ECONOMY

In Brief

Siemens said to be planning large Greek software plant German engineering giant Siemens has let Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis know it plans to set up a large software production plant in Greece, projected to employ 400 workers, according to reports. The minister met the company’s president, Heinrich von Pierer, and other officials on Monday. Siemens today operates a small software center in Greece with 20 staff. In another meeting, on the sidelines of business events coinciding with the Olympic Games, officials of investment bank Morgan Stanley’s European operations informed Alogoskoufis they plan to open an office in Greece. Government wants exploration for oil in western Greece to go deeper The government is preparing to issue tenders for a second round of concessions for hydrocarbon exploration and production in western Greece, Deputy Development Minister Giorgos Salagoudis told executives of institutional investors and investment banks in a presentation yesterday. He said studies have estimated oil deposits in the region at 2 billion barrels. Previous drilling in areas of the Patraikos Gulf, Aitoloacarnania, Ioannina and the Peloponnese, starting in 1996, proved largely unsuccessful but have not exceeded a depth of 3,000 meters, and now the government is seeking to attract larger investments for exploration beyond that depth. The rights for issuing the previous tenders belonged to state-controlled Hellenic Petroleum but the government now plans to regain them. Turkish trade deficit up Turkey’s trade deficit widened by 73.6 percent to $19.4 billion in the first seven months of the year from $11.1 billion in the same period last year, the state statistics institute said yesterday. Imports climbed by 45.1 percent to $53.8 billion while exports increased by 32.7 percent to $34.4 billion, the institute said. In July alone, imports went up 36.8 percent to $8.5 billion and exports increased by 27.6 percent to $5.4 billion. Last year, the embattled Turkish lira steadily regained ground against the dollar as the the economy began to emerge from a severe recession brought on by financial turmoil in 2001. But business leaders have complained that the currency’s revival is undermining exports, seen as vital for the economy’s recovery. (AFP) Bulgarian energy The Bulgarian energy sector is set to receive 6 billion euros ($7.25 billion) of investment by 2007, Energy Minister Milko Kovatchev said yesterday. The energy projects, which will represent 5.7 percent of the country’s output by 2007, were aimed at improving energy efficiency and competitiveness as well as modernizing the sector. They would also involve Bulgaria’s participation in the liberalization of the Balkan energy market, which is to begin in 2005. About 3 billion euros covered the financing of projects already begun, the modernization of a nuclear power plant and two fossil fuel-fired plants. Half of the $2 billion of foreign investments in Bulgaria this year are going into energy projects. (AFP)