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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-10-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Tuesday, 2 October 2012 Issue No: 4188


  • [01] Budget draft plan foresees 3.8% recession in 2013
  • [02] Projection: GDP to fall below 200 bln euros in 2013
  • [03] PASOK on state budget; extraordinary real estate surtax
  • [04] Troika continues to reject 2.0 billion euro of proposed Greek cuts
  • [05] PM, FinMin hold 40-minute meeting with 'troika' delegation
  • [06] Government spokesman on consultations with troika
  • [07] DIMAR spokesman on 'troika'
  • [08] EU Commissioner F?le stresses 'key' Greek role in EU enlargement; meets PM, foreign minister
  • [09] SYRIZA leader expresses strong opposition to OPAP privatisation
  • [10] Gov't spokesman
  • [11] Ind'p Greeks party leader meets with pharmacists' reps
  • [12] KKE's Papariga addresses meeting of Euro communist parties
  • [13] FM Avramopoulos congratulates Cypriot counterpart on Cyprus independence anniversary
  • [14] Journalist Nikos Hatzinikolaou testifies before the Greek Police Internal Affairs
  • [15] Alpha Bank-Emporiki Bank deal a 'significant step' towards restructuring of banking system
  • [16] PM meets with Greek shipowners union
  • [17] Draft bill for state sector mergers, abolitions unveiled for public consultation
  • [18] Youth unemployment reaches 55.4% in July
  • [19] GSEE and ADEDY unions to hold protest rally in Athens on October 8
  • [20] Metro, tram and electric rail workers decide to strike against austerity package
  • [21] Gov't fines Kraft Foods Hellas with 1.27 million euros
  • [22] Greek PMI steady in Sept.
  • [23] Business Briefs
  • [24] Stocks end moderately up on Monday
  • [25] Greek bond market closing
  • [26] ADEX closing report
  • [27] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [28] Norwegian tourist missing in mountainous Hania prefecture
  • [29] Fuel smuggling in armed forces cited
  • [30] Illegal migrants arrested during police operation at Patras harbour
  • [31] Super League result, standings
  • [32] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

  • [01] Budget draft plan foresees 3.8% recession in 2013

    A draft budget plan, which was tabled in Parliament, on Monday envisages spending cuts worth 7.308 billion euros for 2013, a recession of -3.8 pct (from a recession of -6.5 pct this year) and unemployment of 24.7 pct (from 23.5 pct in 2012).

    According to the budget draft plan, spending savings will result from a restructuring of the public sector (483 million euros), a restructuring of local authorities (100 million euros), reduced payroll spending (1.1 billion euros), lower pension spending (3.799 billion euros), cutbacks in social benefits (347 million euros), lower healthcare spending (803 million), cutbacks in national defense (304 million), lower spending on education (132 million) and a restructuring of public sector enterprises (241 million euros).

    On the other hand, budget revenues are projected to rise by 492 million euros from a renationalization of family benefits, a rise in retirement age by two years (5 million euros), lower revenue returns (60 million euros).

    The budget draft plan also foresees a fiscal deficit of 4.2 pct of GDP next year (from 6.6 pct in 2012) and a primary surplus of 1.1 pct of GDP (from a primary deficit of 1.4 pct this year).

    Net regular budget revenues are expected to total 48.952 billion euros this year and 46.742 billion euros in 2013, following the implementation of additional fiscal austerity measures). Overdue debt by invididuals, currently at around 7.0 billion euros, were projected to be repaid in two equal tranches this year and in 2013.

    Private consumption is projected to fall by 5.9 pct in 2013; public consumption to fall by 7.2 pct and investments to decline by 3.7 pct. Exports of goods and services were projected to rise by 2.5 pct, while imports to fall by 5.3 pct. Employment is expected to decline by 3.0 pct and the inflation rate to ease to -0.1 pct.

    [02] Projection: GDP to fall below 200 bln euros in 2013

    Greece's Gross Domestic Product will drop below 200 billion euros in 2013, projected to drop to 193.078 billion euros, according to a projection of next year's budget draft plan.

    The draft plan envisages that the country's public debt will total 179.3 pct of GDP in 2013, from 169.5 pct in 2012, adding that the Greek economy has lost around 47 billion euros in the last five years.

    Under budget provisions, the state will spend 8.95 billion euros (or 4.6 pct of GDP) on interest payment next year, down from 11.735 billion euros or 5.8 pct of GDP in 2012.

    The Public Investment Programme will also suffer new cuts (for the 10th consecutive period) to 6.85 billion euros in 2013, down from 7.3 billion in 2012.

    [03] PASOK on state budget; extraordinary real estate surtax

    PASOK party spokesperson Fofi Gennimata on Monday underlined that the necessity of an extended fiscal adjustment period is evident in the 2013 draft budget, expected to be tabled in Parliament later on Monday.

    She said the adjustment period will have to last until the end of 2016 allowing the fiscal measures to be bearable by national economy and Greek households. The extension option is included in the present loan contract in case recession is deeper than anticipated which, unfortunately is again the case due to EC-ECB-IMF Troika's "incorrect forecasts", she stressed.

    Gennimata underlined that a state budget will be prepared only after a full agreement with the creditors is reached that will include fiscal measures and counterweights that will provide an opportunity to the country to exit the economic crisis.

    Referring to the extraordinary real estate surtax collected via electricity bills, she said it is not an across-the-board measure and generates roughly two billion euros for state coffers.

    Gennimata made the comment in response to statements by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MPs, who alleged that a settlement has been reached with the ministry of finance to allow owners of large real estate property holdings to pay a surtax that is reduced up to 60 pct.

    [04] Troika continues to reject 2.0 billion euro of proposed Greek cuts

    The heads of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' continue to object to measures worth about 2.0 billion euro in the austerity package proposed by the Greek side and are refusing to accept them, a high-ranking finance ministry source revealed after a meeting between finance ministry officials and the troika representatives on Monday.

    The issues that remain outstanding will be discussed during a meeting between the troika and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at 6:00 p.m., the same official said.

    [05] PM, FinMin hold 40-minute meeting with 'troika' delegation

    Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, speaking upon his exit from the Maximos Mansion on Monday, where he joined Prime Minister Antonis Samaras during a meeting with representatives of the EC-ECB-IMF "troika", said consultations on the latest and closely watched package of austerity measures are continuing, while clarifications have been requested.

    The meeting lasted for 40 minutes.

    Stournaras did not reply on whether a new meeting will take place and whether the representatives of the country's creditors are calling for even bigger cuts in pensions.

    [06] Government spokesman on consultations with troika

    Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, speaking on Monday after the meeting between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the EC/ECB/IMF troika representatives, said that "there is no jam, the consultations are continuing".

    The spokesman spoke of "laborious consultations" and stressed that the prime minister is in constant contact with European counterparts of his and senior EU officials.

    He also said that there shall be a new meeting with the troika and a meeting of the party leaders supporting the government without the time of its convening being known, however.

    Asked whether there is a possibility of no final agreement at the Eurogroup next Monday, he replied "our pursuit is for us to be within the limits".

    [07] DIMAR spokesman on 'troika'

    Democratic Left (DI.MAR) spokesman Andreas Papadopoulos on Monday underlined that "the (EC-ECB-IMF) troika is being very harsh (in terms of proposed austerity measures), whereas EU representatives' attitude is not the same; IMF representatives are the harsher of the two (parties)..." he said.

    Papadopoulos added that the troika must understand that there are "people behind the numbers" who are watching their lives being destroyed. He added that the prime minister will have a series of meetings in Europe focusing on political solutions.

    [08] EU Commissioner F?le stresses 'key' Greek role in EU enlargement; meets PM, foreign minister

    European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule emphasised in Athens on Monday that Greece retains a key role in relation to European accession prospects as well as stability in southeastern Europe, in statements made after a meeting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    "Greece, in spite of the serious crisis it is undergoing, continues to be interested in enlargement and we agree on its goals," Fule said at the offices of the European Commission in Athens, directly after the meetings. Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas also participated in a panel discussion.

    Concerning Turkey, in particular, he noted that its relations with the EU were marked by many strategic interests in common but also difficulties. He emphasised that Turkey was key for the stability of the region and a significant economic partner.

    "It is in the interests of Greece for Turkey to have democracy, stability and economic growth," he added, noting that Ankara had made a pledge through the 'Positive Agenda' to seek rapprochement with the EU, one of the criteria of reforms.

    According to Kourkoulas, Athens has the same strategic goals and the same approach toward enlargement as the European Commission, especially in the Western Balkans. Close cooperation with the Commission was an important element of Greece's policy in the region, he added, while enlargement would be a priority issues for the Greek EU presidency in the first half of 2014, via the 'Agenda 2014'

    According to Avramopoulos, in statements after meeting Fule earlier on Monday, Greece "actively supports the European prospects of Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) and Albania, provided they comply with the criteria and decisions of the EU".

    He also underlined that the 'Agenda 2014' initiative for the EU accession of the western Balkans would be a priority of the Greek EU presidency in that period.

    Avramopoulos referred to the ongoing "name dispute" with fYRoM and stressed that this must be resolved before the country joined the EU, stressing that there could not be "European integration with unresolved issues" and that a solution must be based on "mutual historical and cultural respect".

    The Greek foreign minister said he expected a new initiative from the United Nations in that direction and encouraged UN mediator for the name dispute Matthew Nimetz to begin a process toward this end.

    The Commissioner is currently conducting a tour of European capitals ahead of the release on the European Commission's progress report on the EU candidate countries that is due to come out on Oct. 10

    [09] SYRIZA leader expresses strong opposition to OPAP privatisation

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday again lashed out at the coalition government, condemning its policy on the closely watched issue of privatisations. He specifically referred to the state-run lottery and betting pools agency, OPAP, raising what he called "questions of transparency" as regards procedures followed to sell a controlling stake in the company.

    Addressing OPAP employees, Tsipras said the government goal is to sell-off public assets, adding that the privatisation of OPAP serves the government's PR needs and private economic interests, not public interest.

    Referring to the role of the Public Asset Development Fund (TAIPED), Tsipras said it has been "selected to do the dirty work," underlining that the agency is operating "illegally and against all the rules". He also stressed that in the limited time it has been in operation it was implicated in dozens of questionable cases.

    As regards OPAP, in particular, Tsipras said a TAIPED announcement on Sept. 17 mentioned that only 29 pct of its shares will be sold, however, a new announcement two days ago said that 33 pct of the 34-pct stake owed by the state will be sold.

    Tsipras also said that the preceding TAIPED board had appointed as its legal adviser the same legal firm representing a British-owned online betting firm, one of OPAP's main competitors. The same British firm had lobbied the European Commission against the Greece's legal framework ensuring OPAP's monopoly status in the country, as well as recent legislation regulating the betting market, Tsipras stated, citing what he called a conflict of interest.

    Tsipras also challenged TAIPED's legality, referring to the selection of the fund's president by Parliament.

    OPAP's sales approached 4.0 billion euros in the first eight months of the year, and despite a deep economic crisis, the organisation managed to maintain profitability and dividend policy at high levels, OPAP's management said in early September.

    [10] Gov't spokesman

    Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Monday sharply criticised Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras, who earlier expressed his party's adamant opposition to the sale of a controlling interest in the state-run lottery and betting pools agency OPAP.

    Kedikoglou called Tsipras a "populist and the herald an outdated statism; allergic to necessary reforms."

    "He (Tsipras) is a consistent voice of past notions; he shamelessly uses populism by easily adopting groundless reports on both the process governing the sale of OPAP shares, and the operation and role of TAIPED," Kedikoglou said.

    The spokesman charged that Tsipras wrongly estimated the value of the state's participation in OPAP at 125 million euros instead of 375 million euros in the extension of its exclusive right over the 2020-2030 period, as well as the value of a license for 35,000 video-lottery (games) at 190 million euros instead of 475 million euros.

    "The Greek people will overcome him, sidestepping over vested interests," he added.

    [11] Ind'p Greeks party leader meets with pharmacists' reps

    Opposition Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos on Monday called on the government to proceed "as agreed" with the 1 pct financing of the National Organisation for Health Care (EOPYY) and have any state debts to pharmacists paid by offsetting the organization's debts against the pharmacists' tax dues.

    Kammenos met with representatives of the Panhellenic Pharmacists Association at his party offices in the Parliament building. He was briefed on EOPYY's financial problems and was presented with proposals prepared by the pharmacists aimed at ensuring the sector's smooth operation.

    [12] KKE's Papariga addresses meeting of Euro communist parties

    BRUSSELS (AMNA / V. Demiris)

    The people should demand that the debt be written-off unilaterally because its recognition will lead to negotiation meaning new memorandums and austerity measures, opposition Communist Party (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga said here on Monday.

    Papariga addressed a meeting of European communist parties, focusing on their stance vis-?-vis the "capitalist crisis".

    The Greek Communist party leader stressed that the people should free themselves from the European Union and noted that the economic crisis will reach more eurozone countries due to a lack of balanced economic growth, stressing that indications of a fatigue are observed in Germany and even as far away as China.

    [13] FM Avramopoulos congratulates Cypriot counterpart on Cyprus independence anniversary

    Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos sent a message of congratulations to his Cypriot counterpart Erato Kozakou-Markoulli on the 52nd anniversary of the proclamation of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In his message Avramopoulos reassures Markoulli that the issue of Cyprus constitutes a top priority of Greece's foreign policy, stressing that the continuous cooperation and coordination between Greece and Cyprus constitute a guarantee for the effectiveness of the common struggle, whose final target is the termination of Turkish occupaqtion and the reunification of Cyprus in the framework of an agreed, viable and workable solution.

    Noting that "despite the joy of the celebration of independence the tragedy of the continuing Turkish occupation and of the creation of settlements," Avravopoulos stresses that Greece will continue to provide every assistance and support to Cyprus for the achievement of the common target.

    [14] Journalist Nikos Hatzinikolaou testifies before the Greek Police Internal Affairs

    Publisher and journalist Nikos Hatzinikolaou on Monday testified before the Greek Police (EL.AS) Internal Affairs in connection with a Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) case file leak to the press and its subsequent publication in the Athens daily Real News.

    A prosecutor assigned the preliminary investigation into the case to EL.AS Internal Affairs because the leak involved a public agency.

    The content of Hatzinikolaou's testimony has not been revealed but according to information he cited journalistic confidentiality.

    Financial News

    [15] Alpha Bank-Emporiki Bank deal a 'significant step' towards restructuring of banking system

    Paris-based Credit Agricole S.A. and Greece-listed Alpha Bank on Monday confirmed that the former has entered into "exclusive negotiations" Alpha for the sale of its subsidiary in Greece, Emporiki Bank

    The transaction is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2012 and is subject to applicable regulatory approvals and procedures as to work councils and employment representative bodies of Credit Agricole S.A., according to a press release by Alpha.

    "Upon completion of the transaction, Alpha Bank will purchase Emporiki Bank recapitalised by Euro 2.85 billion. Prior to completion, Credit Agricole S.A. will inject a further Euro 0.5 billion of capital in addition to the Euro 2.3 billion capital injection completed in July 2012. Credit Agricole S.A. will also subscribe into a Euro 150 million convertible bond to be issued by Alpha Bank, which, at the discretion of Credit Agricole S.A., will convert into Alpha Bank common shares, subject to certain terms and conditions. Alpha Bank will acquire Emporiki Bank's entire share capital for a nominal consideration in accordance with the terms and conditions set by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund. The transaction results in a net recapitalisation of the combined group of Euro 3 billion and contributes towards Alpha Bank's own recapitalisation plan."

    It also called the prospect a significant step towards the restructuring of the Greek banking system.

    Alpha Bank said it will proceed with a plan to integrate Emporiki Bank, completing a reorganisation plan launched by Credit Agricole, following the takeover of Emporiki Bank in 2006. The integration of operations is expected to have significant financial benefits, with synergies on operating costs projected at around 150 million euros annually. The acquisition of Emporiki Bank is a significant step also because the new banking group will hold a pro forma market share of 19 pct in savings, a 25 pct in loans and a leading position in mortgage and corporate loans in the Greek market. Pro forma assets will total 78 billion euros, based on March 31 2012 figures.

    Alpha Bank said the acquisition is expected to have been completed by December 31, 2012, after taking the necessary approvals by market authorities.

    The recapitalisation of Greek banks from the Greek Financial Stability Fund will determine the French group's participation in the new bank, Credit Agricole and Alpha Bank said in their statements released on Monday. The French group, however, noted it will acquire convertible bonds of the new banking group and will remain as a strategic investor.

    Emporiki Bank is one of the oldest banks in Greece, founded in 1907. In June 2000, Emporiki Bank signed a strategic partnership agreement with Credit Agricole, with the French group buying an initial 6.7 pct equity stake in the Greek bank.

    Credit Agricole, is the largest retain bank in France, with a global presence, employing more than 160,000 people in 74 countries, with 58 million customers worldwide and operating a branch network of 11,850 units in more than 20 countries.

    Alpha Bank has a rich business activity in the country, with a history of more than 130 years.

    The Alpha Bank-Emporiki Bank deal, following the integration of ATEbank's healthy operations to Piraeus Bank, aims to change the domestic banking sector.

    The restructuring is expected to be fully complete with decision over the future of Hellenic Postbank. The day after this restructuring, the Greek banking system will have three or four very powerful banks which will contribute in the difficult task of restarting economic growth in the country and helping in efforts to exit the crisis.

    The market is now focusing on the next strategic moves by National Bank and Eurobank, the two other candidates in the sale of Emporiki Bank.

    [16] PM meets with Greek shipowners union

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday again received the leadership of the Union of Greek Shipowners, a week after a similar meeting.

    In welcoming the group to his Maximos Mansion office, the Greek prime minister underlined that "in these difficult hours ... it is the duty of all to contribute to the effort for the country's recovery..."

    On his part, the president of the Union, Theodoros Veniamis, noted that Greek "shipowners understand that the moment is crucial, as well as an exceptional opportunity for the country to recover and to grow..."

    The shipowners' group briefed the premier over the problems and challenges that the maritime shipping sector is facing, while discussing ways shipowners can contribute in the Greek economy's recovery.

    Shipping Minister Costas Mousouroulis was also present at the meeting.

    [17] Draft bill for state sector mergers, abolitions unveiled for public consultation

    The administrative reform and electronic governance ministry on Monday unveiled a draft bill legislating for the merger and abolition of a number of broader public sector agencies, which was posted on the Internet for a period of public consultation.

    The aim of the bill is to make public-sector services and agencies more efficient and cost-effective so as to reduce the financial burden on Greek tax-payers as much as possible.

    The process will begin with a 'first stage' of mergers and abolitions that will act as a pilot for broader restructuring programmes for public-sector entities.

    The ministry said the aim was to abolish entities whose mission could be more efficiently carried out by another already existing organisation, while any activities that continue to serve the public interest will be transferred to other state sector bodies or services. For the staff working in these organisations, the ministry's goal is that they should be transferred and made use of in other state agencies that were currently understaffed.

    The draft bill addresses issues that will arise in this process, such as terminating the employment of organisation presidents and board members, staff transfers so that they will not be deemed 'new recruitments' and others.

    The bill lists six broader public-sector organisations that are to be scrapped entirely and about eight that are to be merged together or with other state entities, including the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) SA compay, trade fair organisers HELEXPO and the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board that are to be merged into a company called "Hellenic Organisation of Exhibitions and Export Development SA.

    It also calls for the abolition and merger of 29 agencies for the management of protected environmental regions, of which 20 will be merged to create nine agencies, four will be absorbed by existing services and five will continue to be independent entities due to the importance or unique value of the habitats or regions they manage.

    Existing 'Social Care Units' will be abolished and operate as decentralised departments of 13 newly created Social Care Units based in each region in the country. Also abolished and merged into a single entity are Loader/Unloader Compensation Funds, while Child Protection Societies are abolished with the exception of those based in cities where an appeals court is based.

    The administrative reform ministry's bill is the first step in spending cuts outlined in the draft budget for 2013, which was also unveiled on Monday and calls for the immediate merger and/or abolition of some 196 public-sector entities and for an evaluation with a view to possible closure of another 200.

    In other measures designed to curtail state spending, the draft budget legislates to restrict additional salary payments for overtime, night-time work and holidays, spending on travel, telecommunications, rents and other operating costs, restriction on the number of contract staff employed in the broader public sector, cuts in spending on health and pharmaceuticals, tighter monitoring of benefit and pension recipients and others.

    [18] Youth unemployment reaches 55.4% in July


    Unemployment in Greece stood at 24.4 percent in June 2012, up from 23.5 percent in May 2012, Eurostat announced here on Monday.

    Greece recorded the second highest unemployment rate in the EU,after Spain (25.1 percent), while the lowest rates were in Austria (4.5 percent), Luxembourg (5.2 percent) the Netherlands (5.3) and Germany ( 5.5 percent).

    Unemployment in the eurozone stood at 11.4 percent in August and 10.5 percent in July.

    Greece also posted the highest unemployment amongst young adults (55.4 percent), while unemployment amongst men was 21.7 percent and amongst women 28.1 percent.

    [19] GSEE and ADEDY unions to hold protest rally in Athens on October 8

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) will be jointly holding a labour protest rally against the new measures in Syntagma Square in Athens on Monday October 8, at 6 in the afternoon.

    Similar action will be taking place on the same day in other cities in the country and at Labour Centres.

    GSEE also sent a letter to the prime minister and to the leaders of parties supporting the government, calling for a meeting "immediately and before any legislative initiative regarding the measures to be promoted, which the Confederation terms 'unfair, unequal and ineffective'".

    [20] Metro, tram and electric rail workers decide to strike against austerity package

    Workers in the Athens' fixed rail systems organisation STASY, which includes the tram, electric railway and metro, on Monday said they were determined to take dynamic and escalating strike action in order to avert the latest package of austerity measures announced by the government.

    The presidencies of their three unions held a joint meeting in which they stressed that the measures will "decimate wages and pensions and level the last remaining labour rights". They agreed that the only way to avert these "catastrophic measures" would be for all trade union organisations to agree on joint action.

    For this reason, the unions representing STASY workers have called on the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) to undertake an initiative to coordinate action by all unions and labour federations in order to decide on action and mobilisation jointly.

    Regardless of whether GSEE takes up the invitation, however, the members of the three unions have made it clear that they are prepared to begin strike action on their own if they have to, by holding rolling 48-hour strikes.

    [21] Gov't fines Kraft Foods Hellas with 1.27 million euros

    Market watchdog authorities on Monday announced a decision to fine Kraft Foods Hellas SA with 1.27 million euros for transfer price fixing practices.

    The fine covers activities by Cadbury Hellas SA in 2008.

    The company was absorbed by Kraft Foods Hellas in 2010.

    Thanasis Skordas, Development Deputy Minister, commenting on the decision, said the ministry was sending a message to the market that it was determined to continue inspections for unfair practices in the market.

    [22] Greek PMI steady in Sept.

    Greece's Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) rose slightly to 42.2 points in September, up from 42.1 in August, still recording a decreasing trend for more than three years in a row.

    The index, measuring business activity in the manufacturing sector, showed that production levels fell steeply in September, although at a slightly slower pace compared with August, reflecting a decline in demand both in the domestic and international markets. Employment levels fell in the manufacturing sector in September, extending a decline period for the 53rd month in a row.

    Greek manufacturers also continued cutting their level of pending works. Purchasing activity fell significantly in September, as enterprises adapted to reduced production demands by lowering inventories. Inflow prices rose in September to their highest level in 13 months, but enterprises absorbed these increases in order to meet increasing competition.

    The PMI index is a composite index compiled by Markit. Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector and readings below 50 a shrinking sector.

    [23] Business Briefs

    -- The mobile telephony sector is a strong supporter of the Greek economy, as the sector continued investing a major part of its EBITDA, compared with levels seen in other European countries, and despite a 35.7-pct decline in revenues, a survey showed on Monday.

    [24] Stocks end moderately up on Monday

    Stocks ended moderately higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index rising 0.72 pct to end at 744.42 points. News that Credit Agricole was in negotiations with Alpha Bank to sell Emporiki Bank boosted sentiment early in the session, pushing the index 2.2 pct higher, although profit-taking selling cut earlier gains.

    Alpha Bank's share price rose 6.63 pct at 1.77 euros, off the day's highs of 1.89 euros.

    Turnover remained a disappointing 43.866 million euros. The Big Cap index rose 0.73 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.73 pct higher.

    The Travel (2.79 pct), Food (2.12 pct) and Health (2.02 pct) sectors were top gainers, while Financial Services (1.67 pct), Technology (1.45 pct) and Personal Products (1.40 pct) were top losers. Alpha Bank (6.63 pct), Piraeus Bank (4.49 pct) and Motor Oil (4.30 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Cyprus Bank (5.19 pct), Eurobank (4.72 pct) and Viohalco (3.65 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 65 to 64 with another 24 issues unchanged. Mohlos (25 pct), PC Systems (19.05 pct) and Compucon (18.75 pct) were top gainers, while Varvaresos (20 pct), Elbisco (19.82 pct) and Boutaris (18.06 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -0.64%

    Commercial: -1.27%

    Construction +0.41%

    Oil & Gas: +0.56%

    Personal & Household: -1.40%

    Raw Materials: -1.35%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.79%

    Technology: -1.45%

    Telecoms: +1.37%

    Banks: +0.60%

    Food & Beverages: +2.12%

    Health: +2.02%

    Utilities: +0.19%

    Financial Services: -1.67%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Alpha Bank, National Bank, OTE and EFG Eurobank Ergasias.

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.77

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 3.62

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.83

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.40

    National Bank of Greece: 1.87

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 1.01

    OPAP: 4.13

    OTE: 2.95

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.37

    Titan: 15.00

    [25] Greek bond market closing

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 17.898 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 17.96 pct last Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 19.35 pct and the German Bund 1.46 pct. Turnover totaled 3.0 million euros, of which 2.0 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 1.0 million euros were buy order.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate was 0.68 pct, the six-month rate eased to 0.43 pct, the three-month rate was 0.22 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.

    [26] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.80 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 10.263 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,505 contracts worth 3.434 million euros, with 28,848 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 36,549 contracts worth 6.829 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (18,072), followed by National Bank (8,050), OTE (1,425), PPC (1,522), Piraeus Bank (2,550), Cyprus Bank (726), OPAP (727), Mytilineos (199), Eurobank (2,250) and GEK (173).

    [27] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.307

    Pound sterling 0.810

    Danish kroner 7.567

    Swedish kroner 8.600

    Japanese yen 101.93

    Swiss franc 1.227

    Norwegian kroner 7.488

    Canadian dollar 1.285

    Australian dollar 1.261

    General News

    [28] Norwegian tourist missing in mountainous Hania prefecture

    A rescue operation was commenced on Monday morning in an area between the villages of Sougia and Paleohora, located on the large island of Crete's SW coast, to locate a 62-year-old Norwegian tourist missing from the previous evening.

    The Norwegian man arrived on the island for a holiday with his wife. He reportedly left at noon on Sunday from Sougia heading towards Paleohora.

    According to police, the missing man did not have a mobile phone on him.

    The incident marked the ninth such instance of a missing tourist this year in the mountainous region of Hania prefecture.

    [29] Fuel smuggling in armed forces cited

    Justice ministry secretary general G. Sourlas on Monday charged, following his briefing by the Economic Crime Squad's (SDOE) special secretary, that smuggling and the provision of adulterated fuels to the armed forces is continues, with smuggling petrol detected as well.

    According to an announcement by the ministry, during the meeting, SDOE officials said it appears from recent tests of oil samples that SDOE received from military units, that fuel appears adulterated, while fuel belonging to the military was detected in private businesses' tanks.

    Maritime diesel is decoloured and funneled to the market, at double the price.

    According to the same announcement, contraband fuels total 240 million litres annually, with losses for the state estimated at 300 million euros a year.

    [30] Illegal migrants arrested during police operation at Patras harbour

    Roughly 100 illegal migrants were arrested Monday near the new harbour in the western port city of Patras while another 200 non-EU foreign nationals were detained for questioning following a police sweep in the area. The operation reportedly aimed to evacuate migrants without legal documents or who have not submitted official requests for political asylum to detention centres.

    The operation began early in the morning and included checks of abandoned houses and factory buildings. Afterwards, police officers fanned out in the centre of Patras to inspect abandoned residences in urban areas.

    Law enforcement officers from Athens and neighbouring cities were sent to Patras for the operation.


    [31] Super League result, standings

    PAS Yiannina beat Levadiakos Livadia 1-0 at home in a Super League game played on Monday evening.

    Standings after five weeks of play:

    1. Olympiacos 15

    2. PAOK 12

    3. Panionios 12

    4. Asteras 10

    5. Atromitos 8

    6. Platanias 8

    7. Veria 7

    8. Aris 5

    9. Xanthi 5

    10. OFI 5

    11. PAS Yiannina 5

    12. Levadiakos 4

    13. Kerkyra 4

    14. Panathinaikos 4

    15. Panthrakikos 3

    16. AEK 1

    [32] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' meetings and negotiations with the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" represen-tatives as well as imminent changes in the tax system mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Storm ahead".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Tax plan for home owners".

    ESTIA: "Major changes in taxation".

    ETHNOS: "Agonising meeting with the troika".

    IMERISSIA: "Emporiki going to Alpha Bank".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "National income (GDP) falls under 200-bln-euro mark".

    TA NEA: "The night of the ministers".

    VRADYNI: "Loans: Relief for over-indebted households".

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