ECONOMY

In Brief

PMI ends up higher for third straight month in July The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) in Greek manufacturing edged up to 51.1 points in July from 51.0 in June, reflecting an acceleration in business orders for the third straight month. The pace of acceleration, however, was the weakest among the three months. Employment shrank marginally for the second straight month in July, even though most manufacturing enterprises said their employment levels remained the same. Emporiki group earnings up 31.6 pct in first half Emporiki Bank, Greece’s fifth largest by market capitalization, announced 31.6 percent growth in pretax earnings after minorities in the first half to 56.2 million euros from 42.7 million in the same period last year. The bank said the stronger performance was due to a significant rise in core earnings and an improvement in the results of subsidiaries that are consolidated on a net-worth basis. Group assets stood at 16.94 billion euros at the end of June, on a par with the level of six months earlier. Outstanding loan balances were 21 percent higher, but Emporiki said that non-performing loans after provisions represented 1.7 percent of the group total, against 2.6 percent at the end of 2002. Serbia business Business organizations and entrepreneurs from the US, Greece and Serbia and Montenegro will attend a business forum in Belgrade, on the sidelines of the scheduled official visit to Serbia by Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos on October 14, a Foreign Ministry statement said. The forum is the result of interest on the part of US businessmen who asked for assistance from the Greek government in exploring possible opportunities in the Balkans, said the statement. «Our intention is to broaden Greek-Serbian business relations and provide a springboard for enterprises from the US, Canada and the Netherlands, that have also expressed interest,» said Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos. Biogas The estimated 150,000 tons of organic waste annually churned by Greece’s 18 citrus-fruit processing plants can produce 27 GWh of electric power – meeting the requirements of a town of 6,500 people – and 41GWh of thermal energy, the Center for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES) said in a press release. The unaerobic fermentation of organic waste produces biogas, consisted of 65 percent methane and 35 percent carbon dioxide, which can be used as fuel. CRES is coordinating an EU networking program for the tapping of the energy potential of citrus-fruit waste. ‘E-mail by Phone’ The OTEnet Internet provider has launched a new subscriber service for access to e-mail without the use of a computer. «E-mail by Phone» enables customers to listen to their messages, answer them and redirect them, or send new ones simply by dialing 210.876.5000 and entering their access name and code. Using voice instructions they can also work through contact lists, diary and notes. The new service costs 5 euros per month (plus VAT). More information may be obtained from www.emailbyphone.gr, by sending e-mail to [email protected], or by phoning 801.11.35555 or 210.679.8000 at any time.