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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-03-20
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Secondary Bond Market - Close20/03/2000 20:30:28
Greek bonds maintained their yield spread from German bunds in weak trade on Friday.
The volume of transactions totalled 22 billion drachmas, with buy orders accounting for 10 billion drachmas.
The benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.15 percent, with the spread over German bunds fluctuating between 90 basis points.
The short-term period rates in the interbank market maintained the Friday levels, with the National Bank of Greece quoting 8.50 percent for overnight, 9.10 percent for one month and 6.85 percent for one year.
 Italy - Greece - Illegal - Immigration20/03/2000 18:45:57
Rome apparently reversed last week˘s criticism of alleged official indifference and failure on the part of Athens to stem the flow of illegal immigration via Greek seas.
In a letter to his Greek counterpart Mihalis Chrysohoidis, dated March 17, Italian Interior Minister Enzo Bianco refers to the ?complete understanding by the Italian side over efforts being made by your country (Greece) in controlling illegal immigrants?.
The issue came to the forefront early last week after some 450 illegal immigrants landed on the shores of Calabria in southern Italy after sailing from Turkey. In press statements, Italian Deputy Interior Minister Alberto Maritati had charged that Greek authorities were failing to monitor ports serving as gathering points for migrants, while also failing to intercept migrant trafficking vessels ostensibly criss-crossing Greek sea-lanes.
Additionally, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Ranier stressed at the time that Athens must faithfully implement the Schengen Pact in light of Greece˘s scheduled accession to the ?Schengen zone? on March 26.
The criticism brought an immediate reaction from the Greek government, and specifically from the merchant marine ministry, stressing that Greece is fulfilling its obligations under the Schengen Pact and demanding an official retraction of the statements by Rome.
In his letter, Bianco notes that ?? I can assure you that the Italian government does not hold any misgivings over the Greek side˘s will to guarantee respect of its commitments, even within the framework of Schengen. I am certain cooperation that has already begun will be able to develop even more and that necessary progress will be gained towards the benefit of our countries.?
In a related development, the Greek foreign ministry˘s secretary general for European affairs, Stelios Perrakis, was quoted by the Italian daily ?Il Messagero? as emphasizing that Greece fulfills all the Schengen provisions in the pact it has signed.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Tuesday20/03/2000 18:21:38
Following are indicative foreign exchange buying rates for commercial banks, released by the central bank for the next working day.
U.S. dollar 341.159
 Weather Forecast-Tuesday20/03/2000 17:40:52
Rain, snow and sleet will prevail throughout Greece on Tuesday.
An improvement in the weather is expected in the northwest of the country late Tuesday night.
Winds will be variable, light to strong.
 AGEK-1999 results20/03/2000 17:02:31
AGEK, a listed construction company, on Monday reported a 19 percent rise in its 1999 turnover to 28 billion drachmas and a 41 percent jump in its pre-tax profit to 4.2 billion drachmas, compared with the previous year.
The group's consolidated turnover rose 38 pct to 32 billion drachmas, while its pre-tax profit jumped 49 pct to 4.7 billion last year.
AGEK's extraordinary general shareholders' meeting, called to approve a share capital increase plan, was postponed on Monday.
 Greek farmers-1999 income20/03/2000 16:50:27
Greek farmers' income was unchanged in 1999 from the previous year, European Union's statistics agency Eurostat said on Monday.
A report on the 15 member-states, Eurostat said that farmers' income fell 3.0 percent, with 11 EU states recording declines last year.
Ireland (-12 pct), Denmark (-11 pct), Belgium (-9 pct) and the Netherlands (-6 pct) recorded the biggest percentage annual declines, while Portugal (+16 pct), Sweden (+6 pct) and Luxembourg (+2 pct) showed income rises.
Eurostat said farm prices fell 5.0 percent and farm susbidies eased 2.0 percent in 1999. The farm sector's workforce and agricultural production both fell 3.0 percent last year.
Greek agricultural production fell 2.0 pct in 1999, while livestock production eased 1.0 percent and vegetable production (accounting for 70 pct of total agricultural production) fell 2.0 pct. Olive oil production dropped 16.0 pct and wine production eased 10.0 pct.
Subsidies to Greek farmers fell 4.0 pct last year, the country's farm workforce shrunk 3.0 pct, while the value added cost to the country's farm production fell 3.0 pct.
 ADEX-close20/03/2000 16:30:28
Derivatives prices ended the first trading session of the week lower on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, despite a mixed appearance in the benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40 which ended 0.27 down and 0.80 percent up, respectively.
A total of 871 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, worth 4.6 billion drachmas. The March expiring contract ended at 2,721, the May contract at 2,742 and the June contract at 2,750 points.
Turnover on the FTSE/ASE 40 index totalled 2.4 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 771 points, the May at 787 and the June contract at 776.50 points.
 Capital Markets Committee-1999 report20/03/2000 16:22:49
The number of retail investors in the Greek stock market exceeds one million, or 10 percent of the country's population, the Capital Markets' Committee said in a report on Monday.
In its 1999 report, the Greek regulatory authority said that the capital market was not a place of gambling nor guaranteed easy money to investors.
The committee said its regulatory checks were constant last year regarding the use of capital raised through initial public offerings or share capital increases during the year.
The committee checked several hundred securities firms, listed companies and mutual fund companies in 1999. It also analysed data for 42 share prices on suspicion of share manipulation, or use of confidential information and imposed sanctions worth 1.07 billion drachmas.
The regulatory authority revoked the licences in one securities firm and four order intermediaries firms while it ordered the suspension of nine order intermediaries firms last year.
The Capital Markets' Committee implemented measures to boost transparency, improve the market's function and to better inform retail investors on investment risks in the bourse.
In 1999, the committee approved the operation of 11 new securities firms, 22 mutual funds' companies, three investment funds. It also approved 18 initial public offerings in the main market, 31 IPOs in the parallel market for smaller capitalisation stocks and the transfer of two companies from the parallel market to the main market.
 ASE-close20/03/2000 15:50:59
Equity prices ended Monday's session slightly higher on the Athens Stock Exchange, in what dealers described as a return to normal trading levels after the previous week's "violent" fluctuations.
Analysts said that a positive climate was re-establishing in the market paving the way for a short-term rally to the 5,000 level.
Smaller capitalisation stocks remained at the centre of attention, while Banks came under mild pressure to end lower.
The general index ended 0.08 percent higher at 4,849.07 points, off the day's highs of 4,904.52 and the day's lows of 4,815.99 points.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.27 percent lower at 2,699 points, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index rose 0.80 percent to end at 752.49 points.
Turnover was a low 162.2 billion drachmas.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 1,004.14 points, up 7.26 percent.
 NATO - Exercise - Troops - Kosovo20/03/2000 15:04:46
A multinational NATO contingent passed through northern Greece early Monday morning on its way to Kosovo via FYROM. The force will participate in a scheduled alliance military exercise in the strife-torn Yugoslav province.
Some 900 troops along with 60 military vehicles disembarked at the port of Thessaloniki, the primary port for the Greek province of Macedonia, in two groups -- with the first leaving the port area in coaches just after midnight and the second at dawn.
According to reports, the two groups˘ overland journey to the Greek border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was completed without incident.
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