ECONOMY

In Brief

Nine-month budget revenues up 8.58 pct Ordinary budget revenues in the nine months to September rose by 8.58 percent to 9,596 billion drachmas, resulting in a 54-billion-drachma surplus, the Finance Ministry announced yesterday. The revenue gain improved on a budgetary target of 7.9 percent for the nine-month period. September revenues rose by 5.42 percent to 1,056 billion drachmas, which were, however, 20 billion drachmas short of the goal set for the month. The bulk of nine-month revenues came from tax levies, which rose by 7.15 percent to 6,581 billion drachmas, accounting for 69 percent of total takings. The biggest gains came from dividends paid by state-owned enterprises, up by 42.69 percent to 816 billion drachmas. Customs taxes increased by 3.52 percent to 2,198 billion drachmas. Tax takings in September constituted 73 percent of total revenues for the month, increasing by 8.24 percent to 771 billion drachmas. Dividends from public sector companies improved by 11.92 percent to 47.2 billion drachmas. PPC planned for bourse flotation in December The Public Power Corporation (PPC) will seek to raise 150 billion drachmas through its stock market flotation of existing shares and a share capital increase in December, a recent report by Alpha Bank on Eurobonds in the energy sector stated. PPC’s forthcoming bourse listing, says the report, is expected to have a positive impact on its bond issues by contributing to a lessening of its borrowing requirements. Alpha Finance, a subsidiary of the Alpha Bank group, is among the corporation’s privatization advisors, along with National Bank, Goldman Sachs, ABN Amro Bank and Rothschilds. Trade deficit rises. Greece’s trade deficit rose by 400 million euros in the first seven months of the year in relation to the same period in 2000, according to figures released by Eurostat yesterday. The deficit rose to 11.3 billion euros from 10.9 billion last year, making it the third largest among the 15 EU member-states after the UK’s 41 billion and Spain’s 21.4 billion euros. The increase was due to a fall in Greek exports by 10 percent to 6.2 billion and a fall in imports by 1 percent to 17.5 billion euros. Fewer travelers. Occupancy rates in Athens hotels fell 30 percent in September compared to the same month last year, according to data released by Arthur Andersen consultants. The firm forecasts that the firms that will not endure the current crisis will be those with a heavy dependence on the US and Asiatic markets, lack of loyal clients, high debts and management lacking vision. The Hellenic Association of Tourism Enterprises (SETE), meanwhile, described 2001 as a stagnant year in terms of arrivals and likely to lag behind 2000 in terms of revenue. Cyprus-Crete air link. Cyprus Airways is launching direct flights once a week between Cyprus and Crete on November 4. Flight CY424 will depart from Larnaca at 12.45 p.m. every Sunday, and CY425 will return from Iraklion at 19.35 p.m. on the same day. DRY CARGO