ECONOMY

Papantoniou urges investors to keep calm

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday that the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington had cast a shadow over the global economy and said great care and a clear head were required. There is a state of volatility in the global economy. Markets are undergoing a phase of stabilization. We need to take great care… As for mid-term prospects, we do not know how the US economy will react, he told reporters in Iraklion on Crete. Papantoniou said that Greece was very lucky to have joined the eurozone on January 1, 2001. Without the euro, Greece would now be a mere leaf tossed about in global turbulence, he said. Papantoniou’s policies since he became national economy minister in 1994 are largely credited with allowing Greece to join the eurozone. Papantoniou added that there were two great unknowns – the USA’s political reaction to the terrorist strikes and the New York Stock Exchange’s reaction today. However, investors must not be affected by one day’s events. Let’s wait and see, he said. The Athens Stock Exchange has taken a battering this past week, losing over 15 percent to close at a year-low 2,248.39 points. This is almost exactly two years since the ASE posted an all-time high of 6,355.04 points, on September 17, 1999. Since then, it has fallen a staggering 64.6 percent. Ecofin meets On Friday, the European Council of Finance Ministers (Ecofin) will meet to discuss developments. We will appraise matters and follow our course. However, we need stability above all. Stability, sangfroid and, of course, trust in the market forces of Europe and Greece’s internal sources of growth, Papantoniou said. National Economy Ministry officials have said the present crisis will not seriously affect Greece’s economic growth, which will reach 4.5 percent next year. It may slow down to 4.3 percent, they said, down from 4.6 percent this year.