ECONOMY

In BriefIn Brief

Cyprus to launch criminal proceedings into bourse crash NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cypriot authorities are to initiate a broad criminal probe into the stock market excesses that ended in a spectacular market crash in 2000, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday. Dozens of people named in an official inquiry into the reasons for the collapse will be investigated, he told Reuters. «I don’t know who they are, but I have been told by the attorney-general there are some well-known individuals,» he said. The market gained 688 percent in 1999 as its capitalization bulged to 11 billion pounds ($25 billion) at one point. All of those gains were wiped out a year later by a rash of new issues that drew a stampede of uninitiated investors on borrowed funds and led to a subsequent liquidity squeeze. Today the bourse, which trades in the securities of 151 companies, has a market capitalization of 4.8 billion pounds. Thousands of people still owe money to the banks, which are only now starting to recover their exposure to the market. Manufacturing growth recedes in January as input prices rise Greek manufacturing growth slowed in January, a monthly survey of around 300 companies by NTC Research showed yesterday. The PMI index fell to 51.4 from 51.8 in December, staying above the 50 waterline between growth and contraction. Of the five PMI components, three contributed to overall growth in January – output continued to expand for the 14th consecutive month, new orders rose moderately and delivery times lengthened. But employment fell marginally and stocks of finished goods contracted. NTC said exports orders fell slightly as input prices rose and firms experienced strong international competition, while stocks of purchases continued falling, amid reports of shortages of raw materials. Appointments Gikas Hardouvelis, former head of economic advisers to ex-prime minister Costas Simitis, has been appointed economic adviser to EFG Eurobank Ergasias, with responsibility for macroeconomic and financial analysis and forecasting. Separately, Costas Zacharopoulos, a former Finance Ministry official and banker, is to succeed Nikos Haritakis as head of the state Tourism Development Company (ETA). Haritakis resigned on Monday. Property Organizations and individuals owning large property items will have to submit the relevant tax declarations by March 3 and June 2 this year respectively. Any person, irrespective of nationality or residence, must submit the declaration for property owned in Greece on January 1 valued at over 243,600 euros for single people and 487,200 euros for a married couple. Spare not abusers The Investors & Internet Association has urged the government in an open letter not to give in to various pressures for amendments to the draft bill with strict new provisions on abusive practices, share manipulation and other acts misleading the investing public. Hyatt Hotel and casino group Hyatt Regency yesterday announced the sale of a 20.1 percent interest in Lampsa hotel firm to Venture Ability SA. The sale was worth 30.49 million euros, at 7.10 euros a share.