy we have announced. Elections will take place at the end of the four-year term," Mr. Simitis said.
Parliament will be electing a new president of the republic next march. PASOK proposed the election of incumbent
President Kostis Stphanopoulos, but ND has yet to decide on its possible candidate to the election.
Gov't: The first half of 2000 is critical for developments and will require the utmost stability in the political, economic and social environment, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later.
Mr. Reppas called on opposition parties to shoulder their responsibilities and said supporting a renewal of the term for President Kostis Stephanopoulos - whose exercise of his duties has been exemplary - should be among these.
The spokesman criticised ND for clearly setting itself against a re- election for the incumbent president, despite Mr. Karamanlis himself saying a final decision on the issue would be taken in February. In any case, he added, the government is re ady to fight and win elections whenever they occur.
In later statements, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said it was "too early to tell" if there would be elections in March but that the public was aware that some members of the opposition were intent on using the election of a president in
March for their own purposes.
"Look, it is a common secret that if there is no successful election of the president in March, we will have to proceed with early elections, before those originally scheduled for October 2000," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.
"I fear that with the continued references to early elections and to electoral preparations we are transforming this period into an extended pre- election period."
He said that he personally did not believe elections would come in March and that Mr. Stephanopoulos would be re-elected.
Athens News Agency
 Karamanlis lashes out at gov't, citing decreasing quality of life, services
Athens, 27/11/1999 (ANA)The country has entered the final stretch before a pre-election period, with main opposition New Democracy (ND) adamantly against any mud-slinging or a retreat from the party's positions, ND leader Costas Karamanlis stressed yesterday.
ND covers the centre of the political spectrum, while dividing lines within the party do not exist, Mr. Karamanlis said in addressing a party rally in Athens.
He accused the government of what he called audacity and abuse of power, claiming that "the long stay in power results in an abnormal function of the poltical system's inistitutions".
Mr. Karamanlis also charged that the government was continually attempting to pass on its responsibilities to others, adding that citizens' everyday quality of life is declining.
To press the point, he claimed that there was lack of areas dedicated to parks and sports, while also referring to traffic and air pollution.
"It is not possible for you (PASOK) to govern for 20 years and bear no responsibility," he charged.
Mr. Karamanlis said the "great patient" of Greece was the public sector, "which is at the service of partisan interests," adding that citizens "are at the mercy of out-patient hospitals clinics and feel unprotected from state services, being forced to r esort to bribery".
The ND leader also accused the government of back-tracking on educational reforms and not recognising the failure of the educational system it proposed.
He noted that the PASOK government showed a "petty political attitude and unproductive refusal in not accepting ND's proposal for a national educational policy based on a 20-year timeframe."
Finally, he reiterated ND's commitment for an 150,000 drachmas minimum pension limit.
Athens News Agency
 Stephanopoulos in Portugal
Athens, 27/11/1999 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will pay a state visit to Portugal from Dec. 1-4 at the invitation of his Portuguese counterpart Jorge Sampaio, it was announced yesterday. Mr. Stephanopoulos will be accompanied by Alternate Foreign Ministe r Christos Rokofyllos.
Athens News Agency
 Premier in Crete: Economic development secured through 2006
Athens, 27/11/1999 (ANA)The country's economic development has been secured until 2006 through state and European Union investments, Prime Minister Costas Simtis stressed yesterday during an event in Iralkeio, Crete.
The government has secured 15 trillion drachmas from the state budget and 45 trillion drachmas from the Union budget for the 2000-2006 period, while an additional nine trillion was secured for special projects in the provinces, the premier added.
Referring to Crete, he said: "We want to make it into the centre of SE Mediterranean".
Addressing issues directly related to Irakleio, Mr. Simitis said funding from the Thrid Community Support Framework will be more generous than that of the second.
Specific projects already planned include refuse management, construction of a coastas highway and the "cultural route" from Knossos to Irakleio's Venetian quarter, in line with Rethymno and Hania.
Athens News Agency
 Mitsotakis predicts EMU entry, but with sobering aftermath
Athens, 27/11/1999 (ANA)Greece will enter Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) but will confront serious problems immediately afterwards, former premier and New Democracy (ND) honorary president Constintine Mistotakis predicted yesterday.
Following a meeting with Bank of Greece Governor Lukas Papademos, Mr. Mitsotakis said the Greek economy's "numerous problems" were "covered up so we can join EMU, and will fall on our heads the day after the entryIWe should get it over with sooner than later so we can enter the new phase," he added.
He also said the government has based all its efforts on monetary policy, which has reached its limits, and as a result "we are faced with an inflation problem, which we attempt to confront with last-minute measures."
Athens News Agency
 Papandreou-Clerides talks focus on proximity talks, Helsinki summit
NICOSIA, 27/11/1999 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Foreign Minister George Papandreou was received here yesterday by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides for talks centring on the possible outcome from upcoming proximity talks as the EU Helsinki summit. In statements aft erwards, Mr. Papandreou reiterated that Athens would decide on Turkey's future status with the European Union after Greek officials read the final resolution to be drafted at the EU summit.
Asked to comment on reports that Washington was confident that Greece would 'rubber stamp' Turkey's EU candidate status, Mr. Papandreou noted that the US side was optimistic that Greece would be satisfied with the summit's final texts.
"However, we expect tough talks, because each of the 15 EU member-states is approaching the issue under discussion with its own sensitivities, concerns and priorities," he said.
He added that the period between the advent of proximity talks in New York on Dec. 3 and the Helsinki summit on Dec. 10 was not enough to provide an evaluation on whether there had been progress on the Cyprus issue, while it would give Greece the impetu s to approve Turkey's EU candidacy status.
Meetings with party leaders: The EU summit in Helsinki will be a landmark for Greece which will contribute not only to Cyprus' EU accession prospects but to the pursuit of a resolution of the Cyprus problem, Mr. Papandreou said after meeting with Secretary-General of Cypriot AKEL par ty, Dimitris Christofias.
Mr. Christofias said that without joint action on the part of Greece and Cyprus, the future could be described as 'gloomy'.
"Greece is right now our support," he said, "something which Cyprus appreciated".
Mr. Papandreou said his talks with Mr. Christofias had provided him with an opportunity to discuss in depth possible developments.
He cited these as inter-communal talks and the prospect of possible scenarios and answers and, more generally, Greek-Turkish, Cyprus-Greek- Turkish relations as well as the forthcoming summit in Helsinki, which will discuss expansion and Turkey's EU cand idacy bid.
Mr. Christofias also had criticism for the Cypriot government, saying it was viewing events "with apathy, awaiting from Greece and the Americans to take initiatives, something which is not good".
He said AKEL saw Greece's efforts to build on the good climate with Turkey, developed in the wake of the two earthquakes, as "positive". "It has been AKEL's standing position that the development and improvement of Greek- Turkish relations should ha ve positive effects on the course of the Cypriot issue," he said.
"For this good will and initiative on the part of Greece to have a positive outcome it needs to be reciprocated by the other side and we are waiting on this matter. We expect to see specific moves on Greek-Turkish relations as well as on Cyprus from Tur key's side and (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash; moves that will break the impasse," he said.
"We would have no objection, if there is a response and movement put forth on Cyprus, if Turkey were to pursue and eventually become a member of the EU. It was and is our conviction that Turkey, Cyprus and Greece in the EU would lead to the normalisatio n of relations and cultivate friendly relations, both as states and as peoples," he said. For AKEL, the main issue is and remains "pursuit of a solution to the Cypriot issue."
"We are not satisfied by Turkey's stance at this time," he said, adding: "It is characterised as unacceptable and provocative in relation to the Cyprus issue."
Mr. Papandreou told reporters that "an open and critical approach to the issues was the only one which can bring us the right results".
If everything is laid on the table, he said, "...we will work on the basis of mutual interest...Greece and Cyprus... on the rationale that we are pursuing a resolution of the Cyprus and the accession procedure which we do not see as proceeding independe ntly but essentially being a process which will help, as we see it, a resolution of the Cyprus issue."
Mr. Papandreou and the alternate president of the Democratic Rally party, Panayiotis Dimitriou, reaffirmed that a mutual consensus exists between Nicosia and Athens over the Cyprus issue.
On his part, Mr. Dimitriou said close cooperation between Nicosia and Athens exists and is being strengthened, while he referred to Greece's interest and determination "to safeguard the just causes of the nation and, more specifically, to promote the ca se of Cyprus."
In the framework of his contacts with the political leadership of Cyprus, Mr. Papandreou visited Democratic Party (DHKO) president and House of Representatives Speaker Spyros Kyprianou at Nicosia General Hopital. No statements were made after the 30-min ute talks.
Mr. Papandreou also met with Socialist EDEK party leader Vassos Lyssarides, who said it was clear "that regardless of whatever other processes, what remains basic is that real, full and finalised normalisation between Greece and Turkey passes through th e Cyprus issue."
Mr. Papandreou said "an in-depth discussion and briefing took place", adding that "we have the mutual conviction that whatever happens at Helsinki, we should support the course of resolving the Cyprus issue, to support the accession course of Cyprus."
"We in no case advised the government of Cyprus that it should refuse to attend talks, but we said that there were many other ways of doing the same things after certain things had been secured," Mr. Lyssarides said.
Asked whether EDEK agrees with the Greek government's handling of the Helsinki summit issue, Mr. Lyssarides replied in the affirmative but underlined, however, that "no decision has been taken yet."
Interview: Mr. Papandreou said that regardless of whether Athens voted 'yes' or 'no' to Turkey's designation as a "candidate-country" for European Union membership during the EU summit in Helsinki next month, Athens and Nicosia would go to the summit "united" and emerge having benefitted.
Mr. Papandreou said in an interview on Cyprus television RIK on Thursday night that "a new opportunity is opening up today, and we must not look with fear at the Helsinki summit, but rather see it as a substantial opportunity for positive utilisation by all the peoples of the region". He said the Helsinki summit would be a station in the 25-year-old struggle, but a much more important station than others that could create a new momentum. Mr. Papandreou expressed hope that the new generation of Greeks , Turks, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots "will be able to speak of a new day of peace and cooperation in an undivided and united Cyprus where differences will be solved and in which we can speak of the power of cooperation among all the Balkan peoples ".
Asked whether the return of the Turkish-occupied town of Famagusta would be a goodwill gesture on the part of Turkey sufficient to create the conditions for Greece lifting its veto on Turkey's EU candidacy at the Helsinki summit, Mr. Papandreou said tha t such a gesture would be "very substantive".
He added, however, that he was opposed to the "rationale of gestures", adding that Greece sought from the EU, which Turkey wished to join, "full commitments" on both the Cyprus problem and Cyprus' course to EU accession, as well as on the peaceful resol ution of differences.
T/C press: Finally, most of the Turkish Cypriot press greeted Mr. Papandreou's statements as "messages of peace."
The daily "Haklin Sesi" cited the Greek minister's statement about the peaceful co-existence of Greeks, Turks, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots in the "greater European fraternity," and a future without wars and conflicts.
"Yeni Douzen" wrote that Mr. Papandreou referred to a Cyprus solution that would provide for the ability of Greek and Turkish Cypriots to live peacefully in a unified Cyprus.
Athens News Agency
 Mitsotakis: Greek target at Helsinki should be Cyprus` EU accession
Athens, 27/11/1999 (ANA)New Democracy honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis emphasised yesterday t hat the major target Greece should aim for at the European Union Helsinki summit is to secure Cyprus' EU accession, regardless of whether the island republic's problem is solved.
He said that if Greece achieves this target then the Turkish request for EU candidacy can be approved.
Mr. Mitsotakis was speaking yesterday at the two-day conference organised by the Constantine Karamanlis Foundation. He focused primarily on Greek- Turkish relations and on the upcoming Helsinki summit on Turkey's candidacy for EU accession.
Distancing himself from the position of ND leader Costas Karamanlis, Mr. Mitsotakis said Greece should face Turkey's European vocation positively on condition, of course, that what is valid for every other country should also apply to Turkey's case.
Elaborating on his position, Mr. Mitsotakis said that from the time Turkey will acquire candidacy status it will enter a longstanding process of fulfilling relevant preconditions which will facilitate Greek-Turkish relations a great deal.
Turkey, he added, will ultimately be obliged to adjust to Europe and Europe will not be obliged to adjust to Turkey.
Mr. Mitsotakis said that Turkey's course towards Europe is unavoidably linked to the course of the Cyprus problem. He said the Cyprus issue decisively affects Greek-Turkish relations and is at the source of all crises and confrontations.
"Provided that the Cyprus issue is resolved, then Greek-Turkish differences are not unbridgeable," he said.
He went on to say that it is his conviction that if a good climate exists and the two countries are part of the wider European framework then bilateral problems can be resolved.
Mr. Mitsotakis also referred to Balkan policy, saying that there can be no peace and stability in the Balkans without the participation of Yugoslavia. He added that the minimum the west should request is for early and fair elections to take place in Yugoslavia.
Athens News Agency
 Albanian PM Meta promises improved investment climate
TIRANA, 27/11/1999 (ANA - I. Patso)A delegation of Greek investors, accompanied by Athens' envoy in the country, yesterday met with new Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta.
The Albanian premier noted the importance of Greek investment for his country, which as he said is second only to the Italian investments.
On his part, Greek ambassador to Tirana Alexandros Mallias stressed that the delegation's visit, along with previous investments in Albania, created the preconditions for Mr. Meta's successful visit to Athens P scheduled for Dec. 22.
Mr. Meta noted that the European Commission's approval of a feasability study regarding Albania proved that public order in his country is now at acceptable levels, therefore, "there is no danger for foreign investments."
He also reassured Greek investors that there will be transparency on the part of the Tirana government as well as improvement of the existing legal framework.
Finally, Mr. Meta requested of Greek investors to notify authorities of any and all cases involving corruption, while he stressed that his government will expend every effort to combat corruption in state services.
Athens News Agency
 EU education ministers meet
BRUSSELS, 27/11/1999 (ANA - G. Zitouniati)Opinions within the EU council of education ministers apparently converged on issues of training and education for the benefit of employment and the further economic development of the Union's citizens.
Education ministers noted that the most significant obstacles are the lack of applications of new technologies in schools and deficient training for educators, which they termed as "a first priority issue".
Greek Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis said that the meeting was "interesting" as it gave the ministers an opportunity to discuss central education issues in Europe.
He also noted that a software system will be incorporated into teaching, while a new European software system will be developed.
Athens News Agency
 Agenda-setting meeting in Athens by Greek, Turkish journalists
Athens, 27/11/1999 (ANA)Greek and Turkish delegations of journalists will meet today and tomorrow in Athens to set an agenda for a conference planned early next year in the Greek capital.
The delegations were set up during a meeting of Greek and Turkish journalists in Istanbul last October.
The January conference will include issues of media influence in Greek- Turkish relations over the last decade; the role of journalists and correspondents; ownership and senior editorial staff as well as the limits of press freedom regarding the two stat es' official policies.
The agenda will also focus on how the media in each country can formulate a positive climate in bilateral relations.
Athens News Agency
 Fire reported on Greek-owned freighter off Madras, crew safe
Athens, 27/11/1999 (ANA)Two Greek technicians and 18 foreign seamen were rescued yesterday after a fire broke out aboard a Greek-owned cargo vessel off the Indian port of Madras.
The merchant marine ministry said the fire broke out aboard the 5,983-grt freighter "Eliza" as it was sailing 280 miles southeast of Madras, en route from Sri Lanka to Bangladesh without cargo. The ship started to take on water after the blaze broke out .
The vessel is registered in the Marshall Islands.
The crew were rescued by an Indian vessel.
Athens News Agency
 Tsohatzopoulos on new armed forces pay scale
Athens, 27/11/1999 (ANA)National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos met with armed forces cadres at a camp in Alexandroupoli yesterday and referred to the military's new remuneration scale.
He was accompanied by Army General Staff Chief Gen. Constantinos Panagiotakis, among others.
Referring to the purpose of his visit to the Evros area, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said "every visit to the army's place of action and operation is a useful communication and because we are given the possibility to communicate and explain the political and mil itary messages which have a significance of their own at this period."
In his address, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos made particular reference to the officers' new pay scale, which was ratified in Parliament recently.
"Namely, the fact they are obliged to be at the borders, outside the headquarters to which they belong, either their families or their service, and so a special coefficient is anticipated which increases remuneration considerably compared to the main sa lary for those who are in the front line, for those who are in the countryside, for those who have the responsibility of command in units, to enable an overall clarification, that apart from increase coefficients on the main salary, from now on, the remun eration of armed forces cadres will also be evaluated with an additional and different way," he said.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said this was absolutely necessary because now is a different age and the needs of the country's armed forces have changed.
Athens News Agency
 Iran's Nassirinia wins the gold in 85-kg category at weightlifting championships
Athens, 27/11/1999 (ANA)Iranian weightlifter Shahin Nassirinia pulled off a major upset yesterday at the world weightlifting championships in Athens by taking the gold medal over hometown favourite Pyrrhos Dimas in the 85-kg category.
Dimas initially looked unbeatable, especially after breaking the world record in the snatch by lifting 180.5 kg. Nassirinia came in fourth in the event with 175 kg, only to lift a whopping 215 kg in the clean-and-jerk P 7.5 kilos more than Dimas.
The final tally had Nassirinia first with a total of 390 kg, Dimas -- the gold medal winner at the last world championships in Finland -- second with 387.5 kg and Germany's Mark Huster taking the bronze with 382.5 kg.
Athens News Agency
 Economic News
Athens, 27/11/1999 (ANA)Industrial safety rules ignored: Greece has adequate workplace safety regulations but companies are poor at enforcing them, resulting in 100 fatal industrial accidents a year, speakers at a labour seminar said yesterday.
The Institute of Health and Safety at Work said that one employee loses his or her life every three days in industrial accidents.
A total of 25,000 accidents are recorded per year in Greece, the speakers said.
In the European Union, 8,000 workplace fatalities occur annually.
The speakers noted that only 50 large companies have established health and safety committees in the workplace, as required by law.
Gov't focuses on joblessness: Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou told the seminar that the battle against unemployment would be the focus of interest for both the Greek government and the European Union.
The cabinet is to meet on Friday to discuss the national action plan on employment. Mr. Papaioannou said the government had also set a priority of supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises, which in turn would support job creation.
"In 1995-1999, 126,000 new jobs out of a total of 135,000 were created in businesses which employ 1-10 people, representing 90 percent of the total," he said.
"Small- and medium-sized enterprises in the same period received 114 billion drachmas in subsidies, and the creation of 37,000 personal enterprises was subsidised with 41 billion drachmas."
The minister said he would be meeting with Education and Religious Affairs Minister Gerasimos Arsenis next week to discuss improving vocational training.
On a European level, the Council of Social Affairs Ministers is to meet in Brussels on Monday. In addition, EU labour and finance ministers will meet to discuss goals for 2000 and coordinating national social insurance systems.
Portugal, which takes over as the EU's rotating president on January 1, has said that it will focus on employment, the subject of a special summit in March.
Greece is biggest energy consumer in EU: Greece is the largest energy consumer in the European Union in recent years, according to comparative figures on energy consumption per GDP unit released by Eurostat, the EU's statistical service.
The figures were carried in the TA NEA newspaper.
According to Eurostat, Denmark is the most frugal energy consumer in the 15- nation bloc, while Greece is the largest user, followed by Portugal, Britain and France. According to data attributed by the newspaper to Greece's development ministry, energy c onsumption (oil, electricity and other) in the country jumped 37.4 percent in 17 years from 11,483,000 oil- equivalent tons in 1979 to 16,273,000 oil-equivalent tons in 1996.
The main factor in the increase of energy consumption was transportation needs, namely the increase in the number of automobiles on the street, as low speeds used in urban transportation result in larger quantities of fuel burned.
Other factors were household use, chiefly for heating and airconditioning units, and commercial activities.
In those 17 years, energy consumption for transport rose by 39.1 percent, while consumption for home and commercial use rose 35.6 percent.
Blue chips lead stocks to recovery: Equities rebounded strongly in the last trading session of a dull week, helped by renewed buying interest in blue chip stocks, mainly by foreign institutional investors. The general index ended 3.66 percent higher at 5,616.89 points. Turnover was a modera te 263.5 billion drachmas.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+4.59 pct), Insurance (+4.13 pct), Leasing (+1.69 pct), Investment (+1.90 pct), Construction (+1.12 pct), Industrials (+2.36 pct), Miscellaneous (+1.49 pct) and Holding (+6.66 pct).
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 2.55 percent higher while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks surged 4.92 percent to end at 2,792.78 points.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 248 to 83 with another seven issues unchanged.
A total of 28 shares ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, while Orion's, Metka's and Development Invest's rights ended at the day's limit down.
National Bank of Greece ended at 22,170 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 25, 300, Commercial Bank at 22,800, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,800, Titan Cement (common) at 38,000, Intracom at 13,190, Minoan Lines at 9,630, Panafon at 3, 950 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,795.
Bonds steady in quiet trade: Bonds in the domestic secondary market were steady in higher turnover yesterday with institutional investors abroad still keeping out of the market.
Trade had perked up earlier this week on news that Standard & Poor's, the international credit ratings agency, had given Greece an upgrade; and on the purchase of 19 billion drachmas in paper by the central bank's employees fund.
Yesterday, the benchmark 10-year bond was trading above 99.05, showing a yield of 6.59 percent from 6.57 percent in the two previous sessions and 6.61 percent on Tuesday.
The yield spread over German bunds was stable at 138 basis points from 138- 140 basis points a day earlier and 138 basis points on Wednesday.
Electronic turnover was 37 billion drachmas from 26 billion drachmas in the previous session and 53 billion drachmas on Wednesday.
Sell orders accounted for 35 billion drachmas of yesterday's turnover.
Dollar's jump marks drachma trade: Domestic foreign exchange trade yesterday was dominated by the ascent of the dollar and decline of the euro on international markets.
The US currency hit an all-time high of 326 drachmas during trade. Inflows of 70-80 million euros were reported.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the European single currency rose against the drachma.
It was set at 329.000 drachmas from 328.600 drachmas in the previous session and 328.700 drachmas on Wednesday.
The dollar soared versus the drachma in line with its surge in global markets.
The US currency was set at 324.140 drachmas from 321.890 drachmas a day earlier and 321.140 drachmas on Wednesday.
Greece to offer 12M T-bills: The finance ministry announced that it would auction 50 billion drachmas of 12-month treasury bills in paperless form on Tuesday at its weekly sale of securities to primary dealers. It will also offer tax-free savings bonds aimed at the public on December
Mutual fund managers expect new rally: Domestic net mutual fund assets totalled 12.059 trillion drachmas on Thursday, November 28, slightly lower than the previous day's figures, Ionian Bank said yesterday.
Domestic equity mutual fund assets totalled 4.924 trillion drachmas, up a spectacular 934.446 percent from the start of the year, Ionian said in a daily report.
Mutual fund managers expect a new wave of capital inflows in the market, focusing on domestic equity funds and based on expectations of a new rally of prices on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Their predictions are based on the following:
- the belief that Greece will participate in EMU by January 1, 2001. Foreign institutional investors and economists agree in their forecasts that Greece will enter the euro zone despite recent increased inflationary pressures due to higher oil prices.
- increased profitability by almost all listed companies on the ASE, especially blue chip companies like banks and industrials which have announced profit increases of more than 100 percent so far this year.
- a wave of mergers and acquisitions by Greek listed companies in and out of the country.
- expectations of a new round of interest rate cuts by the Bank of Greece, a move likely to be followed by domestic commercial banks. Deposit interest rates are expected to fall gradually to 3-4 percent, a development likely to benefit the higher-yieldi ng mutual fund market.
- a continuous upgrading of Greece's credit rating, a trend signalling more foreign institutional investments in the stock market.
- views that Greece's entry into EMU will not have the same negative impact on the stock market as it did in Portugal.
- a positive outlook for international stock markets.
Hellenic Railways signs freight rate deal with FYROM: Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) yesterday announced the signing of a renewal agreement with its equivalent in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia aimed at strengthening co-operation and implementing common freight pricing policies next year.
The agreement also envisages efforts to attract cargo to freight train networks.
The deal covers all freight transport categories, imports, exports and transit. Prices will remain stable in euro terms.
Greek-Portuguese bank to have 30 branches: Greece's latest banking institution, formed through an alliance between Interamerican Group and Banco Commercial Portugues, will have a network of 30 branches, with 25 of them in Athens and Piraeus and the remaining five in Thessaloniki.
According to an Interamerican's monthly bulletin, the bank's general director, Yiannis Pehlivanidis, said that the bank's network would expand throughout Greece's main regional centres to 120 branches by the year 2003.
The new bank will focus on electronic banking services, ATMs, call centers and home banking through the Internet on a 24-hour base.
Its branches will be completely different from traditional banks, covering an area of no more than 120 square metres with a staff of 4-5 persons.
Banknotes Buying Selling: US Dollar 321.547 329.002 Can.Dollar 219.172 224.254 Australian Dlr 205.374 210.135 Pound Sterling 518.737 530.764 Irish Punt 414.402 424.010 Pound Cyprus 567.384 580.539 Pound Malta 749.233 780.451 Turkish pound (100) 0.057 0.059 French franc 49.755 50.908 Swiss franc 203.767 208.491 Belgian franc 8.090 8.278 German Mark 166.869 170.738 Finnish Mark 54.891 56.164 Dutch Guilder 148.100 151.533 Danish Kr. 43.872 44.889 Swedish Kr. 38.091 38.974 Norwegian Kr. 40.182 41.114 Austrian Sh. 23.718 24.268 Italian lira (100) 16.855 17.246 Yen (100) 309.226 316.396 Spanish Peseta 1.961 2.007 Port. Escudo 1.628 1.666
Euro: Buying:326.368 Selling:333.935
Foreign Exchange Buying Selling New York 321.547 329.002 Montreal 219.172 224.254 Sydney 205.374 210.135 London 518.737 530.764 Dublin 414.402 424.010 Nicosia 567.384 580.539 Paris 49.755 50.908 Zurich 203.767 208.491 Brussels 8.090 8.278 Frankfurt 166.869 170.738 Helsinki 54.891 56.164 Amsterdam 148.100 151.533 Copenhagen 43.872 44.889 Stockholm 38.091 38.974 Oslo 40.182 41.114 Vienna 23.718 24.268 Milan 16.855 17.246 Tokyo 309.226 316.396 Madrid 1.961 2.007 Lisbon 1.628 1.666
Athens News Agency