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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-01-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Friday, 4 January 2013 Issue No: 4262

CONTENTS

  • [01] SYRIZA leader briefs foreign minister on trips to Argentina, Brazil
  • [02] Independent Greeks call for 'full inquiry' of all linked to 'Lagarde list' case
  • [03] Former FinMin Papaconstantinou associates testify
  • [04] PASOK congress set for February 28-March 3
  • [05] Armed forces retirees risk 'double' pension cut, minister warns
  • [06] Property tax to affect 5-10 pct of owners, finance ministry says
  • [07] Private deposits in Greece post small rise in Nov., ECB says
  • [08] PASOK ascertains failure in absorption of ESPA funds in 2012
  • [09] Credit to private sector remained negative in Nov .
  • [10] Greek PMI eased in December
  • [11] Titan completes 200-mln-euro bond loan
  • [12] Motor Oil signs 60-mln-euro bond loan with HSBC
  • [13] Kleemann launches subsidiary in Moscow
  • [14] Eurobank top securities firm in 2012
  • [15] Environmental programme fund absorption triples
  • [16] Prices to drop on 1,150 drugs as of Monday
  • [17] Greek stocks continue moving higher
  • [18] Greek bond market closing report
  • [19] ADEX closing report
  • [20] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday
  • [21] Medical association raises alarm over rising wood-fire smog levels
  • [22] Normal collection of refuse to resume by Sunday in greater Athens area
  • [23] Acropolis Museum courses on art creation and preservation
  • [24] Traffickers caught bringing 24 illegal migrants into Greece
  • [25] ALTER TV boss arrested for more than 9 million euro debt to IKA
  • [26] 4.1R quake off Crete
  • [27] Cloudy on Friday
  • [28] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] SYRIZA leader briefs foreign minister on trips to Argentina, Brazil

    Main opposition 'Coalition of the Radical Left' (SYRIZA-EKM) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Thursday briefed Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on the results of his visits to Brazil and Argentina, in return for the foreign ministry's assistance in arranging the visits.

    After their meeting, Avramopoulos stressed that the aim was the best possible representation of Greece abroad and achieving a "consensual foreign policy".

    The foreign minister noted that dealing with the debt crisis was not an internal issue but one requiring good coordination between the government and the parties in order to facilitate the opening of channels that would help restore the country's image and role on the world scene.

    Tsipras, on his part, underlined that the aim of his visit was not to "copy" the models of any country but to "internationalise the Greek problem in two allied countries". He said that SYRIZA's delegation found "sympathetic ears" in their search for solidarity and stressed that his party's priority was to develop a "multi-dimensional and active foreign policy" and would like to see Greece upgrade its ties with Latin America.

    [02] Independent Greeks call for 'full inquiry' of all linked to 'Lagarde list' case

    Independent Greeks party spokesman Notis Marias on Thursday stressed that all political figures linked to the handling of the 'Lagarde list' of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts must be fully investigated by the ad hoc Parliamentary preliminary investigation committee being set up to look into the affair, among them former finance minister George Papaconstantinou and the current and former leaders of the PASOK party, Evangelos Venizelos and George Papandreou.

    [03] Former FinMin Papaconstantinou associates testify

    Two associates of former finance minister George Papaconstantinou testified before the financial crime prosecutors probing the non-political persons involved in the case of the "Lagarde list" of Greek depositors abroad.

    They were summoned to help clarify what happened after Papaconstantinou received the original, controversial list of depositors at the HSBC bank on a cd in 2010 by his French counterpart at the time, Christine Lagarde.

    According to reports, the associates of the former minister were called on to say what they know as to how and by whom the content of the cd was transferred to a USB, who was summoned to carry out the transfer of the material and if they know and who removed data on accounts linked to relatives of Papaconstantinou.

    Three relatives of the former minister are expected to be summoned for testimonies before the two prosecutors.

    [04] PASOK congress set for February 28-March 3

    The PASOK party, part of the ruling coalition, will hold its four-day congress from February 28 to March 3.

    Meanwhile, party officials accused main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) of having organised a "political plot" around the issue of the "Lagarde list".

    In another development, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos will visit the Administrative Reform Ministry on Tuesday to be briefed on the issue of civil service layoffs and ministries' agencies.

    Between January 11 and 21, Venizelos will also attend local events throughout Greece related to the congress.

    [05] Armed forces retirees risk 'double' pension cut, minister warns

    Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos has asked the finance minister to reconsider cuts to pensions for retired armed forces personnel.

    According to defence ministry sources, in a letter to the ministry and at a briefing of the prime minister, Panagiotopoulos requested corrective measures so that pensions already cut in August are not reduced again from January 1 as a result of measures implementing the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy for 2013-2016 and a recently passed omnibus bill for fiscal reforms.

    Until now, increases in armed forces pensions were pegged to the pay rises for armed forces staff in active service and, on this basis, courts judged that the link should also apply in the case of pay cuts.

    Financial News

    [06] Property tax to affect 5-10 pct of owners, finance ministry says

    A forthcoming tax on real estate property will affect around 5 percent of property owners for 2010 and around 10 percent for the tax years 2011 and 2012, the finance ministry said on Thursday.

    Responding to press reports, the ministry noted that the notices for real estate property tax (FAP) for the years 2010 through 2012 being mailed out now will only affect a low percentage of owners. In its example, the ministry said that for 2010, there were only around 5 pct of owners whose property was valued at over 400,000 euros per person or a maximum of 800,000 euros for a couple, the cut-off point for the tax. It also asserted that for 2011 and 2012 the percentage of property owners that will have to pay a property tax will rise up to 10 pct for property valued at 200,000 euros or more, a rise attributed to the reduction in tax exemptions.

    The ministry said it placed a priority on extending the tax valuation system to all areas of Greece including property currently outside town plans, in order to create stability in the taxation base for real estate. It indicated however that allowances will be made concerning the ability of owners to pay tax.

    [07] Private deposits in Greece post small rise in Nov., ECB says

    Private deposits posted a small rise in Greece in November, according to figures released on Thursday by the European Central Bank (ECB).

    The figures diverge somewhat from those to be announced Thursday afternoon by the central Bank of Greece (BoG), since they do not contain the funds channeled to the local governments (OTA).

    According to the ECB data, private deposits in banks increased by 408 million euro to 161 billion euro in November from 160.6 billion euro in October.

    [08] PASOK ascertains failure in absorption of ESPA funds in 2012

    The PASOK party considers the management of National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF/ESPA) funds for 2012 as being a failure and places responsibilities for this on Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis.

    Parliamentary Group secretary Yiannis Maniatis and the relevant rapporteur Thanos Moraitis, in a joint statement, term the absorption of 86 percent a poor harvest and stress that it would be even poorer if Hatzidakis did not implement the accounting practice of the "parking of funds".

    They stress that Hatzidakis has used the same method in the past that "he christened easy absorption". They claim that "it is clear that the memorandum target of 2012 has not been achieved." They make a comparision with the achievement and even more of the target for 2011 "that was 101 percent". They further note that in the first half of 2011 the receipt percentage was lower than in the corresponding six-month period of 2012 and despite this the target of 101 percent was achieved.

    Unfortunately, they also said, "the truth of the real economy cannot change with accounting tricks at the last moment".

    [09] Credit to private sector remained negative in Nov .

    The annual growth rate of total credit extended to the domestic private sector remained negative at -4.6% in November 2012, although at a slightly slower rate than in October 2012 (-4.8%), the Bank of Greece said on Thursday.

    The central bank, in a monthly report, said that the net flow of total credit to the domestic private sector was negative, amounting to 722 million euros (November 2011: negative net flow of 1.267 billion euros).

    The net flow of credit to enterprises, in November 2012, was negative, amounting to 343 million euros (November 2011: negative net flow of 614 million), and the annual growth rate of credit was less negative at -5.4%, from -5.6% in the previous month. In particular, the annual growth rate of credit to non-financial corporations was less negative at -4.1% from -4.4% in the previous month, while the annual growth rate of credit to insurance corporations and other financial intermediaries was more negative at -24.2% in November 2012, from -23.5% in October 2012. The net flow of credit to sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships was negative, amounting to 12 million euros (November 2011: negative net flow of 147 million), and the annual rate of change of credit was less negative than in the previous month (November 2012: -2.8%, October 2012: -3.6%). In November 2012, the net flow of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions was negative, amounting to 368 million euros (November 2011: negative net flow of 506 million), and the annual growth rate of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions stood at -3.9% from -4.1% in October 2012.

    [10] Greek PMI eased in December

    Greece's manufacturing sector continued shrinking in December as production fell significantly amid a prolonged reduction in new orders, while employment also dropped significantly at a slightly faster rate compared with annual average decline rates.

    The country's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 41.4 points in December, from 41.8 in November, remaining in a recession for more than three years. Greek manufacturers further cut their workforce, while producer prices fell significantly despite rising raw materials' prices.

    Production fell steeply, at the fastest rate in four months, while new orders fell for the 40th consecutive month.

    The PMI index is a composite index measuring business activity in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector, while readings below 50 a shrinking sector.

    [11] Titan completes 200-mln-euro bond loan

    Titan SA on Thursday announced the successful completion of a bond loan worth 200 million euros. The four-year bond will carry a coupon of 8.75 pct, with Alpha Bank, Credit Suisse and Eurobank acting as coordinators. Part of the new issue will replace an existing bond loan (maturing in 2013). The book-building process attracted strong interest from private banking customers, surpassing 285 million euros, or 2.9 times the initial minimum target of 100 million euros.

    Titan SA becomes the first Greek company to raise funds from the markets since the Greek fiscal crisis erupted in 2010, offering evidence of the quality of the company and signs of improvement in international investment climate over the Greek economy.

    [12] Motor Oil signs 60-mln-euro bond loan with HSBC

    Motor Oil Hellas SA on Thursday announced the signing of an agreement with HSBC Bank Plc to issue a three-year bond loan worth 60 million euros. The Greek-listed company said it will use 40 million euros from the new money to refinance its existing working capital and the remaining 20 million euros for new financing.

    [13] Kleemann launches subsidiary in Moscow

    Kleemann on Wednesday announced the set up of a subsidiary company in Moscow, Kleemann Lifts Rus, aiming to further strengthen its presence in the Russian market. The company said the Russian market recorded a 77 pct rise in turnover and noted that Russia was its top market for the parent company.

    Kleemann already operates subsidiary companies in Turkey, Cyprus, Romania, Serbia, UK, Hong Kong and China, while it has established representation offices in Poland, Germany and Dubai.

    [14] Eurobank top securities firm in 2012

    Eurobank Securities topped the list of the most active securities firms in the Athens Stock Exchange in December, with a market share of 15.23 percent, also ranking first in the year with a market share of 16.09 percent.

    Eurobank Securities was followed in the 2012 ranking by National Securities (12.32 percent), Investment Bank of Greece (10.91 percent), Euroxx (6.39 percent), Piraeus Securities (6.11 percent), Alpha Finance (4.90 percent), Pantelakis (3.53 percent), Solidus (2.42 percent), Credit Agricole Cheuvreux (2.35 percent) and BETA (2.29 percent).

    [15] Environmental programme fund absorption triples

    The absorption of EU structural funds by the "Environment and Sustainable Growth" programme tripled in the second half of the year compared to the first, Alternate Environment Minister Stavros Kalafatis said on Thursday.

    From July 1 to December 31, he said, the programme's expenditures increased by about 243 million euros, as against 82 million euros in the first six months of the year. Total expenditures for the year reached 836 million euros, or 40 pct of the total programme, and relate to projects already completed and paid for.

    [16] Prices to drop on 1,150 drugs as of Monday

    As of Monday, prices on 1,150 medications will be reduced, according to the Health Ministry on Thursday.

    The corrective price list will include a VAT of 6.5 percent on retail sales, but none on wholesale and hospital prices listed. In areas with lower VAT rates, the retail price of drugs will be 1.41 percent lower.

    [17] Greek stocks continue moving higher

    Greek stocks continued moving higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, with the composite index rising to new 16-month highs. The index rose 1.17 pct to end at 952.30 points, its highest closing since August 30, 2011 (958.12), after losing as much as 1.14 pct during the session. Turnover rose slightly to 50.490 million euros.

    The Big Cap index rose 0.98 pct and the Mid Cap index jumped 2.79 pct. The Health (5.74 pct), Financial Services (4.42 pct) and Technology (4.09 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Travel (0.45 pct) was the only sector to end lower. MIG (7.03 pct), Cyprus Bank (5.36 pct), Titan (4.24 pct) and Jumbo (4.10 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Alpha Bank (1.96 pct), Motor Oil (1.42 pct) and Frigoglass (1.10 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 127 to 34 with another 27 issues unchanged. Progressive (29.29 pct), Fieratex (28.32 pct) and Levenderis (24.30 pct) were top gainers, while Varvaresos (17.13 pct), HOL (13.71 pct) and Motodynamic (10 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: +1.46%

    Commercial: +0.26%

    Construction: +3.63%

    Oil & Gas: +0.37%

    Personal & Household: +3.74%

    Raw Materials: +2.13%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.45%

    Technology: +4.09%

    Telecoms: Unchanged

    Banks: +0.74%

    Food & Beverages: +0.62%

    Health: +5.74%

    Utilities: +0.69%

    Financial Services: +4.42%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, National Bank, Alpha Bank and OTE.

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

    Alpha Bank: 1.50

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.20

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.99

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.85

    National Bank of Greece: 1.38

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.68

    OPAP: 5.64

    OTE: 5.45

    Bank of Piraeus: 0.35

    Titan: 15.00

    [18] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 10.10 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 11.55 pct and the German Bund 1.45 pct. Turnover was a low 5.0 million euros, all buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate was 0.54 pct, the nine-month rate eased to 0.43 pct, the six-month rate was 0.32 pct, the three-month rate was 0.18 pct and the one-month rate was 0.10 pct.

    [19] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.68 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with turnover remaining a low 11.245 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,982 contracts worth 6.485 million euros, with 30,379 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 26,366 contracts worth 4.760 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (5,462), followed by National Bank (4,745), Cyprus Bank (4,609), Piraeus Bank (1,587), MIG (3,516), OTE (678), PPC (978), OPAP (1,356), GEK (1,071), Eurobank (104), Ellaktor (206), Coca Cola Hellenic (107), Intralot (744) and Sidenor (172).

    [20] Foreign Exchange rates - Friday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.329

    Pound sterling 0.822

    Danish kroner 7.571

    Swedish kroner 8.667

    Japanese yen 115.64

    Swiss franc 1.227

    Norwegian kroner 7.400

    Canadian dollar 1.311

    Australian dollar 1.265

    General News

    [21] Medical association raises alarm over rising wood-fire smog levels

    Rising smog levels in Greek cities as a result of people burning firewood and other wood products to keep warm harbour grave dangers for public health, the Panhellenic Medical Association warned on Thursday. In an announcement, the medical association urged the state to take measures to mitigate the impact of atmospheric pollution reported in many areas, especially in large urban centres such as Athens, Viotia and Thessaloniki, and protect the population from the unpredictable and potentially harmful repercussions for their health.

    Among others, it stressed the urgent need for financial incentives to promote use of oil and natural gas for heating by the general public.

    "Advice alone is not enough for the financially straitened population. Cooperation between all competent agents is needed in order to protect public health and environment," the announcement said.

    [22] Normal collection of refuse to resume by Sunday in greater Athens area

    Refuse collection will be back on track by Sunday, the Athens Municipality announced on Thursday.

    The department of cleaning, recycling and machinery said the problems in garbage pick up are the result of maintenance of the recycling and composting plant, at the refuse collection centre of Fyli in Western Attica.

    The site handles about half of Athens' refuse, or 6 tonnes of refuse from the whole of Attica on a daily basis, according to the prefect.

    [23] Acropolis Museum courses on art creation and preservation

    Workshops to explain ancient technology, modern preservation and the production of replicas will be offered by the new Acropolis Museum starting mid-month.

    The first course, on January 15, will focus on showing how museum replicas are made. It will be repeated twice a day, at 11 a.m. and 12 noon, from Tuesday to Sunday. Participation is limited to 20 and admission is granted with the same-day ticket to the museum on a first-come, first-served basis.

    On January 8 the museum will operate on its winter schedule (until March):

    Tuesday-Thursday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday: 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday-Sunday: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. It is closed on Mondays. Its restaurant will operate the same hours, except for Friday evening, when it will stay open until 12 midnight.

    [24] Traffickers caught bringing 24 illegal migrants into Greece

    Police on Thursday announced the arrest of two foreign nationals, a Syrian and an Egyptian, that were caught smuggling 24 illegal immigrants into Greece using a truck.

    The 35-year-old Syrian was flagged down by police while driving in the Alexandroupolis area but failed to stop. Instead, he reduced speed and jumped out of the truck, which kept going until it fell into a ditch at the side of the road, slightly injuring a Somali female passenger who was taken to Alexandroupolis hospital.

    Of the illegal immigrants in the truck, 15 were from Somalia, five from Iraq, two from Iran and two from Bangladesh.

    Border police at Soufli and Tychero then tracked down and arrested the 35-year-old Syrian driver of the truck and his 30- year-old Egyptian accomplice, who had not boarded the vehicle. The truck was confiscated and all those arrested will be taken before an Alexandroupolis first-instance court public prosecutor.

    [25] ALTER TV boss arrested for more than 9 million euro debt to IKA

    Real Media S.A. president Andreas Kouris was arrested by Attica security police on Thursday for debts of over 9 million euro to the Social Security Foundation (IKA), and was due to appear before a prosecutor later in the day.

    Kouris, the 41-year-old son of newspaper publisher George Kouris was arrested in Dionissos, on a prosecutor's warrant, for a 9.171 million euro debt to IKA emanating from his business activity with private ALTER television station.

    [26] 4.1R quake off Crete

    A light earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale struck in the sea south of the island of Crete on Thursday morning, and was felt in the wider region of Tymbaki, but no damage was reported.

    The quake was recorded at 10:39 a.m. at a distance of 430 kilometers south-southeast of Athens, with its epicenter 96 kilometers south-southeast of Tymbaki.

    Weather forecast

    [27] Cloudy on Friday

    Cloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Friday. Winds 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures between -3C and 16C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with northerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures between 4C and 15C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 2C and 9C.

    [28] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: "Duo of penal accountability - SYRIZA seeks referral to parliamentary preliminary investigation committee of two PASOK former finance ministers George Papaconstantinou and Evangelos Venizelos (now PASOK leader)" over Lagarde list.

    DIMOKRATIA: "Storm in the dark of Koumoundourou Street (main opposition SYRIZA headquarters)".

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Beni (Venizelos) brought into the picture (of the Lagarde list affair)".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Unemployment benefit for freelance professionals".

    ELLADA: "Lagarde list 'hides' more political names".

    ETHNOS: "The war of the (Lagarde) list".

    IMERISSIA: "Optimistic messages - New Year greeted with smiles by investors and government - Athens Stock Exchange rallies 3.67 percent, and first signs appear for recovery of the economy".

    KATHIMERINI: "2.3 billion euro primary surplus".

    LOGOS: "Stournaras (finance minister): 2013 a difficult year - Optimistic but also reserved".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Acceleration of measures against tax evasion".

    NIKI: "Lower court rulings that save the over-indebted (bank) borrowers".

    PONTIKI: "(Lagarde) list reveals more secrets".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Integrated anti-flooding policy".

    TA NEA: "Discontinuation of pensions to 'ghosts'."

    6DAYS: "Words and more words against tax evasion".

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


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