NEWS IN DETAIL
Analysts watch bourse anxiously after previous plunge
Analysts are anxiously watching the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday after
equities plummeted to their lowest levels since March 19, again hit by a
deepening crisis in international markets.
On Friday, the general index ended 7.32 percent lower at 1,892.62 points,
plunging below the 2,000- and 1,900-point barriers in a single session.
It was 12.12 percent off in one of the market's worst weeks ever, but
remained 27.91 percent up from the beginning of 1998.
The Athens general index has lost 33 percent since its record peak on July
21 of 2,825.52 points.
Trading was active with turnover at 50.057 billion drachmas on 10,091,000
The week's turnover shrank to 184.61 billion drachmas to post a daily
average of 36.9 billion, down from 38.1 billion the previous week.
International stock markets have tumbled since the beginning of October, a
month known for historic crashes on Wall Street in 1929 and 1987.
Analysts said that foreign investors were scrambling out of emerging
markets around the world to seek safe havens in US, British and German
Emerging markets have shown losses ranging from 20 percent to 80 percent
Foreign investors in Greece have dumped stock to help recoup losses
incurred elsewhere in the world, analysts said.
Traders said the current situation would raise hurdles in the government's
plan to float a third stake in Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at
the end of October.
Economists edgy about impact of global market turmoil on Greece
Three of the country's leading economists interviewed by the Athens News
Agency outlined their views on the economic outlook as follows:
Tassos Yannitsis, the prime minister's economic advisor, said that a
lasting decline in stock markets, including the Athens bourse, would lower
the value of many investors' assets, in turn leading to a drop in
consumption and investments, and, eventually, recession.
"The international situation is fairly serious (exacerbated by) great
uncertainty in the global economy, resulting in the fact that no-one
actually knows what conditions we will have to face if the crisis continues,
" Mr. Yannitsis said.
He said the G-7 group of countries were unlikely to find a solution to the
problem, and the climate in markets would deteriorate through a self-
perpetuating, mechanistic impetus.
"Markets, in the final analysis, will move far less on the basis of real
economic developments," he said.
George Alogoskoufis, head of the New Democracy party's economic affairs
section, urged Greece's entry into economic and monetary union to help
buffer the repercussions of the crisis abroad.
"(For Greece), the only shield is to handle the question of (European
Union) convergence in a more reliable fashion and be considered a real euro
country," Mr. Alogoskoufis said.
A long-term decline in the Athens Stock Exchange would bring investors
major losses, reduce consumption and demand, bring recession, slow GDP
growth, lower state revenue and widen the public deficit, he said.
Panayotis Thomopoulos, a deputy governor of the Bank of Greece, said he
feared that a long-term international crisis would finally hit the real
economy, that is, productive enterprises.
According to initial estimates, the rate of GDP growth would slow or remain
stationary instead of rising sharply, Mr. Thomopoulos said.
He hoped G-7 would find measures to tackle the crisis that would curb
nervousness and signs of panic in international markets, often stemming
from market psychology.
Much speculative capital had left Greece, and foreign institutional
investors were seeking long-term investments aimed at future profits, Mr.
Foreign currency outflows yesterday were minor at around 100 million
dollars. "Today, the Bank of Greece's foreign currency reserves stand at
nearly 18 billion dollars, a sum that allows the central bank a wide margin
for action," Mr. Thomopoulos said.
Greece, Romania, Bulgaria to cooperate over Balkans
Greece, Bulgaria and Romania have agreed to contribute to efforts to ease
the repercussions of crises in the Balkans, Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos on Saturday told reporters covering a meeting of top-level
delegations of the three countries at the weekend.
"Those who make decisions regarding the Balkans are many, but it is the
three (countries) that will pay the bill," he said after an initial meeting
of the delegations, led by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, and the Bulgarian
and Romanian Presidents Petar Stoyanov and Emil Constantinescu respectively.
Mr. Simitis stressed in his opening address that the tripartite cooperation
was an important lever for progress in resolving the region's political
problems and involved innovative ideas in international affairs, particularly
in the present period of increasing interdependence and globalisation.
"This cooperation is based on the principles of the inviolability of
borders, the non-interference in internal affairs, and respect for
international law. For this reason, Greece has stressed the need for the
entry of Bulgaria and Romania in the European Union and NATO, because we
believe there will be greater stability and security in the region when all
countries are able to participate in these two European and international
organisations," he said.
PM says local elections won't affect economic policy
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Sunday that the government
would not ease its tight economic policies in order to secure political
gains from nationwide local elections this month.
The cornerstone of policy remained attaining entry into the European
Union's economic and monetary union by the target date of January 1, 2001,
The prime minister was replying to reporters' questions in Delphi on the
sidelines of talks he is holding this weekend with the presidents of
Bulgaria and Romania.
Simitis rejected allegations in several Sunday newspapers that economic
policy was a hostage to election politics as Greece still had leeway of one
year to meet the five economic criteria needed for EMU entry.
"The priority of EMU entry is decisive in any decisions taken," Simitis
Joining the euro, the EU's future single currency, would help to ensure
economic stability and contribute to attaining greater social justice, he
Defence min calls for talks between Yugoslavia, Kosovo Albanians
Greek National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Sunday called on
Yugoslavia and Albanians in Kosovo to begin talks in order to avert a
military intervention by NATO in Kosovo.
Calling on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Kosovo Albanian leader
Ibrahim Rugova to begin talks, he said: "They should proceed immediately
with the start of dialogue to allow broad autonomy in Kosovo within the
framework of Yugoslavia's existing borders."
"I am optimistic that the logic of dialogue will prevail and that there
will be a political solution," said Tsohatzopoulos, speaking in the
northern city of Thessaloniki.
Greece to set up diplomatic academy
Greece's foreign ministry is to set up a diplomatic academy to recruit
newcomers into the service and provide courses for existing staff at all
The academy will also arrange seminars for Greeks and non-Greeks on foreign
policy and international relations.
A draft presidential decree allowing its creation has been sent to the
Council of State for study.
A senior foreign ministry official will be appointed to head the academy,
which is to be staffed by diplomatic service employees, ambassadors,
lecturers in higher education, and other specialists.
Eligible to sit the academy's entrance exam are degree-holders with a
working knowledge of computers.
Taxi drivers debate improving service, defence against mugging
Greek taxi owners were due to hold a national congress in the northern city
of Kavala on Sunday to debate improving services to passengers and
defending themselves from mugging.
Taxi drivers have repeatedly come under fire from the public for overcharging,
refusing to drive to unprofitable destinations and rudeness.
In August, a taxi driver was arrested after charging an Australian tourist
25 times the standard fare for a ride from Athens airport to the city
centre - news that was carried worldwide.
Tranport Minister Tassos Mantelis said last month that taxis whose drivers
overcharged passengers would have their vehicles taken off the road, and he
asked local authorities to help check for abuse.
The cab owners, who often also drive the vehicles, have invited the
transport ministry to send representatives to the congress.
Also on the agenda is improving the image of taxi drivers, including a code
of conduct aimed at tourists, and service for the elderly and people with
At the same time, taxi drivers are frequently the victims of assault by
muggers attempting to steal their takings.
Delegates to the congress will debate protection measures including the
installation of a plate glass divider between driver and passengers.
Suspected antiquities dealers arrested
Athens police have arrested two businessmen for possession of 19 items of
great archaeological value.
Constantinos Thanasoulas and Christos Lapainitis had purchased the items,
dating to the Neolithic period (7000 to 4000 BC), from Ali-Ibrahim Musli
and Stamatis Panagiotidis, who had brought them from the Thracian city of
Xanthi, and were also arrested.
A search in Thanasoulas' home also produced an electronic scanner used for
locating hidden treasures, as well as maps of Mounts Olympus and Athos in
Author Zografou dies
Well-known Greek author Lili Zografou died on Friday in Crete at the age of
76, following a week-long hospitalisation after suffering a massive
The Cretan-born Zografou was holidaying on the island when she suffered the
stroke on Sept. 25, and was rushed to the Irakleio University Hospital. She
died of an oedema resulting from the stroke.
The woman who in the preface of her last book described herself as an
"ardent anti-feminist for the simple reason that I am happy to have been
born a woman" was born in 1922 in the seaside village of Milato, Lassithi,
where she spent her childhood.
She wrote numerous articles for newspapers and periodicals and was the
author of biographical and historical treatises, prose, theatrical plays
Zografou published her first work in 1949, a collection of short stories
titled "Agapi" (Love), before travelling extensively in central and eastern
The central theme of her 24 stories was the contemporary woman and her
problems and struggles for independence.
One of her most popular novels, the 1994 "I Agapi Argise Mia Mera" (Love
Came a Day Late), was translated into French and has been turned into a
script for a television series that will air in Greece this autumn.
Lily Zografou was married three times and has one daugher, who was born
during the Nazi occupation of Greece while she was in prison, the poetess
"If I could be 20 again, I would set out from the mountaintops as a
guerrilla, a pirate, to open up the eyes of those who unprotestingly accept
their fate and of those who willingly turn a blind eye," she once
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos expressed his sadness at the passing
away "of a woman who always expressed, with her writing and attitude, her
Costakis art collection to Thessaloniki
The famed "Costakis collection" of Russian avant-garde works of art will
begin arriving in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, a statement from the culture
An official reception for the art works will be held towards the end of
next week at the Lazarist Monastery and the city's new Modern Art Museum,
the statement added.
The Cologne-based works of art, collected over thirty years by Georgios
Costakis, a Muscovite of Greek descent, will be initially housed at the
Lazarist Monastery until the completion of the modern art museum, Culture
Minister Evangelos Venizelos said earlier this month.
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis
officially opens the grounds of the new modern art museum tonight. The
ministry has subsidised the landscaping of the grounds by the French-based,
Greek-born sculptor Filolaous.
Mr. Venizelos announced an interim agreement to purchase about half of the
Costakis collection in January. He said the interim agreement had been
signed for the purchase of the "Western" part of the collection. A
substantial part of the Costakis Collect ion is also in the possession of
the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow.
Costakis built up the collection between 1930 and 1960 by exchanging works
by western artists for paintings dating from the period 1910-1930 by then
unknown Russian avant-garde artists.
The collection, which now belongs to the grand-daughter of the famous
collector, Aliki Costaki, includes works by Malevic, founder of the
"Supremacist" school, Tatlin, the founder of "Constructivism", Popova,
Rozanova and Mathiushin.
Foreign workers acquiring equal rights in Greece
Foreign workers who are in possession of the green work and residence card
may now enjoy the same labour and social insurance rights as their Greek
colleagues, officials of the Athens Labour Centre (EKA) told representatives
of immigrant organisations during a briefing.
Foreign workers legally employed in Greece now number 380,000, while the
process is underway for the granting of the green card to another 100,
The gross monthly minimum wage for home helps is now set at 164,000
drachmas, of which 10,000 drachmas is deducted for social security. The
employers' contribution is 18,000 drachmas.
Other provisions already in place stipulate the compulsory attendance of
primary school by immigrants' children, while those that are over age will
receive supplementary tuition in order to be placed in the appropriate
grade, the officials said.
Mutual fund assets jump in September
The assets of Greece's 181 mutual funds totalled 8.8 trillion drachmas on
September 30, an increase of 22.64 percent against January 1, the Union of
Institutional Investors said in a statement.
The market share of mutual funds by category on September 30 was as
follows: * Money market funds, 67.42 percent * Fixed-income funds, 19.79
percent * Combined funds, 8.72 percent * Growth funds at 4.07 percent.
There are 30 mutual fund management firms operating in Greece. The largest
managers on the basis of mutual fund assets managed on September 30 were
Alpha, Diethniki, Ermis, Ergobank and Alico-Eurobank.
US tax officials to advise Greek colleagues
Domestic and US tax officials will work together in order to simplify the
system for the receipt, handling and clearance of tax returns in Greece,
Finance Undersecretary George Drys said.
He was speaking after a meeting with the US tax service (IRS) chief, J.
Lyons, as part of a long-standing cooperation agreement between the two
A joint committee will study how tax returns are handled and submit
proposals for changes that will make the system simpler and more efficient
for both the state and taxpayers.
The two sides met to review progress and set next year's targets, which are
to simplify the handling of tax returns, link the finance ministry's
information technology infrastructure, establish a computerised tax
administration system, improve organisat ional structure, and look at
procedures to monitor vehicles.
Mr. Drys said that the finance ministry was implementing its policy to
create a modern, equitable and efficient tax system in the country.
Advertising in the Daily Bulletin
The ANA will from now on welcome professional half-page or full-page
advertisements in its daily English and French Bulletin.
Advertisements will be accepted from embassies, banks, commercial and
maritime companies, chambers of commerce, advertising companies, airlines,
organisations, professional associations, educational and research
institutions in Greece and abroad as well as international bodies.
Also, for a small fee, the above groups may channel their Press Releases
(PRs), announcements or photographs - in Greek, English or French - to the
ANA's more than 100 media subscribers throughout Greece and Cyprus via the
recently introduced ANA on-line PR's service.
For details on and arrangements for the advertising and/or PRs on-line
service, please contact the ANA Marketing Department, tel: 6400580, fax:
6400024 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Fair weather forecast throughout the country on Monday with winds variable,
light to moderate. Sunny weather in Athens with temperatures ranging from
16C to 27C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 14C and
Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 281.827
British pound 481.318 Japanese yen (100) 210.125
French franc 51.463 German mark 172.509
Italian lira (100) 17.454 Irish Punt 431.123
Belgian franc 8.363 Finnish mark 56.701
Dutch guilder 153.011 Danish kr. 45.390
Austrian sch. 24.528 Spanish peseta 2.031
Swedish kr. 35.621 Norwegian kr. 37.781
Swiss franc 209.223 Port. Escudo 1.684
Aus. dollar 167.946 Can. dollar 181.953
Cyprus pound 580.320