ECONOMY

In Brief

Credit expands faster year-on-year in March, mortgages up 25.8 pct Greek total credit expansion accelerated to 10 percent year-on-year in March from 8.6 percent in February, Bank of Greece provisional data showed yesterday. It was the first pickup after four consecutive months of a decelerating pace of credit expansion. Credit growth to businesses and households rose 14.7 percent to 120.7 billion euros, from 14.4 percent in February. Some 66 billion euros of this sum is corporate debt and 54.6 billion euros is household debt. Mortgages increased by 25.8 percent, year-on-year, from 25.4 percent in February, while consumer loan expansion abated to 33.9 percent year-on-year from 35 percent in February. Credit extended to the public sector, including loans and securities issued by the state, was down 0.2 percent year-on-year in March versus a 3.4 percent drop in the previous month. (Reuters, Kathimerini) Athens metro strengthens confidence among users The Athens Metro Operating Company (AMEL) has topped the customer satisfaction table among public and private companies in Greece for the second year in a row, according to a survey by the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE). Its score in 2004 rose by 4.5 percent from 2003, reaching 83.7 out of 100. The metro’s value-for-money score also rose by 5.4 percent, reaching 81.5 out of 100. Yet passengers insist on more boarding points, as the network coverage value score fell by 1.9 percent. Sales down a gear Car sales fell an annualized 9 percent in April, dropping to 26,273 units sold, according to Association of Motor Vehicle Importers-Representatives (SEAA) data. Monthly sales, though, rose for the third month running, from 20,480 units sold in February and 25,616 in March. Hyundai led the way with 2,993 cars sold and an 11.4 percent market share, followed by Ford (8 percent) and Opel (7.6 percent). Rokas Spanish power company Iberdrola has lifted its stake in Greece’s biggest wind-power firm Rokas to 24 percent, the Spanish firm said yesterday, as part of a deal made last year to take a 50 percent stake. Iberdrola, Spain’s second-largest power utility, also said it planned to take a further 2 percent in Rokas before the end of the first half. Iberdrola said in December it had agreed to buy a 49.9 percent stake in Rokas for around 85 million euros, starting with the purchase of a 21 percent stake and building it up over four years. (Reuters) Albania money transfers The Agricultural Bank and the American Bank of Albania signed a cooperation contract yesterday allowing foreigners living and working in Greece to be able to forward money to Albania quickly and safely, from any of the 458 branches of Agricultural Bank in Greece to all major Albanian cities, from a date to be announced later. Further cooperation may follow between the two banks. Videophone Tellas telecom presented yesterday the first fixed video-telephone, available now to every household. «Izi by Tellas Images from the Future» will allow buyers to talk and view each other, from just 0.12 euros per minute.