In Brief

Government’s budget targets remain elusive Ordinary budget revenues rose 4.6 percent year on year in the year to August compared with a revised 10.2 percent annual growth target, the General Accounting Office said yesterday. Primary spending was up 3.5 percent, while total ordinary budget expenditures grew 6.7 percent, above a 5.3 percent annual target. Interest payments on debt servicing were up 16.4 percent year on year, against an annual target of 2.8 percent. Greece is targeting a general government budget deficit of 2.8 percent in 2006 from an estimated 3.6 percent this year. Deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas told Parliament that the government is aiming at reducing primary expenses and at not imposing new taxes. EBRD offers Bosnia loan to rebuild war-damaged railways BANJA LUKA (AFP) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development granted Bosnia a 70-million-euro ($85 million) loan for the reconstruction of its railway network damaged in the 1992-1995 war, Bosnian Serb Finance Minister Svetlana Cenic told a local radio station a day after a meeting of Bosnian officials with the bank in London at which the loan grant with a 15-year repayment period and four years of grace was decided. The bank has invested more than 356 million euros in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, banking system and development of small and medium companies. Land of entrepreneurs Greece has among the highest rates of self-employed in the EU as a percentage of total employment, according to figures published by Eurostat in Brussels yesterday. Such rates range from 20.1 percent in Attica to 44.6 percent in the Peloponnese. Out of a total 268 regions in the EU, 56 have rates above 20 percent, including all 13 Greek ones. According to other Eurostat data, 77 percent of Athenians appear satisfied with the city’s cultural infrastructure but only 35 percent with the amount of green spaces. Banks fined The Development Ministry has imposed fines totaling 611,940 euros on five banks (Egnatia, National, Alpha, Nova and Eurobank) for illegal penalties on early repayers of mortgage loans and charges for monthly account statements. Alpha Bank and Eurobank received the heaviest fines, 176,082 euros each for three cases of illegal penalties. National and Nova were fined 117,388 euros each for two such cases. Maritime ratings JP Morgan Securities yesterday downgraded General Maritime Corp and Frontline Ltd to «neutral» from «overweight.» JP Morgan upgraded Teekay Shipping Corp and Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd to «overweight» from «neutral.» The brokerage firm cited a lack of product tanker exposure and older fleets of General Maritime and Frontline among reasons for the downgrade. JP Morgan said Teekay could benefit from the record rates currently being earned in the spot market. On Tsakos, the brokerage said the company’s material product tanker exposure and rapid fleet growth next year should help. (Reuters)