ECONOMY

In Brief

More public borrowing planned in second quarter Greece plans to borrow around 7.5 billion euros in the second quarter, including issuing some 2 billion euros of foreign currency denominated debt, the head of the Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) said yesterday. PDMA said last week it planned to reopen a 10-year bond and three-year and five-year notes next quarter as well as issue new 13-week, 26-week and 52-week T-bills, but gave no indication how much it planned to auction. «The total amount is around 7.5 billion euros, with 5.5 billion euros for issuance that we have already announced,» Christophoros Sardelis told Reuters. «The remaining 2 billion will come from issues in other currencies.» Greece aims to raise a total of around 30 billion euros this year and it already borrowed around half of that amount in the issue-heavy first quarter. Greece is rated «A1» by Moody’s Investors Service, «A+» by Standard & Poor’s and «A+» by Fitch Ratings. (Reuters) Commission not in a hurry to refer Olympic to European Court A European Commission spokesman in Brussels yesterday denied an Agence France-Presse report according to which the Commission is about to refer Greece to the European Court over past state subsidies to Olympic Airways, the now revamped and renamed Olympic Airlines. The spokesman said the Commission is currently in consultations with the Greek government over the issue and needs certain clarifications regarding the carrier’s privatization plan before deciding whether to hold an official investigation in the months ahead. Enlarged business? About six in 10 midsized firms in the European Union expect the major effect of enlargement to 25 members in May to bring a lowering of labor costs rather than any increase in sales, according to the annual International Business Owners Survey (IBOS), conducted by Grant Thornton Consulting. French and Greek firms emerged as the most optimistic regarding sales; 56 percent of them in both countries believe enlargement will open up new markets and boost sales. German firms come a distant third with only 39 percent and UK firms last with 12 percent. FedEx Courier firm Federal Express (FedEx) on Tuesday started six weekly flights to and from Athens with an Airbus A310-200 freighter aircraft, estimated to reduce delivery times from all over the world by a day. «There is a great need for transportation and logistics systems to link Greece with the rest of the world; 45 percent of incoming freight originates in European countries, 30 percent in the US and 20 percent in Asia, and we need to move fast and improve delivery times to remain competitive,» said Alain Chaille, FedEx’s operations vice president in southern Europe. The firm is exclusively represented in Greece by Orbit Couriers (e-mail: [email protected]). Car sales Private car sales in February rose 10 percent to 22,140, year-on-year, but were down from 32,006 in January. Toyota outperformed with 2,253 cars sold, followed by Hyundai with 1,755.