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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-12-31

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Thursday, 31 December 2009 Issue No: 3386


  • [01] FinMin chairs bank commissioners meeting
  • [02] State General Accounting Office
  • [03] ND leader Samaras announces society-party relations secretariat
  • [04] New Year messages by KKE, SYN
  • [05] Interior minister holds talks with BoG governor
  • [06] Credit expansion slowed further in November
  • [07] Retail sales volume down 15.3 pct in October
  • [08] Most declared income in 2008 from wage earners, pensioners
  • [09] Greek airlines announce new destinations
  • [10] OPAP unveils new chairman, CEO
  • [11] Eurobank Properties buys Tavros Development for 9.6 mln euros
  • [12] Lavrentiadis buys 31.3 pct in Proton Bank for 70 mln euros
  • [13] Greek stocks end flat on Wednesday
  • [14] ADEX closing report
  • [15] Greek bond market closing report
  • [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [17] Paggaio mayor found dead
  • [18] 'Jeep shooter' remanded in custody
  • [19] Cloudy on Thursday
  • [20] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] FinMin chairs bank commissioners meeting

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou chaired a meeting of Greek State Commissioners in banks on Wednesday, in the presence of Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos.

    The minister was briefed on the state of the Greek banking system, while a discussion was also held on the implementation of the Greek Economy's Liquidity Increasing Programme.

    According to an announcement, the recovery course and the stability of the banking system was confirmed during the discussion. The Commissioners requested a report to be submitted to the Finance Ministry regarding the implementation and the problems regarding the programmne amounting to 28 billion euros.

    It also added that the government, in the framework of its policy commitments, will proceed with considerable initiatives concerning the increase in the liquidity and the backing of small and medium-size enterprises.

    [02] State General Accounting Office

    The State General Accounting Office called for the restraining of the operational expenditures of all ministries concerning the consumption of electric power and water, telephone conversations, heating and for overtime and working away from base, in a circular on the implementation of the 2010 budget.

    The circular was sent to all the ministries on Wednesday and the Accounting Office stresses that there is no ground for expenditures being exceeded and that in the first fortnight of every month checks will be made of all the ministries' budgets.

    In parallel, the Finance Ministry calls on ministries to implement strictly decisions taken by the government concerning hirings.

    [03] ND leader Samaras announces society-party relations secretariat

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras announced Wednesday the establishment of a new secretariat for Society-ND Party Relations.

    Samaras stated that the new secretariat will focus on the creation of a political organization that will have its doors open to society.

    Lawyer Dionisis Karachalios was appointed secretary while the alternate secretary position was filled by Dimitris Kanellopoulos.

    [04] New Year messages by KKE, SYN

    In a New Year message the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Wednesday underlined that "2010 can be a good year for workers, the self-employed and the poverty stricken farmers."

    KKE pointed out in the message that "this can happen only if they face united the anti-popular storm launched against them by the government and the plutocracy, with the support of New Democracy."

    In its message, Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology (SYN) pointed out that "the New Year arrives in the shadow of the deep economic crisis and the consequences stemming from the impasses caused by the implementation of the neo-liberal economic model in all sectors of our lives."

    "Hope lies in the daily struggles of workers and the youth aimed at improving their living conditions and with the continuous struggle to build a society of justice, tolerance and solidarity," the message underlined.

    Financial News

    [05] Interior minister holds talks with BoG governor

    Interior Minister Yiannis Rangoussis held talks on Wednesday with Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos, focusing on the state and the course of the economy.

    Speaking after the meeting, Rangousis said that he briefed the central bank governor on changes that have been carried out or that are being prepared in the state and in local administration.

    The minister added that these changes have a direct and absolute relation to the economy and the monetary crisis that the country is experiencing, as well as with the citizens' great need to enjoy better and quality services from the state.

    Provopoulos said on his part that the minister briefed him on certain reformist initiatives that he has already taken and some others that will be carried out later and termed them considerable for the economy's exit from problems.

    [06] Credit expansion slowed further in November

    Credit expansion slowed further in November with the lending growth rate slowing to 4.2 pct from 4.4 pct in October, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday. The central bank, in a monthly report, said lending to domestic enterprises totaled 302 million euros in November for an annual growth rate of 5.2 pct, down from 5.4 pct in October and 18.7 pct in December 2008. New lending slowed in the sectors of agriculture, industry, commerce and other sectors, while it accelerated in all other sectors. Credit expansion in the manufacturing sector remained negative for the third consecutive month (-4.0 pct in November, -2.3 pct in October from 15.8 pct growth rate in December). In the commerce sector, credit expansion was 3.1 pct in November, from 6.0 pct in October and 19.5 pct in December 2008, in the construction sector credit expansion was 3.0 pct, 1.0 pct and 35.2 pct, respectively, while in the shipping sector credit expansion was 4.0 pct, 2.7 pct and 17.2 pct, respectively.

    Lending to households totaled 401 million euros in November, for an annual growth rate of 3.1 pct, from 3.3 pct in October and 12.8 pct in December 2008. Mortgage loans grew by 3.7 pct in November, down from 4.0 pct in October and 11.5 pct in December 2008, while consumer loans grew by 2.1 pct in November, from 2.4 pct in October and 16 pct in December 2009.

    [07] Retail sales volume down 15.3 pct in October

    Retail sales volume (turnover in fixed prices) dropped 15.3 pct in October, compared with the same month last year, after an increase of 6.5 pct recorded in October 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service, in a report, attributed the sharp decline in retail sales to a 4.8 pct fall in the foodstore category, a 43.5 pct drop in the fuel and lubricants category and 14.2 pct fall in the other stores category.

    [08] Most declared income in 2008 from wage earners, pensioners

    A large percentage of the declared income in Greece (65 pct) in the year 2008 (for incomes earned in 2007) came from wage earners and pensioners who paid 48 pct of the taxes collected, according to figures processed by the finance ministry general secretariat for information systems.

    Based on the figures released, 39.5 pct of the declared income belonged to wage earners, 25.3 pct to pensioners, 10.9 pct to the self-employed, 3.8 pct to independent means, 15.8 pct to tradesmen, industrialists, small factory owners and professionals and 4.6 pct to farmers and stockbreeders.

    [09] Greek airlines announce new destinations

    Two Greek passenger airlines, Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines, on Wednesday announced new flight destinations that will be on offer in 2010.

    Olympic Air will inaugurate flights schedule between Athens and Beirut, leaving on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in the week starting January 2 and ending January 9. These will depart from Athens at 1:00, arrive in Beirut at 3:05 and depart at 3:05 to return to Athens at 5:55.

    After January 1 and until March 27, these flights will be carried out by the new Airbus A319 aircraft and also offer the option of a business-class seat, which will be available at a special promotional price until the end of February.

    Aegean has announced two additions to its foreign destinations as of January 1, when it starts offering flights to Tel Aviv and Belgrade.

    The airline said there will be a daily flight to Tel Aviv departing at 11:00 in the morning and returning at 13:50 and seven flights a week to Belgrade.

    [10] OPAP unveils new chairman, CEO

    The Greek state, OPAP's largest shareholder, on Wednesday recommended Haris Stamatopoulos as the new chairman of the lottery organization, replacing Christos Hatziemmanouel, and Yiannis Spanoudakis as chief executive of the company.

    Haris Stamatopoulos served as chairman of the International Athens Airport and as chairman of Ioniki Bank in the past, while Spanoudakis served as chief executive in Athens 2004 and chief executive in Petzetakis SA.

    [11] Eurobank Properties buys Tavros Development for 9.6 mln euros

    Eurobank Properties on Wednesday announced the completion of the purchase of 100 pct of shares in Tavros Development SA for 9.6 million euros. Tavros Development is owner of a real estate property, covering a space of 5,646 square metres, located in the municipality of Tavros.

    Eurobank Properties said an auditors report valued the real estate property at 39.1 million euros.

    [12] Lavrentiadis buys 31.3 pct in Proton Bank for 70 mln euros

    Piraeus Bank on Wednesday announced the sale of 19,629,247 shares of Proton Bank -accounting to a 31.315 pct equity stake in the bank- to Lavrentis Lavrentiadis -a Greek businessman- for 70,665,289 euros.

    [13] Greek stocks end flat on Wednesday

    Greek stocks ended flat in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover rising to 129 million euros boosted by selective buying in small and medium capitalization stocks. The composite index of the market fell 0.07 pct to end at 2,194.49 points. The FTSE 20 index eased 0.56 pct, the FTSE 40 index rose 1.58 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 1.70 pct higher.

    Health (3.19 pct), Oil (2.08 pct) and Media (2.79 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Banks (1.15 pct) and Telecommunications (1.06 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses.

    Tegopoulos (18.64 pct), United Textiles (16.67 pct), Nireus (10.17 pct) and Forthnet (9.82 pct) were top gainers, while Alpha Akinita (8.86 pct), Zinon (5.41 pct) and Evrofarma (5.26 pct) were top losers. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 116 to 65 with another 53 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.75%

    Industrials: -1.07%

    Commercial: -0.62%

    Construction: +1.49%

    Media: +2.79%

    Oil & Gas: +2.08%

    Personal & Household: +2.09%

    Raw Materials: +0.56%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.26%

    Technology: +4.91%

    Telecoms: -1.06%

    Banks: -1.15%

    Food & Beverages: -0.18%

    Health: +3.19%

    Utilities: +1.14%

    Chemicals: +0.26%

    Financial Services: +1.36%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Proton, National Bank, Alapis and OTE.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 8.19

    ATEbank: 1.88

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.69

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.10

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.90

    National Bank of Greece: 17.82

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.81

    Intralot: 4.08

    OPAP: 15.50

    OTE: 10.26

    Bank of Piraeus: 8.00

    Titan: 20.46

    [14] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.20 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 32.045 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,187 contracts, worth 29.041 million euros, with 22,075 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 3,828 contracts worth 3.004 million euros, with investment interest focusing on GEK's contracts (1,229), followed by Eurobank (96), MIG (86), OTE (194), Piraeus Bank (199), National Bank (557), Alpha Bank (276), Marfin Popular Bank (200), ATEbank (231).

    [15] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 286 million euros on Wednesday, of which 56 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 230 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 85 million euros.

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened slightly to 241 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 5.78 pct and the German Bund 3.37 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.24 pct, the six-month rate was 0.99 pct, the three-month rate 0.71 pct and the one-month rate 0.47 pct.

    [16] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.445

    Pound sterling 0.911

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 10.377

    Japanese yen 133.41

    Swiss franc 1.499

    Norwegian kroner 8.388

    Canadian dollar 1.515

    Australian dollar 1.616

    General News

    [17] Paggaio mayor found dead

    Triantafyllos Koukoudis, Mayor of Paggaio, a northeast Greece municipality, who had been declared missing on Tuesday by Kavala police, was found dead in his car in a remote seaside region west of the city of Kavala, on Wednesday evening. He had been shot in the head.

    The 50-year-old mayor had left his home in his car for a scheduled meeting at Nea Peramos in the municipality of Eleftheron. When he failed to return, his brother reported his disappearance to police at noon on Tuesday.

    On Tuesday, officers had searched the mayor's residence and on Wednesday authorities had extended their search to a sea region east of Kavala.

    A medical examiner was expected to arrive at the scene where the body was found late Wednesday night.

    [18] 'Jeep shooter' remanded in custody

    The 31-year-old Greek arrested as a suspect for a series of random shootings in Athens and Piraeus was remanded in custody on Wednesday, after appearing before an examining magistrate. The suspect has been charged with five counts of attempted homicide and weapons law violations. According to police, the man is the mystery shooter in the dark-coloured jeep that went around taking pot-shots at unsuspecting passers-by, seriously injuring two people in the process.

    According to his defence lawyers, the suspect is mentally ill and "not even in a position to defend himself". They have applied for a psychiatric evaluation of their client and asked that he be admitted to a psychiatric institution for treatment. A decision on their requests will be made by the magistrate over the next few days.

    Among those testifying to the magistrate on Wednesday was a psychiatrist that has been treating the 31-year-old taxi-driver for the past two years.

    Weather Forecast

    [19] Cloudy on Thursday

    Cloudy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 5C and 23C. Fair in Athens, with southerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 10C to 21C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 7C to 17C.

    [20] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The prime minister's statements on the closely watched stability pact, proposals for Parliament committees of inquiry as well as a high-profile comment that recent hikes in vehicle road taxes were a mistake mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Thousands of citizens permanently park their cars".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Three million buildings vulnerable to major quake".

    AVGHI: "(VAT) Slap to consumers, merchants".

    AVRIANI: "Government U-turn in vehicles taxes".

    CHORA: "Political Babylon (from PM's statements)".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Government giving Greek citizenship to illegal migrants".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Government aims to curtail 8 percent deficit in order to sooth relations with EU, markets".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Mockery over vehicles' taxes".

    ESTIA: "Taxpayers react over absurd taxes".

    ETHNOS: "Prime Minister: Higher vehicle taxes wrong, unfair".

    IMERISSIA: "Papandreou leaves open window on VAT hike".

    KATHIMERINI: "Papandreou pledge on pact accepted by EU".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "2.5 billion euro revenues plan via privatisations".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Government prepares tax raid - New storm of anti-popular measures".

    TA NEA: "Five new taxes and an apology".

    VIMA: "Mr. Papandreou confesses ..."

    VRADYNI: "Tax office demands information on property from citizens who want to return vehicles plates".

    We wish our readers a happy New Year.

    The ANA-MPA News Bulletin will appear again on Monday, January 4, 2010.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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