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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Samaras at EPP con'f in Bonn
  • [02] Henk Ten Cate removed from Panathinaikos' bench
  • [03] Fitch downgrades Greek credit rating; gov't reax
  • [04] Stocks sharply down on Tues.

  • [01] Samaras at EPP con'f in Bonn

    Newly elected main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras will head for Bonn, Germany this week to participate in a European People's Party (EPP) conference, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling CDU party.

    Samaras will head up a high-ranking ND delegation at the conference, expected to be attended by 13 European Union member-states' prime ministers, six prime ministers outside the EU, and some 1,500 delegates.

    [02] Henk Ten Cate removed from Panathinaikos' bench

    Second-place Panathinaikos Athens on Tuesday that it was letting go Dutch coach Henk Ten Cate, following a string of more-or-less lacklustre performances and especially a 2-0 defeat to fierce rival Olympiacos Piraeus two weeks ago.

    The Athens club, favoured to qualify for the next round of the Europa Cup, said the team's temporary management would be assigned to Nikos Nioblias, a former player with coaching experience in the under-18 national side.

    [03] Fitch downgrades Greek credit rating; gov't reax

    Fitch on Tuesday downgraded Greece's credit rating from A- to BBB+, the first such downgrading in 10 years and the first time the country's rating has been designated as under "A" by an international credit ratings firm.

    The development comes a day after Standard & Poor's announcement that it was placing Greece's A- rating on notice for a possible national debt downgrading.

    "The downgrade reflects concerns over the medium-term outlook for public finances given the weak credibility of fiscal institutions and the policy framework in Greece, exacerbated by uncertainty over the prospects for a balanced and sustained economic recovery," a Fitch statement read.

    The negative news elicited an immediate response by the government, with Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou emphasising that "we will do what is necessary to meet our obligations".

    Conversely, in distancing the government from Fitch's evaluation that recently announced spending cuts and a "get tough" policy vis-?-vis tax evasion would dent the ballooning public debt, Papaconstantinou said the government does not distinguish between "hard and soft measures, because it is promoting a fiscal policy where the weakest won't be harmed."

    On his part, Bank of Greece Gov. George Provopoulos, who met with the minister at the finance ministry, downplayed any concerns focusing on the all-important domestic banking system and banks' profits.

    [04] Stocks sharply down on Tues.

    Stocks collapsed at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday on word of a Fitch downgrading of Greece's credit rating, pushing the composite index of the market 6.04 percent lower to end at 2,178.70 points. Turnover was a moderate 379.6 million euros, of which 11.1 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved downwards, with the Banks (8.94 pct), Insurances (8.14 pct), Technology (7.75 pct), Financial Services (7.37 pct), Financial Services (8.25 pct) and Raw Materials (6.63 pct) posting the biggest percentage losses of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index lost 7.07 pct, the FTSE 40 index was 5.50 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index dropped 4.17 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 186 to 34 with another 28 issues unchanged.

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