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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-12-30

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek economy to power ahead from 2000
  • [02] Stocks rise again, retaking 5,300 points
  • [03] Bonds perk up in higher turnover
  • [04] Greece to auction first 20-year bond Jan 11
  • [05] Water board IPO eight times oversubscribed
  • [06] Futures rise in derivatives market
  • [07] Cypriot firm buys 70 pct of Royal Olympic Cruises
  • [08] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [09] Papandreou, Cem to address conference of Greek and Turkish journalists
  • [10] Awards by Stephanopoulos to distinguished citizens
  • [11] Simitis lauds contributions of EMAK unit
  • [12] Tsohatzopoulos: Athens FIR, nat'l airspace not negotiable with Turkey
  • [13] To the subscribers of the ANA's "Bulletin" and Special English Service:
  • [14] Charges filed against Central Archaeological Council
  • [15] Gov't concerned over probe results detailing police corruption

  • [01] Greek economy to power ahead from 2000

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    Greece's economic indicators will show further improvement in the next three years, beginning in 2000, said a national economy ministry bulletin released yesterday.

    One of the main forecasts is that gross fixed-capital investments are to rise to 1.571 trillion drachmas in 2000, from 1.469 trillion drachmas this year and 1.255 trillion drachmas in 1998, the six-monthly bulletin said.

    Growth in gross fixed-capital investments is expected to accelerate further in the following two years to 1.705 trillion drachmas in 2001 and 1.867 trillion drachmas in 2002. International organisations agree that Greece's economic outlook remains positive.

    The European Union has forecast that the country's economic growth will reach 3.7 percent in 2000 and 4.1 percent in 2001 from 3.3 percent this year.

    Inflation is forecast at 2.2 percent in the next two years from 2.4 percent in 1999, the general government deficit is expected to fall to 1.6 pct of GDP in 2000 and to 1.2 pct in 2001 from 1.9 pct this year, while the general government debt is forecast to fall to 103 pct and 100.3 pct of GDP in the next two years, down from 104.5 pct in 1999.

    The country's current account deficit is expected to rise to 1.9 pct of GDP in 2000 and to 2.1 pct in 2001, up from 1.6 pct this year.

    The bulletin also refers to a recovery in economic activity, fuelled by increasing consumer demand.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Stocks rise again, retaking 5,300 points

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    Stocks moved higher for the third consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange, pushing the market above the 5,300 level.

    Dealers said trade had improved and that buying activity again focused on smaller capitalisation and telecommunications stocks.

    The general index ended 2.46 percent higher at 5,359.11 points with turnover at 283.48 billion drachmas.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+0.96 pct), Leasing (+4.90 pct), Insurance (+2.93 pct), Investments (+3.26 pct), Construction (+6.73 pct), Industrials (+3.20 pct), Miscellaneous (+2.24 pct) and Holding (+1.71 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 5.83 percent higher at 1,470.30 points.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks rose 1.86 pct to 2,836.06 points and the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index jumped 5.08 percent to 948.27 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 307 to 14. Microland and Athinea ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit down.

    Panafon and Hellenic Telecoms were the most heavily traded stocks.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 23,400 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 25, 500, Commercial Bank at 25,200, Titan Cement (common) at 18,550, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,180, Intracom at 14,800, Minoan Lines at 8,650, Panafon at 4, 195 and Hellenic Telecoms at 7,500.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Bonds perk up in higher turnover

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    Bonds in the domestic secondary market rose in healthier turnover yesterday despite the holiday season when trade usually thins off.

    In the previous session, the market had received a lift in the last few minutes of trade when the Bank of Piraeus bought 15- and 7-year bonds worth 24 billion drachmas.

    The benchmark 10-year bond yesterday showed a yield of 6.45 percent from 6.54 percent a day earlier and 6.50 percent in the two previous sessions.

    The yield spread over German bunds was 122 basis points at the opening to narrow to 115 basis points at the close from 122 basis points a day earlier and 125 basis points in the two sessions before that.

    Turnover through the Bank of Greece's electronic trading system was 84 billion drachmas from 27 billion drachmas in the previous session and 11 billion drachmas on Monday.

    Of yesterday's turnover, buy orders accounted for 82 billion drachmas of turnover.

    The market at the start of the week brushed off a 0.75 percentage point cut in the Lombard rate on Christmas Eve in the wake of another 0.75 point reduction in the central bank's intervention rates in the previous week that had spilled into the commerci al bank market.

    The forward spread for 12 months between Greek benchmark 10-year bonds and equivalent German paper has been estimated at 50 basis points, coinciding with Greece's planned entry into the euro zone.

    The spread over bunds at the end of this year has been forecast to drop to between 100 and 120 basis points, analysts said.

    Minor outflows seen in forex market : The drachma yesterday dropped against the euro and the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market with traders reporting minor outflows.

    The ouflows totalled around 80 million euros, according to market sources.

    In the previous session, the central bank had stepped into the market, buying around 50 million euros, a turnaround from a spate of interventions over the last couple of weeks to support the drachma.

    At the central bank's daily fixing yesterday, the euro was set at 330.230 drachmas from 329.800 drachmas in the previous session, 330.300 drachmas on Monday and 330.620 drachmas on Friday.

    Also at the fixing, the dollar was set at 327.500 drachmas from 325.600 drachmas a day earlier, 326.250 drachmas on Monday and 326.410 drachmas on Friday.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greece to auction first 20-year bond Jan 11

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    Greece will auction its first 20-year bond, paying an annual coupon of 6.0 percent, on January 11, 2000.

    Three days later, on January 14, a 10-year bond future will start trading on the Athens Derivatives Exchange, Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday.

    Mr. Christodoulakis said that state borrowing would be significantly reduced next year to 8.5 trillion drachmas, or 21.0 percent of the country's GDP, down from 26.0 percent in 1999.

    He said the ministry would focus on domestic borrowing next year, issuing more securities in order to avoid foreign currency risks.

    Mr. Christodoulakis said that the public debt fell to 104.1 pct of GDP in 1999 despite a sharp appreciation of the yen in international currency markets, a development that burdened the country's foreign exchange debt with an additional 150 billion drac hmas.

    He attributed the reduced debt to cutbacks in state borrowing, falling interest rates, subsidy cuts to state enterprises, higher economic growth and a massive repurchase of older bonds.

    The spread between 10-year Greek and German bonds fell to 160 basis points in 1999, fulfilling the long-term interest rate criterion to participate in EMU.

    Mr. Christodoulakis said that all pre-war state loans (dating from 1881 to 1939) had been repaid.

    ND questions gov't figures : The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party yesterday accused the government of using creative accounting in order to show that Greece was in line with fiscal criteria for euro zone entry.

    George Alogoskoufis, who heads ND's economy section, said that the government had used the proceeds of privatisation and other revenue to show what he called an artificial reduction of the public debt at the end of 1999.

    Mr. Alogoskoufis added that such practices would bring the country economic problems after entry into the euro zone, which the government wants to achieve on January 1, 2001.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Water board IPO eight times oversubscribed

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    An initial public offering by the Athens Water Supply and Drainage Company (EYDAP) to raise 78 billion drachmas and enter the main market of the Athens Stock Exchange was eight times oversubscribed.

    EYDAP issued a total of 6.5 million new shares with 1.5 million of the total allocated to a private placement with staff at 2,000 drachmas each.

    Also offered were another 25 million shares at 2,500 drachmas each, bringing the share total for sale to 31.5 million shares.

    Among buyers of EYDAP's stock were the holders of convertible bonds, which can be exchanged for stock in companies floated as part of the government's privatisation drive.

    The holders of convertible bonds received a 5.0 percent discount on the EYDAP stock they purchased.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Futures rise in derivatives market

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    The price of futures rose on the Athens Derivatives Exchange yesterday following a recovery in the FTSE/ASE 20 index for the third consecutive session. Contracts are based on the index.

    A total of 769 contracts were traded, worth 4.4 billion drachmas. The January 2000 contract closed at 2,835.91 points, the February 2000 contract at 2,931,22, the March contract at 2,950 and the June contract at 3,020 points. The September and December contract settlement prices were set at 3, 056.38 and 3,113.50 points respectively.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Cypriot firm buys 70 pct of Royal Olympic Cruises

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    Louis Cruise Lines Limited, which is listed on the Cypriot bourse, yesterday completed a 70 percent acquisition of Royal Olympic Cruise Holdings Inc., which owns 51.42 percent of Royal Olympic Cruise Lines Inc.

    Payment was effected partly in the form of Louis shares.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: December 29, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             324.880 332.413
    Can.Dollar            223.200 228.375
    Australian Dlr        210.304 215.180
    Pound Sterling        526.315 538.518
    Irish Punt            415.952 425.596
    Pound Cyprus          567.424 580.580
    Pound Malta           743.173 774.139
    Turkish pound (100)     0.052   0.054
    French franc           49.940  51.098
    Swiss franc           203.925 208.654
    Belgian franc           8.121   8.309
    German Mark           167.493 171.377
    Finnish Mark           55.097  56.374
    Dutch Guilder         148.653 152.100
    Danish Kr.             44.045  45.066
    Swedish Kr.            38.293  39.181
    Norwegian Kr.          40.722  41.666
    Austrian Sh.           23.807  24.359
    Italian lira (100)     16.919  17.311
    Yen (100)             317.857 325.226
    Spanish Peseta          1.969   2.015
    Port. Escudo            1.634   1.672
    
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              324.880 332.413
    Montreal              223.200 228.375
    Sydney                210.304 215.180
    London                526.315 538.518
    Dublin                415.952 425.596
    Nicosia               567.424 580.580
    Paris                  49.940  51.098
    Zurich                203.925 208.654
    Brussels                8.121   8.309
    Frankfurt             167.493 171.377
    Helsinki               55.097  56.374
    Amsterdam             148.653 152.100
    Copenhagen             44.045  45.066
    Stockholm              38.293  39.181
    Oslo                   40.722  41.666
    Vienna                 23.807  24.359
    Milan                  16.919  17.311
    Tokyo                 317.857 325.226
    Madrid                  1.969   2.015
    Lisbon                  1.634   1.672
    
    Athens News Agency

    [09] Papandreou, Cem to address conference of Greek and Turkish journalists

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    The foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, George Papandreou and Ismail Cem, respectively, will open a Greek-Turkish conference of journalists and media executives, set for Feb. 5-6 in Athens.

    The two ministers accepted a proposal by the conference's contact group to deliver the opening addresses at the event, an announcement noted yesterday.

    It said that during the Turkish officials' stay in Athens, some of the bilateral accords on "low-impact" issues would be signed.

    More than 40 personalities from the journalism, publishing and higher education sectors in Turkey will be attending the Athens conference, the announcement added.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Awards by Stephanopoulos to distinguished citizens

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos decided to award honourary distinctions to a number of Greek citizens on the occasion of the New Year.

    Honourees include Bank of Greece Governor Lucas Papademos, university professor and Council of Europe's Human Rights Court VP Christos Rozakis, professor of philosophy and academic Evangelos Moutsopoulos, Oxford University professor Vassileios Markezinis, Frankfurt University professor and member of the European Union's Individual Data Protection Committee Spyros Simitis and artist Alekos Fasianos.

    Likewise, he decided to award honourary distinctions to a number of foreign nationals.

    Among them are Montpellier Mayor Georges Freche, for his activities in favour of Greece; Tory MP and resident of the Hellenic British Parliamentary group Dr. Ian David Twinn and Eurodeputy and philhellene Alfred Lomas.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Simitis lauds contributions of EMAK unit

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    1999 has been an outstanding year for emergency search and rescue services EMAK, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday.

    "1999 has been EMAK's year," Mr. Simitis said, referring to the emergency unit's contribution to rescue efforts during the quakes in Turkey and Greece.

    Mr. Simitis was speaking during an EMAK demonstration put on for his visit to the squad's headquarters.

    The prime minister, accompanied by Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoides and ministry secretary-general Dimitris Efstathiades, was briefed on new equipment acquired by EMAK, such as three new sniffer dogs, trained in France.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Tsohatzopoulos: Athens FIR, nat'l airspace not negotiable with Turkey

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    Turkey is obliged to respect international legality and submit flight plans for its planes when they enter the Athens FIR, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday.

    He made the statement in Thessaloniki in response to questions over recent infringements of air traffic regulations in the Athens FIR and violations of Greek national airspace in the eastern Aegean.

    "Greece must remain firm on the non-negotiability of its positions, so that the other side understands that Turkey has the obligation of adjusting to the new realities if it wishes to pursue the prospect of European Union membership," he said, addingt hat Greece will not negotiate any rights regarding national airspace.

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said the continuing Turkish provocations in the Aegean are a particularly negative contribution to the conditions for the two peoples' peaceful co- existence and bilateral coo peration. "They show a persistence, with a practice dangerous for peace, which establishes Turkey in the role of international troublemaker, and reveals its intention to disregard both international law and international treaties that jointly formul ate the status quo in the area," he said.

    "The government must assume its responsibilities, instead of playing down the Turkish provocations. Its claim that after Helsinki the Turkish provocations will constitute a problem between Ankara and the EU rather than Greece still begs for practical co nfirmation,"" he added.

    Meanwhile, according to an ANA dispatch from Istanbul, Turkish Alternate Foreign Minister Sermet Atajanli again drew attention to recent positive developments in Greek-Turkish relations.

    Speaking during a weekly press briefing, he referred to the scheuduled visit of Foreign Minister George Papandreou at the end of January, and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem's reciprocal visit to Greece.

    He added that bilateral agreements were expected to be signed in the next few months on issues of tourism, environment, trade, culture, regional cooperation, organised crime, illegal immigration, drugs and the fight against terrorism.

    In another development, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit reiterated yesterday that Turkey will not make concessions on the Cyprus issue.

    Speaking during a budget debate in his country's national assembly, he claimed that Turkey did not make concessions on the Cyprus issue or regarding its national rights in order to gain candidacy for EU membership.

    "The European Union accepted Turkey as a candidate country knowing our resolve on the Cyprus issue," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] To the subscribers of the ANA's "Bulletin" and Special English Service:

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA) As of today, and for five weeks (until the end of January 2000), you will be able to access the on-line English Service on a trial basis at http://ns.ana.gr with the following universal access code - username: bull password: bull47 At the end of the trial period, please inform the ANA's marketing department if you wish to continue to receive the on-line English Service alone, the "Bulletin" alone (in its electronic form), or both, so that you may be issued a personal access code, as the universal access code will be abolished.

    We would also like to remind you of the special offer the ANA is offering to those subscribers who wish to receive both services.

    SPECIAL OFFER ANA's bulletin subscribers will be able to receive, as of Jan. 2: a) the Special English Service of news items on-line and as the news is breaking 500,000 drachmas annually and, b) the next day's "Daily Bulletin" on their screens at midnight, with the ability for print-out if desired 110,000 drachmas annually. ANA is offering a special package discount subscription of 500,000 drachmas for both services.

    For further information, please call the marketing department between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at 6400560.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Charges filed against Central Archaeological Council

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    An Athens first instance court prosecutor yesterday filed charges for breach of duty against the culture ministry's Central Archaeological Council.

    The charges arise from an investigation into claims that the influential council had ignored a 1997 ministerial decision classifying 27.8 hectars of land as an archaeological site while, in 1998, it approved a construction firm's request to begin building on the site.

    The investigation was prompted by a report in the "Eleftherotypia" daily which began last summer.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Gov't concerned over probe results detailing police corruption

    Athens, 30/12/1999 (ANA)

    The public order ministry yesterday said it had been taken aback over results of an internal affairs investigation into corruption within the Greek police force, stressing that it was determined to apply the law in each case.

    "The extent of corruption and the number of police involved were more than we expected," ministry secretary-general Dimitris Efstathiades said.

    "But the law will be applied without any exceptions. It is a shame for other police officers to be stigmatized by these cases," he added.

    The Greek Police's (EL.AS) new internal affairs division announced on Tuesday it had uncovered at least 14 instances of police officers involved in serious breach of duty. It has forwarded a preliminary report to an Athens prosecutor.

    A range of charges have been filed against 14 policemen, which includes seven officers. The charges include breach of duty, blackmail, perjury, bribery and tampering with official documents. Ten of the people charged face felony charges.

    Calling the corruption cases "abscesses which will be rooted out", Mr. Efstathiades said that the bureau's work would continue unhindered.

    On their part, both main opposition New Democracy and the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) commented on the issue.

    ND said cited the need for the creation of a national police command away from political party control as well as the upgrade of salaries, promotions and training.

    Synaspismos called for the "substantial" solving of long-standing financial and institutional problems in the sector.

    Police officers' union : The Union of Police Officers (PENAA) yesterday called for the immediate and exemplary punishment of guilty officers.

    PENAA deplored what it termed corruption in the police force and congratulated the internal affairs team, calling on all police officers and citizens to be on alert for effectively combatting such incidents.

    Athens News Agency

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