ECONOMY

In Brief

Alogoskoufis has reason to be happy with economy Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis emerged satisfied with the state of the Greek economy from a meeting yesterday with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who is preparing for his keynote economic policy speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair on September 9. «The economy is doing quite well. Growth rates are satisfactory and are the highest in the European Union. We also have rather satisfactory developments on the unemployment front, where there has been a decline compared with 2004,» Alogoskoufis said. He added that the government aims to reduce the high deficits it inherited from PASOK and to continue growth at the same or higher levels in order to raise citizens’ living standards and reduce unemployment. Portugal Telecom reported to be eyeing a stake in OTE LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal Telecom (PT) is looking to expand in Europe and could take a stake in a foreign company within six months, an industry source said yesterday. Analysts told Reuters the former state monopoly was turning to Europe since it faced limited growth in its core markets of Portugal and Brazil, and regulators at home were forcing PT to cut rates. Possible European purchases were raised over the weekend when Expresso newspaper said PT was in talks about taking a stake in Greek telecoms company OTE. A PT spokesman said no decision had been taken about stakes in foreign companies. However, a telecoms industry source said PT was looking abroad. «There is a strong possibility that PT will make an acquisition in the next six months,» the source told Reuters, asking to remain anonymous. Gold diggers Security guards protecting what is left of Serbia’s once-mighty Bor mining and smelting complex are being overrun by thieves stealing mud that contains traces of gold, silver and platinum, a Belgrade newspaper reported. Bor police have filed charges against persons unknown for the theft of about 700 kilograms of valuable anode mud from the bankrupt, state-owned company in southern Serbia, Danas said in its weekend edition. The paper quoted security company chief Ljuba Milovanovic as saying thieves stopped at nothing to get at the mud, carrying it off in bags, sacks, bottles, clothing and even in pockets. The paper said 200 kg of the mud would yield about one kg of gold and six kg of silver, plus other potentially valuable metals. It was probably processed in «private, well-hidden smelting plants.» (Reuters) Thessaloniki metro Italian construction group Impregilo said yesterday its share of a contract to build an underground metro system in Thessaloniki would total some 212 million euros. Impregilo was part of a consortium including Greece’s AEGEK which put in the lowest bid of 798 million euros for the contract, according to an announcement by Greek authorities last week. Impregilo said the part of the contract relating to civil construction totalled 499 million euros. The group said it would provide further details once the final agreement is signed. (Reuters) Turkey’s CPI Turkey’s year-end consumer price inflation is expected to be 6.99 percent, up from a previous forecast of 6.95 percent but below the government’s eight percent target, the central bank said yesterday. (Reuters)