ECONOMY

In Brief

September inflation expected to stay high due to oil prices Persistently high oil prices are expected to prevent a decline in Greek consumer inflation in September, while upside risks will remain, economists said yesterday. A Reuters survey of three economists gave an average annual forecast of 3.7 percent for September, unchanged from the August figure. The actual figure will be released tomorrow. «Inflation has remained high in September due to first- and second-round effects from higher oil prices,» said EFG Eurobank economist Platon Monokroussos. He estimated September’s fuel costs had surged by about 15 percent year on year in Greece, after hurricanes Rita and Katrina shut a dozen refineries in the US last month, pushing world oil prices up. Monokroussos saw an uptick of 0.4 to 0.5 points in the next two months, due to the reinclusion of heating oil in the CPI basket. Oil prices held below $64 yesterday, after a 2.4 percent slide a day earlier. National Statistics Service chief Manolis Kontopyrakis said last month he expected inflation to come in at 3.6 to 3.7 percent in September. He also forecast 2005 inflation averaging out at 3.5 percent. High oil prices will have an impact on transport and housing, said Piraeus Bank economist Michael Labrianos, who forecast September inflation at 3.8 percent. Inflation jumped to an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the eurozone in September from 2.2 percent in August on rising oil prices, a Eurostat flash estimate showed. (Reuters) Mytilineos considering selling 10 percent stake in METKA Metals and engineering group Mytilineos is considering the sale of about 10 percent of subsidiary METKA, the company said in a stock market filing yesterday. «Mytilineos Holdings is examining the possibility of disposing of a block of shares in Metal Constructions of Greece SA METKA (approximately 5,195,060 shares in total), amounting to approximately 10 percent of the total share capital of METKA,» the company said. Mytilineos said the shares would be placed with a limited number of institutional investors via a book-building procedure from October 5 to 6. Deutsche Bank and HSBC Pantelakis Securities were appointed coordinators and joint book runners for the sale. Analysts said Mytilineos could raise up to 51 million euros from the sale, based on METKA’s closing price of 9.78 euros on Tuesday. In early May, Mytilineos said it was in talks with General Electric and France’s Alstom for the sale of a 15 to 30 percent stake in METKA. The group currently owns 60.3 percent of engineering and metal construction firm METKA. (Reuters) Budget surplus Turkey’s budget produced a cash primary surplus of 1.245 billion lira ($923 million) in September, the Treasury said yesterday, compared with a borrowing program target of 1.5 billion lira. The cash primary surplus totaled 24.705 billion lira in the first nine months of the year. In September, cash revenues amounted to 9.344 billion lira and non-interest expenditure 8.100 billion lira, the Treasury statement said. After interest payments of 2.848 billion lira, the cash budget showed a deficit of 1.603 million lira. The January-September cash budget deficit, after interest payments of 35.039 billion lira, was 10.334 billion lira. (Reuters)