ECONOMY

In Brief

European Capital Market Committee chiefs meet in Athens today Greek Capital Market Commission Chairman Stavros Thomadakis will chair the sessions of the European Regional Committee of the International Organization of Capital Market Committees (IOSCO) which starts in Vouliagmeni today. Representatives of 42 countries will attend, including IOSCO President Fernando Santos and President of the newly formed European Capital Markets Supervisory Committee (CESR) Arthur van Leeuwen. Top of the agenda is the implementation of International Accounting Standards throughout Europe and issues concerning applicant countries for EU membership. Companies reluctant on adoption of corporate governance The Union of Listed Companies on the Athens Stock Exchange, which is sponsored by the Federation of Greek Industries and represents 75 percent of the total capitalization of the bourse, has sent its members a letter and special form, urging them to adopt the principles of corporate governance, also the subject of a draft bill prepared on the basis of a plan by the Capital Market Commission.The union has found a reluctance among its members to adopt the plan, mainly because they do not wish to appoint independent members to their boards of directors as 92 percent of listed companies are family-run enterprises which do not wish to divulge inside information to people who may join a competitor in the future. The cost of each company’s adoption of the basic principles of corporate governance has been estimated to be about 200 million drachmas, including the provision for internal auditing. PMI lower in October. Greece’s purchasing managers index (PMI) dropped to 50.2 in October, slipping back from a slight recovery to 50.5 in September, showing that manufacturing expansion had virtually stalled in the month. NTC Research and the Hellenic Purchasing Institute said Greece’s PMI was barely above the 50.0 mark, which separates expansion from contraction. Purchasing managers reported that the downtrend in manufacturing growth, evident before the September 11 attacks on the USA, had worsened due to the shock. NTC Research said demand in domestic and foreign markets weakened during October, with manufacturing output registering a marginal increase. (Reuters) Low productivity. The productivity of Greek workers is the second lowest in the European Union, according to Eurostat data released this week. Greece’s productivity per worker is only 80 percent of the EU average, 10 percentage points lower than Spain and only higher than Portugal. Portugal, nevertheless, has exports valued as three times those of Greece. Luxembourg leads in the productivity table with 199.7 percent of the EU average. US productivity is 138 percent of the EU average. Jobs. The European Commission has approved the spending of 70 billion drachmas for a job creation program in the 2001-2006 period through the subsidization of wages. Priority will be given to the young, the long-term unemployed and women. The program is targeting 46,000 beneficiaries. Another quiet day with all indexes falling. Caper index has lost another 14 points and in the same trend Panamax and Handymax by 9 and 15 points, respectively.