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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-01-15
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Turkey-Ecumenical Patriarchate-Moscow Patriarchate15/01/2001 21:23:53
ISTANBUL (ANA - A. Kourkoulas) - Talks between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate on the Estonian issue, which has created a rift in relations between them, will get underway in Vienna on Tuesday.
Tension created by the Estonian issue led to the Moscow Patriarchate's decision not to attend the meeting of Orthodox Patriarchs organised in Istanbul and Nice to celebrate the end of the second and the start to the third Christian millennium.
Church sources said the participation of all Patriarchs, with the exception of Moscow's, and the meeting's success showed the isolation of the Moscow Patriarchate regarding tactics it is following in its relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Tuesday15/01/2001 19:40:58
Tuesday's buying rates
U.S. dollar 358.533
German mark 172.829
French franc 051.531
Pound sterling 529.156
Irish punt 429.202
Belgian franc 008.379
Luxembourg franc 008.379
Dutch guilder 153.389
Italian lira (100) 017.457
Austrian schilling 024.565
Danish kroner 045.275
Swedish kroner 038.110
Finnish mark 056.852
Spanish peseta 002.032
Portuguese escudo 001.686
Japanese yen (100) 302.029
Swiss franc 219.117
Norwegian kroner 041.167
Cyprus pound 585.632
Canadian dollar 238.553
Australian dollar 198.283
 Banks-UBS Warburg15/01/2001 19:37:29
Greek banking stocks, some of which are blue chips, are currently priced at low levels on the Athens Stock Exchange and are worth buying, UBS Warburg said on Monday.
UBS said in a market report for customers that banking shares are also considered to be attractively priced on a European level.
Greek banks are expected to show healthier results in the first quarter of the year despite low revenue from commission on stock market transactions and mutual funds, the report said.
The rise in revenue would stem mainly from growing loan business, including housing and consumer loans, UBS added.
 Derivatives Market-Close15/01/2001 19:24:17
Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Monday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based, traders said.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 4.15 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 6.07 percent lower.
Turnover was 55.573 million euros on 7,302 contracts traded, the traders said.
 Secondary Bond Market-Close15/01/2001 19:04:54
Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished mixed in light trade with players focusing on 20-year paper.
The US market was closed for a holiday, partly explaining a quiet session in European markets.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.37 percent from 5.30 percent a day earlier.
The yield spread over German bunds was 53 basis points from 54 basis points in the three previous sessions.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 250 million euros (about 85.1 billion drachmas) from 1.1 billion euros (around 375 billion drachmas) the trading day before.
 Greece - Yugoslavia - Kostunica visit15/01/2001 18:49:36
BELGRADE (ANA) New Yugoslav leader Vojislav Kostunica arrives in Athens on Tuesday for a highly anticipating visit, as talks are expected to focus on strengthening traditionally robust bilateral economic and political ties in the post-Milosevic era.
The situation in strife-torn Kosovo and southern Serbia as well as Belgrades fragile relations with pro-west Montenegro are also on the agenda of talks.
Kostunica, who ended the Milosevic regimes grip on power in Yugoslavia with an unprecedented election victory late last year, will arrive at the invitation of Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos.
 Greece - Cuba - FMs meet15/01/2001 18:31:43
Greece and Cuba on Monday signed a memorandum to better promote bilateral relations, with the relevant agreement finalised here by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his visiting Cuban counterpart Felipe Perez Roque.
Among others, the Greek FM said specific cooperation in the fields of agriculture, tourism, transports and shipping were discussed during talks he had with the Cuban FM, who is also scheduled to visit Nicosia, Ankara and Tehran as part of a regional tour.
Afterwards, during a brief press conference, Roque appeared pessimistic when asked about prospects for improvement in US-Cuba ties in light of a new US administration.
 Weather Forecast-Tuesday15/01/2001 18:00:14
Rain or snow is forecast in many parts of Greece on Tuesday. The northern Ionian, Epirus and western central mainland Greece will be cloudy; light snow is expected eastern Macedonia and Thrace; the rest of the country will see cloud turning to rain or snow on high ground; and storms are forecast in eastern and southern seas. Temperatures will be -5C to 6C in the north; -3C to 12C in the Ionian and remaining mainland; and 5C to 15C elsewhere. Cloudy and showery in Athens with snow in the mountains, and temperatures between 5C and 11C. Some sleet in Thessaloniki with temperatures from -1C to 5C.
 Maziotis - sentence reduced to five years15/01/2001 17:44:34
An Athens appeals court on Monday reduced the 15-year sentence of a convicted bomber and self-styled anarchist to five years and six months, during a hearing conducted in the accused's absence.
Originally found guilty of attempted bombing for an explosive device planted at the development ministry in December 1997, the charge against Nikos Maziotis, 37, was refiled as an "abortive attempted bombing" after expert testimony ostensibly revealed that the bomb could not have detonated because of improper assembly.
Other charges against Maziotis included the supply and possession of explosives, illegal construction of an explosive device and illegal possession of firearms.
The court also decided to recognise "lack of base motives" - i.e. the fact that he was driven by strong political and ideological convictions - as a mitigating factor in his favour.
After Monday's verdict was announced, Maziotis' lawyers said they would immediately file a request for his release from prison with restrictive conditions.
 Greece-Capital Markets' Committee15/01/2001 16:48:28
Greece's Capital Markets' Committee on Monday dismissed recent talk of speculative moves by big market players in the Athens Derivatives Exchange.
In a announcement to the press, the Committee said there were no moves to push the derivatives market lower by speculators.
"The Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX) is being monitored closely by the Capital Market's Committee and there are no indications that investors are changing positions both on ASE and ADEX to speculate in the market. Monitoring and inspections are continuous," the Committee said.
ADEX recently presented four factors blocking any speculative moves in the market. These were: introducing five codes for primary dealers in the derivatives market, monitoring of codes, prohibiting of simultaneous lending of shares on ASE and contract selling on ADEX, and introducing an on line monitoring system in the market
The Capital Markets' Committee, however, in its recent report over market moves on the day Greece officially applied for EMU membership, acknowledged that a big international institutional investor actually speculated in the market.
 Greece-Simitis-economy15/01/2001 16:24:02
Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday urged for more efforts to fully adjust the Greek economy to the eurozone and said that Greece's participation in EMU signalled a new era for the citizen "with a better monitoring of inflation, greater transparency in transactions, and greater stability and increased income."
Speaking to reporters ahead of a working lunch with National Economy and Finance Minister, Yiannos Papantoniou, Bank of Greece's governor Lucas Papademos and other bank governors, Simitis said he was optimistic over the Greek economy's convergence "which is moving satisfactorily but much more must be done."
"The adjustment of the Greek economy to this new era has already begun with satifactory rates and will continue at the same rates in the next months. It needs a hard work but we can be optimistic," he said.
His comments contrasted with protests from a group of investors protesting outside the Bank of Greece's building over the course of the Athens Stock Exchange blaming the government's policy on the issue.
 ASE-close15/01/2001 16:02:17
Equity prices ended sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday dissapointing hopes of more positive steps following last week's spectacular rebound.
Small investors protested outside the market after seeing share prices resume their free-fall pushing the general index below the 3,200 support level.
Traders said institutional investors remained on the sideline after the previous week's concerted intervention.
Blue chip stocks were particularly hit, with Panafon losing 6.36 percent, Alpha Bank 5.63 percent, Hellenic Telecoms 3.89 percent and National Bank 3.56 percent.
The general index ended 4.43 percent lower at 3,167.22 points, with turnover a low 151.27 million euros, or 51.4 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE index fell 4.15 percent to 1,855.44 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 6.07 percent to 336.09 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 6.52 percent lower at 261.11 points.
 Eltrak SA-dealership agreement15/01/2001 15:00:56
Eltrak SA on Monday announced it had signed a new exclusive dealership agreement with Bridgestone/Firestore Europe SA, through its subsidiary Elastrak.
In a letter to the Athens Stock Exchange, Eltrak said the deal was signed on January 12.
Eltrak owns 75 percent in Elastrak.
 Greece-Papantoniou-tax policy15/01/2001 14:41:42
Greece's finance ministry plans to promote a fairer tax system, through combatting tax evasion, and improved services to taxpayers, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Monday.
Inaugurating a new tax agency's premises in Glyfada, a southern Attica suburb, Papantoniou said that Greece was no longer an underdeveloped country with underdeveloped public services. "We have a strong economy now and the Greek citizens were entitled to have proper services in a civilised and decent environment".
Papantoniou also announced a 700-billion-drachma investment plan for relocating the finance ministry to a new building, completing an instalment of computer systems throughout the ministry's services, and a administrative restructuring of the finance ministry.
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