ECONOMY

In Brief

Current account deficit shrinks in first 10 months Greece’s current account deficit in the first 10 months of 2001 shrank by 256 million euros year-on-year to 5.79 billion euros, the Bank of Greece said yesterday. The development is seen as due to a lower trade deficit excluding fuels and higher surpluses in the services and transfers balances, while the deficit of the incomes account almost doubled. «The fall in the non-oil trade deficit by some 409 million euros is the result of a significant rise in export receipts, offsetting the rise in import payments. Net fuel imports increased by 82 million euros,» the central bank said. Higher net receipts from travel services led to a significantly larger surplus in the services balance, while the increase in the incomes account is mainly due to higher net interest payments. Direct investment registered a net inflow of 1,009 million euros, against a sizable outflow in the same period of 2000, mainly as a result of the acquisition of a majority interest in Interamerican insurance company by Netherlands-based Eureko. Net inflow for portfolio investment was higher year-on-year at 9.99 billion euros. Greece’s foreign exchange reserves at end-October, based on the ECB definition, stood at 7.4 billion euros, down from 7.5 billion euros at end-September. Motor Oil presentation to institutionals Motor Oil Hellas has invested more than $1.2 billion in the entire range of refining and marketing of petroleum products in Greece, officials said at a presentation to the Association of Institutional Investors yesterday. The company aims to improve its refining margin and sales network with a view to boosting its share at home, in exports and in bunkering. Turnover in the first three quarters of 2001 reached 373.2 billion drachmas, and pretax profits 27.3 billion. Consolidated profits – including recently absorbed Avinoil, the country’s fourth-largest fuels and lubricants company – reached 28.4 billion. Greece-Ukraine Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos yesterday held discussions focusing on energy and industrial issues with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Dubyna, who heads a large visiting delegation. The two sides said cooperation prospects were good and planned to continue discussions during a reciprocal visit. New HP chief assumes post Hellenic Petroleum said yesterday Athanasios Karachalios had assumed the post of managing director, replacing Eleutherios Tzellas. According to a press release, Karachalios, a chemical engineer, led the company’s investment program in its main Aspropyrgos refinery in the 1980s and has considerable experience in the sector. Former Agriculture Minister Giorgos Moraitis will be the new board chairman, a post also previously held by Tzellas. After a meeting yesterday, ministers of Development Tsochadzopoulos and of Economy Christodoulakis said plans to find a strategic investor for HP were proceeding smoothly. Award for Siemens Siemens Televiomichaniki, a subsidiary of Siemens AG and the National Bank of Greece, has received the «Prize Winner» award from the European Foundation for Quality Management. – In the Atlantic and on Panamaxes, there are a lot of private approaches to specific tonnage showing the existing strength. The M/V «Samjohn Liberty» 74,761 dwt, built 1998, with delivery Passero mid January for the trip out to the Far East via Brazil has been fixed at USD 8,250 daily.