Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-09
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 09/10/1998 (ANA)
- Inflation rises to 5.2 pct yr/yr in Sept,seen falling in October
- Greek stocks dive 5.23 pct, pummelled by inflation rise
- Retail sales volume rises 2.3 pct in July
- Bourse suspends DANE Sea Line after failed share cap rise
- Bourse turnover totals Dr 19.8 trillion in Jan-Sept
- Greek economy will endure int'l crisis if policy remains steadfast
- KYSEA meeting today to examine armaments programme
- Prospects for Greek-South African defence cooperation examined
- Turkish attempt to include occupied Cyprus in energy map rebuked
- G. Papandreou: Athens committed to peaceful solution in Kosovo
- Greece fails in bid for non-permanent seat at UN Security Council
- Racetrack site picked for new museum of modern art
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Inflation rises to 5.2 pct yr/yr in Sept,seen falling in October
Consumer price inflation rose to 5.2 percent year-on-year in September, up
from 5.0 percent in August, but is likely to drop below 5.0 percent in
October, the Greek National Statistics Service (GNSS) said yesterday.
Fuelling September's rise in the consumer price index were a return to
normal prices after the summer sales; and price rises in consumer durables,
education fees and foodstuffs, especially vegetables, which posted the
highest increase. The CPI rose by 1.9 percent for the month against a 1.7
percent increase in September last year.
According to GNSS, a decline in inflation to the government's target of 4.5
percent in December is still feasible.
On Wednesday, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou
told an annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank
that 1998 inflation would fall to an estimated 4.8 percent.
GNSS secretary general Nikos Karavitis told reporters that the outlook for
October was healthy as inflation was likely to feel the impact of several
A drop in gasoline tax in the second half of September that had not
filtered through to retail prices by the end of that month, and was
expected to bring a decline of 0.3 percent to the CPI
A reduction by more than half of a heating oil tax from October
A price decline in selected goods agreed with supermarket owners in a
Greek stocks dive 5.23 pct, pummelled by inflation rise
Greek equities plunged 5.23 percent on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday
hit early in the session by declines in European markets, and again in the
last half hour of trade by a surprise increase in September's inflation.
The general index lost 101 points to end at 1,829.55 points in thin trade.
Turnover was 28.8 billion drachmas on 7,276,000 shares traded.
Consumer price inflation in September rose to 5.2 percent year-on-year from
5.0 percent in August.
Indices ended lower led by a 6.2 percent drop in the heavily weighted
Insurance fell 1.90 percent, Investment ended 3.36 percent off, Leasing
fell 2.56 percent, Industrials plunged 4.67 percent, Construction eased
4.23 percent, Miscellaneous dropped 5.93 percent and Holding fell 5.48
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 3.14 percent
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 225 to 22 with another 7 issues
Retail sales volume rises 2.3 pct in July
The volume of retail sales rose by 2.3 percent in July, the Greek National
Statistics Service (GNSS) said yesterday.
Volume for January-July was 1.2 percent higher than the same period of last
year, GNSS said.
Bourse suspends DANE Sea Line after failed share cap rise
Athens Stock Exchange president Spyros Kouniakis yesterday announced a
temporary suspension of trade in DANE Sea Line following an abortive share
capital rise that produced only 3.5 percent of funds sought. The decision
was welcomed by DANE's board, which said in a statement that the freeze
would protect the firm's share price in the aftermath of successive 8.0
percent limit downs in the last few days.
The suspension would protect both existing shareholders and other investors
until DANE had completed evaluation of partnership proposals submitted to
Mr. Kouniakis on Wednesday, the company said.
The board reassured shareholders it would act wisely on their behalf and
ensure better conditions in the company's coastal shipping services to the
Bourse turnover totals Dr 19.8 trillion in Jan-Sept
Turnover at the Athens Stock Exchange was 19.8 trillion drachmas in January-
September, or 16.5 trillion drachmas less buyback deals and block
Ranking top among brokerages on the basis of turnover in the same period
was National Securities, a subsidiary of blue chip National Bank of Greece,
at 1.8 trillion drachmas, holding 9.06 percent of the market. Ranking top
on the basis of turnover le ss buyback deals and block trades was Sigma
Securities at 1.1 trillion drachmas, or 6.54 percent of the market.
In September, the bourse's turnover was 1.86 trillion drachmas, or 1.5
trillion less buyback deals and block trades.
In the same month, Alpha Brokerage ranked top at 171 billion drachmas, or
9.17 percent of the market.
Ranking top on turnover less buyback deals and block trades was Sigma
Securities at 89 billion drachmas, or 6.02 percent of the market.
Greek economy will endure int'l crisis if policy remains steadfast
Greece will continue its positive economic course, weathering out the
ongoing crisis in international financial markets if the present economic
policy is applied with consistency, National Bank of Greece Governor
Theodoros Karatzas stressed in New York yesterday.
"Our economy is not exposed to the risks of other economies. It has no
involvement in high-risk areas, such as the Far East, the former Soviet
Union, or even Latin America, and so I forecast that the Greek banking
system will not sustain the impact of e vents in recent weeks, such as
other large banks exposed to high risks did. Generally, the Greek economy
will continue its positive course, but we cannot ignore that it will remain
exposed to the international environment, which will continue sustaining
the repercussions of the crisis," he said in an interview with the New York-
based Greek-American newspaper "Proini".
"For the good climate to continue, we need nothing else but a consistent
continuation of the policy already applied and will lead to the attainment
of its target, that is convergence," he added.
"I believe that at the end of next year we shall have fulfilled all the
conditions in order to participate in Economic and Monetary Union with the
inauguration of the third phase on Jan. 1, 2001," he stressed.
Further, he expressed the view that uncertainty in the global economy would
continue for some time, but conditions were not as bad as appearing at
first sight. "The global economy will be stabilised after a certain period
and will be again led on its way to growth," he said.
He added that he agreed with the view that the IMF had become outdated in
the face of current international economic developments, and proposed two
plans, one short-term and one long-term for dealing with the situation.
Finally, Mr. Karatzas said Atlantic Bank, the National Bank's US subsidiary,
had plans for expanding to a number of states in the United States,
incorporating the Boston and Chicago branches and applying for listing on
the New York Stock Exchange.
KYSEA meeting today to examine armaments programme
The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) will meet
today to examine progress in the government's multi-million dollar five-
year armaments programme, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said
There was widespread speculation earlier in the week that the scheduled
meeting might be postponed.
Mr. Reppas said on Tuesday that the meeting would be held only if it
appeared that things had "matu-red" with regard to the main topic of the
meeting, namely, armaments. The spokesman clarified yesterday that the
meeting had been prepared following numerous telephone contacts on
Wednesday by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and National Defence Minister
There is also a possibility that other issues will be discussed at the
meeting, including the crisis in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, Mr.
Prospects for Greek-South African defence cooperation examined
Prospects for expanding cooperation between Greece and South Africawere
examined on Thursday during a meeting between Greek National Defence
Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his visiting South African counterpart Joe
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said after the meeting that cooperation could be
extended to encompass many fields, such as the social, political and
economic sectors in addition to the defence industry, where "there will be
better initiatives in the immediate future".
Mr. Modise expressed appreciation for Greece's support in S. Africa's
struggle for democracy, and for the role of the large Greek community in
South Africa in the country's economic development.
Mr. Modise said bilateral development in the armaments sector should be
developed, and also in the commerce sector, giving as an example the import
of olive oil from Greece.
The meeting also focussed on topics the two countries shared concern over,
and considered priorities for, the future of the world, since Europe and
Africa are now very close and the problems were mutual ones, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos
The two defence ministers also said that South African president Nelson
Mandela would visit Greece, but did not specify when or give any details.
Turkish attempt to include occupied Cyprus in energy map rebuked
An attempt by a spokesman of the Turkish natural gas utility Botas to
present a power distribution map of Turkey that included the Turkish-
occupied part of Cyprus, was met yesterday by a strongly worded reaction by
a Hellenic Petroleum S.A. (HP) representative. The incident took place
during an international conference on the development of the gasoline and
natural gas market of the Balkans, held in Sofia. The HP representative
expessed his disdain over the attempt to entangle political issues in a
trade conference, even more so when such an attempt is made in disregard of
international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions and
against the Republic of Cyprus - an independent country and UN member.
In a related development, it was announced that a study on the Burgas-
Alexandroupoli oil pipeline will be complete by the end of 1999, a project
which is expected to provide the least expensive route for the transport of
Caspian crude oil to the western markets.
G. Papandreou: Athens committed to peaceful solution in Kosovo
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou reiterated yesterday evening
that Athens wants to expend every effort for a peaceful solution to the
In televised statements to a state-run channel, Mr. Papandreou said the
issue was discussed during the European Conference on Tuesday in Luxembourg
and on Wednesday during a Council of Europe meeting.
Finally, he said Greece will raise the issue again during a southeastern
European leaders' summit in Turkey, scheduled for next month.
"...we hope that the Greek initiative with Bulgaria and Romania, the
meeting with (Yugoslav leader Slobodan) Mr. Milosevic and the new prime
minister of Albania will have some results," he said.
Greece fails in bid for non-permanent seat at UN Security Council
Greece yesterday failed in its bid to become a non-permanent member of the
UN Security Council for the 1999-2000 period.
The vote at the plenary of the UN Security Council went in favour of Canada
and the Netherlands, which together with Greece belong to the western
Greece received 87 votes against 131 for Canada and 122 for the Netherlands.
Because the two other countries received more than two-thirds of the total
of the 176 countries that voted, there will not be a second vote. The other
three countries elected were Argentina, Malaysia and Namibia.
In Athens, a foreign ministry spokesman said Greece congratulates the two
newly elected countries as non-permanent members of the UN Security
The spokesman, who was commenting on the outcome of the vote, said that
Greece had made a systematic effort with all the means at its disposal.
"The fact that they give considerable development aide to third world
countries operated in favour of our competitors," he said, adding: "We only
started the effort at developing such programmes last year," Theodoros
He said the issue raised by the Greek candidacy remained in that the same,
namely, that countries returned periodically to the Security Council and,
consequently, the representative nature of the body was not secured.
"Greece obtained considerable benefits from the promotion of its candidacy.
It came into contact with tens of countries with which it had almost no
relation until now and, of course, we will continue and utilise the
relations which we developed during our pre-election campaign," he
Racetrack site picked for new museum of modern art
A new museum of modern art will be constructed on the site of the current
Athens racetrack in the seaside suburb of Faliro, Culture Minister
Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday.
The ambitious museum project, Mr. Venizelos said, would be ready by 2004,
when Athens hosts the Olympic Games.
The Vassilis and Eliza Goulandris Foundation initially revealed plans to
build a museum of modern art in 1993. The project, budgeted then at seven
billion drachmas, was designed by the famous Chinese-American architect
I.M.Pei, and was originally located on a 10,830-square-metre lot, located
between Vassilissis Sofias and Rigillis streets, which the Greek state had
ceded to the foundation.
However, plans stalled when ground-breaking work on the lot in early 1997
revealed what is believed to be the palaestra (wrestling arena) of ancient
Athens' Lyceum. An earlier proposal that the museum be built on the site of
a disused brewery in central Athens was rejected, Mr. Venizelos said,
citing what he called the concrete structure's unique place in Athens'
industrial architectural history.
Scattered cloud will prevail in most parts of Greece on Friday with the
possibility of showers in the northwest in the morning.
Winds will be variable, light to strong. Mostly fair weather in Athens
where temperatures will range between 18-30C. Overcast in Thessaloniki
where temperatures will be from 15-26C.
Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 276.143
British pound 475.267 Japanese yen (100) 237.088
French franc 51.528 German mark 172.757
Italian lira (100) 17.479 Irish Punt 432.314
Belgian franc 8.370 Finnish mark 56.742
Dutch guilder 153.319 Danish kr. 45.485
Austrian sch. 24.563 Spanish peseta 2.032
Swedish kr. 35.772 Norwegian kr. 37.914
Swiss franc 214.366 Port. Escudo 1.683
Aus. dollar 171.021 Can. dollar 181.536
Cyprus pound 582.284