Minister gets serious about steady prices

Deputy Development Minister Kimon Koulouris has increased pressure on industry and retail commerce so as to keep price rises below the level of inflation in 2004. As the year ends, he is multiplying his contacts and his threats in case the market does not share his goals. Koulouris declared yesterday that if price rises exceed inflation, he is ready to sign a new batch of regulations obliging producers to offer more detailed accounts of their costs and making retailers reveal any pricing deals with producers. Koulouris said that the prices of wines, olive oil and flour have been allowed to increase more than the inflation rate due to «special circumstances» in these sectors. Koulouris met with retailers’ representatives yesterday. One of them, Carrefour-Marinopoulos Managing Director Didier Fleury said his chain would raise prices in 2004 by no more than 3.5 percent.