ECONOMY

In Brief

Unemployment falls further, gov’t to promote part-time jobs The National Employment Action Plan (ESDA) for 2003 aims to boost the trend toward part-time work and extend it to the public sector, said Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas, who released the plan to unions and employers for discussion yesterday; 30,000 unemployed people (60 percent of them women) are expected to be hired part-time in the public sector, particularly in social services. Other measures proposed include improving links between vocational training and employment and facilitating immigrants’ integration in the work force. «Our priority is the modern welfare state,» said Reppas, adding that high growth rates are a prerequisite for increasing employment. Unemployment fell about 1 percent in the first quarter of 2003 and 2.2 percent since 2000, while social spending rose 42.6 percent in the last five years, he noted. Charter arrivals down in June, GNTO projects recovery Foreign arrivals on charter flights in 17 Greek airports were down 2.77 percent in June year-on-year, according to the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO). The fall was well above average for Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu and Samos, but arrivals were up in Kalamata, Mytilene, Kavala and Thessaloniki. The GNTO predicts that lower bookings early in the year due to the Iraq war, SARS and the economic downturn will be counterbalanced later in the year. OTE OTE-Estate has picked the consortium of Deutsche Bank and EFG Telesis Finance to advise it on tapping the potential of the telecom utility’s property assets, the book value of which is estimated at 482 million euros. OTE-Estate is targeting a reduction of at least 15 percent in OTE’s housing costs over the next five years through a rationalization of property assets. H1 results Bank of Attica said net group profits grew 55 percent to 14.4 million euros in the first half, year-on-year. Assets reached 1,982 million euros, up 5.3 percent, and lending grew 33.1 percent to 1.346 million; mortgages were up 75.6 percent. Lambrakis Press (DOL) reported 236 percent growth in operating results in the first half to 5.2 million euros year-on-year, on sales growth of only 4 percent. Piraeus Leasing said first-half pretax profit grew 50 percent to 5.4 million euros year-on-year; turnover was up 65 percent to 72.2 million euros. Subsidiary Piraeus Best Leasing doubled pretax profit to 733,000 euros. Incomes policy The government’s recent agreement to grant average pay raises above 6 percent to public servants next year will make a reduction in the budget’s primary spending even more difficult, Alpha Bank said in its weekly economic bulletin. This will further narrow possibilities for a significant fall in the country’s public debt in coming years, when today’s particularly low interest rates will no longer exist, Alpha said. Greece’s GDP may grow a more than 4 percent this year, according to the bulletin. Intracom Telecoms equipment maker Intracom has signed a 724,000-euro tender to supply two mobile VSAT satellite communication terminals to the Greek army. Olive oil Foiniki Lakonias olive oil has been added to the European Union’s list of products of regulated label of origin.