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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-01-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou contacts at WEF Davos
  • [02] Gov't unveils farm measures
  • [03] Papoulias receives Tsipras
  • [04] Stocks jump 3.15% on Fri.

  • [01] Papandreou contacts at WEF Davos

    DAVOS (ANA-MPA) -- Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou briefly spoke with noted economist Nouriel Roubini during on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum here on Friday, with the Greek leader expressing his stern condemnation of Roubini's his recent statement claiming that Greece was "already bankrupt" and seeking a loan from China.

    Roubini made the eyebrow-raising statement to CNBC.

    Also present during the encounter was Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, who had spent much of Thursday denying press rumours of a Chinese or EU bailout for Greece as 'ludicrous', in statements to foreign media.

    Roubini and Papandreou reportedly discussed the negative impact of former's statement and the economist said that he had not been aware that the rumour regarding the Chinese loan to Greece was untrue. The bail-out rumours led jittery markets to increase the spread on Greek bonds relative to German bond yields even further, earlier this week.

    Earlier, Papandreou had met with UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband - to discuss European issues in relation to the economic crisis, the Cyprus issue and international security in connection with Afghanistan - World Trade Organisation director-general Pascal Lamy and the head of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Juan Somavia.

    [02] Gov't unveils farm measures

    The government on Friday announced a package of measures in support of farmers' income, amid continuing and often crippling roadblocks by protesting farmers throughout the country's provincial highway junctures and at border posts.

    Speaking at an agriculture-related conference in the northeast city of Komotini, Agriculture Development and Foodstuffs Minister Katerina Batzeli announced what she called the immediate settlement of overdue debts through the extension of a payoff period and the adoption of a grace period of two years, as well as a credit limit increase to cover 100 pct of cultivation expenses.

    Also, one billion euros out of the 28 billion euros allocated to buttress liquidity in the domestic banking system will be channeled to the agricultural sector to cover long-term and medium-term farmer loans for the period 2009-2010, while a two-year "freeze" will be in effect for all farm loans, with no outstanding payments.

    Batzeli stated the settlements mentioned will also be into effect for certain farmers' cooperatives that face problems due to the economic crisis.

    In addition, the VAT refund will increase from 7 to 11 pct, while farmers will also receive funding from the Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Very Small Enterprises (TEMPME).

    The minister announced a heating allowance ranging from 300 to 500 euros destined for vulnerable categories of farmers depending on their geographic region, 4 pct petrol tax refund, animal feed transportation cost subsidies and extra subsidies for island regions.

    Batzeli stressed that this year's scheduled funding for the farm sector will reach 5.5 billion euros.

    She also met with a farmers' delegation in the Evros Prefecture.

    Earlier, representatives of protesting farmers active in 15 roadblocks across northern Greece and Thessaly decided to ask for a meeting with Batzeli over the weekend.

    Meanwhile, the Egnatia national motorway section in Chryssoupolis and Kerdyllia remained closed to traffic by roadblocks. Also closed is the Thessaloniki-Nea Moudania motorway at the Nea Triglia interchange, Nea Moudania-Sithonia, Kalyves (from 13:00-17:00) and Serres-Thessaloniki motorway at Strymoniko.

    Moreover, the Doirani customs post remained closed, while the Promahonas border crossing will be closed until 7 p.m. In western Macedonia province, farmers closed the Vogatsiko interchange on the Egnatia motorway and the Kastoria-Kozani old national highway.

    [03] Papoulias receives Tsipras

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader president Alexis Tsipras at the presidential mansion on Friday.

    In view of Papoulias imminent re-election by a Parliament majority next week, Tsipras expressed a wish that his new term in office will coincide with a recovery for the country, stressing that "things are extremely difficult and we need desperately to recover."

    Additionally, Tsipras expressed what he called his "great respect" for Papoulias and explained that the SYRIZA Parliamentary group will vote "present" during the election in Parliament on Wednesday and not against him.

    [04] Stocks jump 3.15% on Fri.

    Stocks staged a dynamic recovery during the last trading day of a highly volatile week in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday.

    Signs of stabilisation in the Greek bond market and positive trend in other international markets helped in encouraging buying activity. The composite index jumped 3.15 pct to end at 2,048.32 points, with turnover a strong 277.466 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index ended 3.85 pct higher, the FTSE 40 index rose 1.26 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 1.82 pct up. The Travel sector (0.04 pct) was the only one to suffer losses, while Banks (5.12 pct) and Financial Services (5.47 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 143 to 45 with another 46 issues unchanged. Mouzakis (13.89 pct), Desmos (11.11 pct), Tzirakian (10.0 pct), Medicon (9.83 pct) and Alpha Bank (8.80 pct) were top gainers, while Compucon (10.0 pct), CPI (8.33 pct), Space Hellas (6.25 pct) and Athina (6.25 pct) were top losers.

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