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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-08-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek banks' interest rates up in June
  • [02] Consumer group reports 5% increase in prices for basic goods
  • [03] Audits, inquiries in state sector
  • [04] Stocks jump 3.85 pct

  • [01] Greek banks' interest rates up in June

    Greek banks raised their saving and lending interest rates in June, reflecting limited liquidity in the domestic banking system, the Bank of Greece said on Monday. The central bank, in a report, said interest rates for 12-month deposits rose to 3.61 pct in July, from 3.42 pct in June, and was significantly higher compared with 2.98 pct in December 2009.

    Lending interest rates, in consumer credit including credit cards, rose by 0.45 pct to 14.37 pct from 13.92 pct in the previous month. Business loans also rose by 0.17 pct to 6.46 pct, while the average interest rate on business loans was set at 5.90 pct.

    The interest rate for saving deposits by households, with a duration for up to two years, rose to 3.05 pct from 2.91 pct, while the mortgage rate with a duration of more than 5 years eased slightly to 3.66 pct from 3.82 pct.

    [02] Consumer group reports 5% increase in prices for basic goods

    The monthly "basket of goods" bought by the average Greek household has increased 105 euros or roughly 5 percent over the last year, the Greek consumer group ELKEKA reported on Monday.

    Citing figures released by Greece's statistical authority, ELKEKA said the cost of these basic goods had increased from 2,010 euros a month in 2009 to 2,115 euros a month in 2010.

    ELKEKA President Vassilis Lygas told the ANA-MPA that the sharp rise in prices was mainly due to the increase in VAT and the Special Consumption Tax, causing additional hardship to households already facing cuts in their pay and pensions.

    The highest increases were in alcoholic drinks and tobacco products, which climbed 19 percent in the year, followed by transport costs that rose 18 percent due to the higher cost of fuels, increased road tolls and more expensive repair and maintenance costs for vehicles.

    Housing costs rose by 8 percent due to higher heating fuel costs and climbing rents, while there was 5 percent increase in services and a one percent reduction in foods and non-alcoholic beverages.

    [03] Audits, inquiries in state sector

    The finance ministry on Monday announced dozens of audits in agencies of the broader public sector and formal inquiries into the activities of tax and customs officials, following up complaints by members of the public referring to numerous types of violations and offences.

    Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou ordered 10 audits of Technological Educational Institutes, hospitals, municipal authorities and enterprises - including that of Thessaloniki - that will be carried out in collaboration with the appropriate bodies, such as the Court of Audit or the Public Administration General Inspector.

    Orders have also been given for 25 formal inquiries into officials in the state financial services, both at the ministry's central services and in regional tax offices, customs posts and real estate services.

    These will investigate complaints of corruption that include taking bribes and illegal enrichment, irregular inspections of businesses, various types of negligence and omissions, reports of a circuit for illegal VAT returns in northern Greece, failure to collect import dues, leaks of personal information, issue of fake documents and others.

    For those accused of taking bribes and illegal enrichment, the ministry will also check their means and asset statements, among them state employees implicated in the Siemens scandal.

    In an announcement, the ministry stressed that it was determined to continue steadfastly investigating both anonymous and named complaints reported to its 1517 phone line in order to restore transparency and credibility within its own services.

    [04] Stocks jump 3.85 pct

    Buying spree for bank shares pushed the Athens Stock Exchange sharply higher on Monday. The composite index of the market jumped 3.85 pct to end at 1,746.72 points, with turnover an improved 133.074 million euros. Eurobank (13.56 pct), Alpha Bank (8.06 pct), National Bank (6.34 pct), Piraeus Bank (6.11 pct) and Cyprus Bank (5.34 pct) were top gainers among banks.

    The Big Cap index jumped 4.85 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.55 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 3.68 pct. Banks (7.22 pct), Raw Materials (7.06 pct) and Technology (5.27 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Insurance (1.45 pct), Personal Products (0.69 pct) and Food (0.24 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 176 to 28 with another 22 issues unchanged. Euroholdings (16.67 pct), Vivere (15.56 pct) and Halcor (13.19 pct) were top gainers, while Elfico (19.70 pct), Elmec Sport (10 pct) and Xylemporia (9.09 pct) were top losers.


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