ECONOMY

In Brief

Inflation falls in March, despite rising fuel prices Greek inflation fell to 2.9 percent in March, year-on-year, from 3.2 percent in February, while in the EU and the eurozone the index remained at 2.1 percent, according to Eurostat. Greece had the third-highest inflation behind Luxembourg and Spain in the 12-nation euro bloc. Prices in Greece rose mostly in housing (4.3 percent), alcohol and tobacco products (4.2 percent) and transport (4.1 percent), while shrinking in telecoms (-1.6 percent) and rising only marginally (0.1 percent) in culture-recreation and apparel. Contributing to the inflation considerably were automotive and heating fuel prices. Gov’t pledges support for Kastoria furriers Visiting the 30th International Fur Exhibition in Kastoria that ended yesterday, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis pledged government support for the local Furriers’ Association’s drive to penetrate the US market and the new EU member states. «Fur is the ideal product for leveling some trade balances in certain important markets,» he said. Fur will be the top issue in the Greek-Russian business forum held in Athens tomorrow and Thursday. Heading the Russian delegation will be the president of the Russian Chambers Association and former prime minister Yevgeny Primakov. Shipbuilding South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Co, the world’s second-largest shipbuilder, said its Romanian unit had won $850 million in orders from German shipping companies. Daewoo said the unit, Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industries SA, would deliver six container ships to Germany’s Hamburg Sud by March 2009. It also has orders for another four from another company for delivery by March 2008, Daewoo said in a statement. Daewoo Shipbuilding wants to build annual sales to 20 trillion won ($19.7 billion) by 2015, four times the 4.8 trillion seen in 2004, mostly by boosting its overseas business. The company bought Daewoo Mangalia in 1997 and said in February it might buy shipbuilders in China and Brazil. (Reuters) OECD visit The head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Donald J. Johnston, is visiting Athens today until Friday, invited by Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis. He will also meet with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the leader of the opposition PASOK party, George Papandreou, and have other high-level meetings in his first visit to Greece after assuming the post nine years ago. Q-Telecom Greece’s fourth mobile telephony network, Q-Telecom, announced it has already secured 862,588 mobile and landline customers after the first quarter of 2005. The bulk of them (761,236) have prepaid mobile telephony lines. Costas Pringipakis, the company’s general director, stated that Q-Telecom invests annually about 25 million euros, and that with the momentum it has developed it aims at reaching 1 million mobile phone customers by the end of the year. Intralot in Peru The subsidiary of Greek gaming firm Intralot in Peru has signed a six-year contract with the soccer association of the country (AdFP) for fixed-odds betting, with a two-year extension option. Intralot de Peru is the gaming market leader in the country with a 1,700-point national online network.