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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-02-14

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece-Balkans
  • [02] Mussels - ban
  • [03] ASE-gains
  • [04] Economy - Greece
  • [05] Stock market-close
  • [06] Papandoniou-stock market inflows
  • [07] Alico-Eurobank-new mutual fund
  • [08] Papandoniou-oil prices

  • [01] Greece-Balkans

    14/02/2000 17:55:48

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on Monday defended Greece's decision to ask for a lifting of sanctions on Yugoslavia, saying that the Yugoslav population was carrying the burden.

    "The situation has come to an impasse with the policy being followed to date... Greece proposes the gradual lifting of the embargo," Reppas told reporters.

    He was speaking after Greece broached the issue of Yugoslavia's non-participation at the weekend's Bucharest Balkans summit.

    "The main issue at the Balkans summit in Bucharest was the salvation of the institution," Reppas said when asked about Yugoslavia's absence.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed at the summit that a policy of isolating Yugoslavia would bear little and that the embargo should be re-considered.

    [02] Mussels - ban

    14/02/2000 17:55:38

    A ban has been placed on the cultivation of the Pierias mussel harvest after Italian import authorities impounded 3.5 tonnes of Pierias mussels with traces of biotoxins.

    Pieria Prefect Giorgos Papastergiou told the ANA that the prefectural authority had banned cultivation and distribution of the mussels as of February 10, after receiving written notification from the health ministry of the Italian action.

    The mussels impounded by the Italians had been cultivated on February 3.

    The prefect said however that he was "surprised" at the findings of the Italian authorities as continued checks of the mussel harvesting area by the Thessaloniki Veterinary Institute had failed to show any trace of contamination.

    Lifting the ban, however, will require more testing from labs other than the Thessaloniki centre, which does not have international certification. Samples are being sent to Spanish and Italian centres.

    [03] ASE-gains

    14/02/2000 17:55:24

    The booming Athens Stock Exchange is expected to add another 100 companies to its list by the end of this year, in addition to the companies which will list themselves on the NEXA exchange for small and medium-size businesses, Athens bourse president Spyros Kouniakis said on Monday.

    Speaking to a conference organised by The Economist magazine, Kouniakis outlined the rapid growth of the Athens bourse over the past two years, saying that the bourse had raised capital of 4.3 trillion drachmas in 1999, companred to a measly 550 billion in 1997.

    Market capitalisation at the end of 1999 totalled 65 trillion drachmas, compared to 9.8 trillion drachmas at the end of 1997.

    He said that attempts to modernise the market - new transparency regulations, a new transactions system, paperless trading, new products and the NEXA exchange - would lead the Athens bourse into the ranks of developed markets.

    [04] Economy - Greece

    14/02/2000 17:55:11

    Greece could be one of the European Union's most developed economies in four to five years' time if it manages to maintain present high growth rates, Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Monday.

    Christodoulakis told a conference held by magazine The Economist that he was very pleased with the results of the government's economic policy for the country's inclusion in economic and monetary union.

    The success of the government's policy in monetary reform could be seen in the reduction of heavy public deficits, he said. In 1999, the public deficit was running at 1.4 percent of GDP, with the government aiming at reducing it further to EU averages.

    He said the introduction of new products to the Greek market, such as a 20-year bond at fixed interest rates, were some of the reforms attempted. What was still to be done, he said, was to list leading state-run companies on the Athens bourse.

    [05] Stock market-close

    14/02/2000 16:56:57

    Equity prices ended Monday's session lower in subdued trade on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Traders said the market was nervous following a sharp fall on Wall Street on Friday.

    The general index ended at 5,640.44 points, off 0.75 percent. Smaller capitalisation stocks suffered the heaviest losses while Banks ended slightly higher.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.44 percent to 2,918.52 points, while the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.62 percent lower at 922.95.

    Trading was a low 188.10 billion drachmas, partly due to technical problems that hit the market's main electronic board.

    Macedonian Plastics shares resumed trading after a two-week suspension from the board to end at the day's 10 percent limit down.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks plunged 3.36 percent to end at 1,571.31 points.

    [06] Papandoniou-stock market inflows

    14/02/2000 16:00:09

    National Economy and Finance Minister, Yiannos Papandoniou, on Monday said that rising foreign capital inflows on the Greek stock market was evidence of foreign institutional investors' optimism over its course and final inclusion among international developed markets.

    "I am happy to see that foreign capital inflows have begun along with a fundamental flow of big institutional investors who are predicting a positive trend for the Greek market and look forward to its upgrading," Papandoniou said.

    "I don't know when this will happen, but I expect it won't be long ahead of the country's participation in EMU," he added.

    [07] Alico-Eurobank-new mutual fund

    14/02/2000 15:31:53

    Alico-Eurobank Mutual Fund Management on Monday unveiled a new foreing markets equity mutual fund with an initial capital of 400 million drachmas and an offer price of 2,000 drachmas.

    The new fund is using Morgan Stanley Capital International's index as a benchmark. The index includes selected blue chips from international developed stock markets.

    US stocks account for 51 percent of the fund's portfolio composition, followed by eurozone stocks with 15 pct, other European 15 pct, Japan 11 pct, emerging markets 5.0 pct, other Asian states and Australia-New Zealand 3.0 pct.

    AIG Private Bank, a Swiss investment bank subsidiary of American International Group, is acting as investment consultant to the new mutual fund.

    [08] Papandoniou-oil prices

    14/02/2000 14:31:03

    International pressure on oil producing countries would finally lead crude oil prices to more stable levels, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papandoniou said on Monday.

    He said that rising oil prices was a very unpleasant development for all oil consumer countries.

    "Oil consumer countries were losing income to the benefit of oil producers. This development, although unpleasant, does not affect the country's course towards EMU participation," Papandoniou said.

    He noted, however, that although the impact of higher oil prices on western economies was not as acute as during the oil crises of past decades, economies were affected.


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