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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-02-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Strict adherence to Stability programme
  • [02] Greek bond market closing report
  • [03] Fears surrounding Greek economy 'irrational', Stiglitz claims
  • [04] German FM: Support for Athens
  • [05] Stocks end moderately up

  • [01] PM: Strict adherence to Stability programme

    (ANA-MPA) -- Greece is at the centre of an unprecedented attack by market speculators, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou charged on Tuesday, adding that "strangulation" of the Greek economy is being attempted through skyrocketing 10-year state bonds spreads to unjustified levels.

    Speaking at an Economist conference in Athens, Papandreou added that, in the midst of the speculative attack, Greece's Stability, Development and Restructure programme -- recently submitted to the EU -- has drawn positive comments by level-headed analysts, stressing that "we mean what we say".

    He said the speculative attacks had exploited long-standing problems in the Greek economy, and aimed at inflating the magnitude of the crisis, adding that remedying these chronic problems and weaknesses is a national dictate.

    Papandreou attributed the fiscal crisis to the choices of "preceding situations".

    "Greece is vulnerable, but it has immense prospects and, at any rate, it does not deserve what it is currently experiencing," the premier said, stressing that "Greece is an equal partner in a strong monetary union, and at the same time has a government with a powerful mandate, determination, and a plan", which will be applied "at the fastest possible speed allowed by our (democratic) institutions". (MORE)

    [02] Greek bond market closing report

    (ANA-MPA) -- The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened again to 356 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 346 bps on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 6.75 pct and the German Bund yielding 3.19 pct. Turnover in the market totaled 1.647 billion euros, of which 574 million were buy orders and the remaining 1.073 billion euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 470 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.094 pct, the six-month rate was 0.96 pct, the three-month rate 0.66 pct and the one-month rate 0.42 pct.

    [03] Fears surrounding Greek economy 'irrational', Stiglitz claims

    Fears that the Greek economy will collapse were "irrational", Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said during a press conference in Athens on Tuesday, after the end of an Economist Conference held in the city.

    He ruled out the prospect of economic collapse in Greece and also said the high interest rate spread for Greek bonds was excessive.

    Stiglitz did not volunteer specific measures that the Greek government might take to correct the problems, noting only that this required structural reforms and that a successful policy should find a good balance between reducing the deficit, stimulating the economy and dealing with its structural weaknesses.

    Asked whether salaries in Greece should be cut, the economist asserted that pay reductions did not general have a positive impact on reducing public deficits and pointed to the case of Ireland, where cuts in wages had failed to the anticipated results.

    Commenting on the European Central Bank, Stiglitz said it was a paradox that the ECB was prepared to lend to banks at effectively zero interest but was not prepared to do the same for EU member-state governments.

    [04] German FM: Support for Athens

    (ANA-MPA) -- Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday received visiting German vice-chancellor and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who is Athens on a working visit. After their talks, Westerwelle underlined the German government's confidence in both the programme of reforms launched by the Greek government to overcome the economic crisis and in Papandreou himself.

    "We Europeans - and that is why I am here - want to express our complete confidence in the Greek government, unconditionally for the measures and the prime minister. We want to show our solidarity with Greece and our support," the German minister told reporters afterward.

    Papandreou later said that his talks with Westerwelle were dominated by the economic crisis, both in terms of each individual country and in terms of its impact on the European economy as a whole. The premier said that he had outlined the measures already taken by the government and the policies initiated via the Stability and Growth Programme to correct the country's structural problems and reorganise the Greek economy so that it was "more competitive, more sustainable and fairer."

    [05] Stocks end moderately up

    Stocks ended moderately higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, supported by selective buying demand for bank shares. The Composite index of the market rose 0.73 pct to end at 2,058.41 points, with turnover a low 147.6 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.78 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.74 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index fell 0.02 pct. The Food (2.74 pct) and Bank (1.67 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Utilities (2.39 pct) and Commerce (1.22 pct) suffered losses.

    Vell Group (24 pct), Compucon (11.11 pct), Korres (9.65 pct), Nikas (9.63 pct) and Paperpack (8.33 pct) were top gainers, while United Textiles (14.29 pct), Klonatex (11.11 pct), Mouzakis (6.98 pct) and Eurodrip (6.76 pct) were top losers. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 92 to 81 with another 61 issues unchanged.


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