ECONOMY

In Brief

Gov’t gives contradictory signals about social security reform While government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said yesterday that the government does not intend to open the issue of reforming Greece’s social insurance system and Deputy Labor Minister Gerasimos Giakoumatos stated: «It is not among the government’s immediate priorities,» Deputy Social Security Minister Nikos Angelopoulos said financing the system will have to be looked at again. «The 1 percent of GDP instituted by the previous government for financing the social security system is not enough to cover the requirements of the Social Security Foundation (IKA). The total requirements of the system are about 8 percent of GDP.» The National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) said the issue must open to public debate soon. «Reforms to date do not create feelings of security about the long viability of the social insurance system. It needs stable financing, accompanied by arrangements regarding retirement age, working lives, incentives for staying at work and reconsideration of such elements in relation to the average life expectancy.» Crisis reportedly deepening in stockbrokerage sector Reports proliferated yesterday that at least two stockbrokerages are facing serious financial problems, while their future appears extremely precarious. One of the two, APEX Securities, faces large debts and the search is on for a formula that will meet bank demands, while the other, unnamed, one, is said to have been notified by the Capital Market Commission to immediately increase its share capital or suspend business. Separately, Geniki Bank (formerly General, which launched its new logo yesterday) said its stock market subsidiary will cease operations as of October 25. Stock market turnover is currently considered far too low to sustain all 87 securities firms in business. CCHBC fined Bulgaria’s anti-monopoly watchdog said yesterday it had fined the local subsidiary of Greek bottler Coca-Cola HBC for breaching competition rules when running a raffle for the third time in less than a year. The Commission for Protection of Competition fined the company 80,000 levs ($49,720) for organizing a raffle which offered prizes such as new cars and radios whose value significantly exceeded its products’ prices. «The actions… in respect to the raffle are contradictory to good trade practices,» the watchdog said in a statement, stressing that the prizes put psychological pressure on consumers to change their market preferences. The subsidiary was fined on similar grounds in February and December, but is appealing the charges in court. (Reuters) Vodafone cuts rates Vodafone Greece will cut the rates it charges to connect incoming calls from fixed-line phones to its networks by 14.7 percent effective October 1, the firm said yesterday. Fixed-to-mobile termination rates will fall to 0.145 euros per minute from 0.17 euros. Other mobile operators are expected to follow shortly with similar rate cuts. (Reuters) FAGE The FAGE dairy industry said it will set up its own factory in the US, following the success of its yogurt brands there in the last four years.