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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-03-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Moody`s upgrades Greece`s ceilings.
  • [02] Balkan/Black Sea Petroleum-Meeting
  • [03] E-Commerce/Workshop
  • [04] Weather Forecast-Saturday
  • [05] Sarandis-Acquisition-Pharmaceuticals
  • [06] Foreign Exchange Market-Close
  • [07] Secondary Bond Market-Close
  • [08] EU Summit-Simitis-Growth
  • [09] Foreign Exchange Rates-Monday
  • [10] ASE-weekly review
  • [11] Weather Forecast-Thursday
  • [12] Canada - Vessel - Sinking - Altantic (recasts)
  • [13] ADEX-close
  • [14] EU - Summit - Simitis - Portugal
  • [15] ASE-close
  • [16] Greek - Vessel - Sinking - Bermuda

  • [01] Moody`s upgrades Greece`s ceilings.

    24/03/2000 21:22:27

    Moody`s Investors Service has upgraded Greece`s short-term foreign currency country ceilings for debt and bank deposits to Prime-1 from Prime-2. In addition, the short-term debt rating of the Hellenic Republic of Greece has been upgraded to Prime-1 from Prime-2. The upagrades reflect the high likelihood of Greece`s entry into the European Monetary Union ( EMU).

    The European Council of Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) is likely in May 2000 to certify Greece`s eligibility to join the currency union, paving the way for the country to enter the euro area as of January 2001.

    The Hellenic Republic is currently rated A2 for long-term debt with a positive outloock.

    [02] Balkan/Black Sea Petroleum-Meeting

    24/03/2000 19:21:10

    The Balkan and Black Sea Petroleum Association is to meet in Athens on March 28-29, it said in a statement on Friday.

    On the agenda are oil and gas trans-Balkan projects and restructuring and privatisation in the oil and gas sectors, the statement said.

    [03] E-Commerce/Workshop

    24/03/2000 18:54:58

    The British-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce is to hold an e-commerce workshop at the Athens Hilton Hotel on March 29 that is tailor-made for companies wishing to explore opportunities in the sector, it said in a statement on Friday.

    [04] Weather Forecast-Saturday

    24/03/2000 18:10:26

    Sunshine is forecast throughout the country on Saturday with scattered cloud in the north.

    Winds will be north-northwesterly, light to moderate.

    [05] Sarandis-Acquisition-Pharmaceuticals

    24/03/2000 18:09:13

    Sarandis, a listed manufacturer and distributor of cosmetics and detergents, has acquired a 49 percent stake in KP Marinopoulos, a pharmaceuticals distributor and representative, for 1.2 billion drachmas, company officials said on Friday.

    The officials said that the purchase agreement included a share capital rise for the target company of 0.9 billion drachmas.

    The acquisition marked a continuation of the Sarandis Group's strategic expansion in the pharmaceuticals sector, the officials said.

    [06] Foreign Exchange Market-Close

    24/03/2000 17:48:09

    The drachma on Friday fell against the euro in the domestic foreign exchange market and rose sharply against the US dollar, dealers said.

    The Bank of Greece sold around 130-150 million euros at its fixing against 250 million euros in the previous session and 150 million euros on Wednesday. Foreign currency outflows this week totalled about 750 million euros.

    [07] Secondary Bond Market-Close

    24/03/2000 17:39:26

    Bond prices in the domestic secondary market held their new, higher levels on Friday and the yield spread over German bunds fell further, traders said.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of around 6.13 percent, the same as the previous day, from 6.17 percent on Wednesday and and 6.13 percent on Tuesday.

    [08] EU Summit-Simitis-Growth

    24/03/2000 17:18:59

    LISBON (ANA) · Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed here on Friday following a summit of EU leaders that abolition of unemployment in the Union is the goal by the year 2010.

    He noted that related menaces of social exclusion and poverty are also envisioned, adding that within this framework, Greece has set a target of 4 percent growth annually. Simitis said the country already achieved a 3-percent growth rate over the past few years when the EU average was below 3 percent · a figure that jettisoned the country to the top of the EU in terms of GDP growth.

    [09] Foreign Exchange Rates-Monday

    24/03/2000 16:38:22

    Following are indicative foreign exchange buying rates for commercial banks, released by the central bank for the next working day.

    Monday's rates (buying)

    Euro 331.576

    U.S. dollar 341.972

    [10] ASE-weekly review

    24/03/2000 16:33:26

    Investors remained sidelined for one more week on the Athens Stock Exchange leaving share prices vulnerable to more selling pressure the week under review.

    The general index ended the week 3.30 percent lower at 4,685.17 points from 4,845.08 the previous Friday's close. The index is losing 15.36 percent since the start of the year.

    The week's turnover totalled 852.726 billion drachmas for a daily average turnover of 170.545 billion, down from 201.536 billion the previous week.

    Shares in the construction and smaller capitalisation sectors were particularly hit to end sharply lower.

    Blue chip stocks showed resistance with the sector index losing 2.35 percent, relatively small compared with a 8.45 percent drop in medium-sized capitalisation stocks.

    Market sources said that investors remained sidelined ahead of the elections and despite the fact that several shares looked attractive at current levels.

    Dealers said that forecasts of a pre-election rally in the market seemed to be proving wrong but expect the market to climb above the 5,000 level mark in the next 10 sessions ahead of the April 9 elections.

    [11] Weather Forecast-Thursday

    24/03/2000 16:24:33

    Sunshine is forecast throughout the country on Saturday with scattered cloud in the north.

    Winds will be north-northwesterly, light to moderate.

    [12] Canada - Vessel - Sinking - Altantic (recasts)

    24/03/2000 16:21:56

    MONTREAL (ANA · I. Frangouli) -- Thirteen crewmembers out of 31 aboard a Greek-owned cargo vessel that sank in the western Atlantic on Thursday evening have been rescued while five bodies were also recovered, according to Canadian authorities on Friday afternoon (Athens time).

    The Panamanian-flagged vessel was identified as the ?Leader L?, and was listed as going down in severe weather some 700 miles north of Bermuda.

    According to reports, another 13 crewmembers are listed as missing. Officials heading the rescue operation noted that the oceanĒs temperature in the vicinity of the sinking allow for an individual to remain in the water for more than 24 hours.

    The vessel was loaded with of salt when it left Spain for New York.

    [13] ADEX-close

    24/03/2000 16:08:54

    Derivatives prices ended the last trading session of a subdued week with a mixed appearance following the close of the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40, which ended 0.86 pct up and 0.46 pct down, respectively.

    A total of 925 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index with a turnover of 4.8 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 2,669 points, the May contract at 2,681.50 and the June contract at 2,697 points.

    A total of 1,294 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 3.6 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 698.75 points, the May contract at 707 and the June contract at 729 points.

    [14] EU - Summit - Simitis - Portugal

    24/03/2000 16:03:51

    LISBON (ANA · M. Spinthourakis) · Issues that dominated a Thursday evening dinner here for European Union leaders reportedly included the situation in the Balkans as well as the formulation of a common defence policy by the bloc, among others.

    In terms of the situation in the western Balkans, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed to his EU counterparts the need for a common strategy by the ?15? for the troubled region, as well as the need for coordination of the UnionĒs interventions throughout the entire Balkans.

    Greek diplomatic sources later noted that the Greek PM proposed to his counterparts that the Union organise an international conference focusing on the Balkans in the near future · a conference that will ostensibly emphasize the inviolability of borders in the region and develop specific political initiatives for areaĒs stabilization.

    The same sources said the proposal would reportedly be discussed at the next council of EU foreign ministers, as well as at an upcoming unofficial council of the Union's FMs in May.

    [15] ASE-close

    24/03/2000 15:56:58

    Equity prices ended the last trading session of the week moderately higher, reversing a three-day decline which pushed the Athens Stock Exchange 4.09 percent lower.

    Trade, however, remained subdued with turnover at 140.33 billion drachmas, its lowest so far this year.

    Dealers said the recovery trend reflected gains in the Banks sector, while the Construction and smaller capitalisation sectors stabilised after three sessions of heavy losses.

    The general index ended 0.74 percent higher at 4,685.17 points, off the day's highs of 4,707.39 and the day's lows of 4,629.53 points.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,642.68 points, up 0.86 percent, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 0.46 percent to 683.44 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 844.95 points, up 0.05 percent.

    [16] Greek - Vessel - Sinking - Bermuda

    24/03/2000 15:03:11

    A Greek-owned cargo vessel sank in the Atlantic on Thursday evening, with 19 crewmembers still listed as missing on Friday afternoon (Athens time).

    The vessel has been initially identified as the ?Leader Ena?, as further information states that it went down some 360 miles off Bermuda, without specifying direction. Additionally, no information was given regarding what national registry the vessel was listed under.

    According to reports, 12 crewmembers have been rescued so far, while a spokesman for the Canadian coastguard said several other merchant seamen have been spotted in the area. Among the missing is the vesselĒs captain, Greek national Kosmas Pouliadis.

    Officials heading the rescue operation noted that the oceanĒs temperature in the vicinity of the sinking allow for an individual to remain in the water for more than 24 hours.

    The vessel was loaded with some 57,000 tons of salt when it left Alexandria, Egypt for New York.

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