ECONOMY

In Brief

GSEE voices concern over inflation, calls for countermeasures The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) yesterday expressed concern over indications of rising inflationary pressures and called on the government to adopt immediate and effective measures to counter the trend. «The steep rise in prices, either due to weather conditions, the introduction of the euro, or the inability of the state price-controlling mechanisms, ultimately burdens the incomes of wage earners and pensioners,» GSEE said in a statement. It said the business community and traders bore huge responsibility for unjustifiably rolling production costs over onto product prices. GSEE said that more than ever, it was now necessary to apply a mixture of economic policy that would also achieve high growth rates in the economy and employment. Economy Nikos Christodoulakis said on Wednesday that the annual rate of growth of the consumer price index exceeded 4 percent in January, but that it would decelerate in coming months. The National Statistics Service is due to announce the January headline inflation figure today. Telenor states desire to shed share in CosmOTE OSLO – Norwegian state-controlled telecoms firm Telenor said yesterday it was sounding out possible buyers for its 18-percent stake in Greece’s mobile phone company CosmOTE. «We are considering selling our share in CosmOTE at the right price and time,» Telenor CEO Tormod Hermansen told Reuters after unveiling 2001 results. He said Telenor believed it would never manage to reach majority control of CosmOTE, a stated goal for the company’s investments in mobile firms abroad. In late January OTE Telecom, which owns 59 percent of CosmOTE, deferred a decision on buying Telenor’s stake – which would cost about 650 million euros – saying it wanted to consider other investment opportunities. (Reuters) General Bank ratings maintained Moody’s Investor Service yesterday affirmed the Baa3/Prime-3/D= ratings of General Bank of Greece, following last week’s resignation of its top management team, brought about by political desire to replace the bank’s general manager. The ratings affirmation is based on Moody’s understanding that the new management will not materially alter the bank’s strategic direction and that the search for a strategic partner will not be delayed. Dutch bookings recover According to data provided by the Dutch Travel Agents Association (ANVR), 2002 bookings for Greece recovered from -18 percent in December to +4 percent in January, the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) said in a press release yesterday. The data shows a significant increase in bookings for all «small» destinations as well as a return to last year’s levels for the big large resorts such as Crete. Balkan reconstruction Deputy Foreign Ministers Yiannis Magriotis and Andreas Loverdos are meeting representatives of the associations of industrialists and exporters of northern Greece in Thessaloniki this afternoon to discuss implementation of the Greek Plan for Balkan Reconstruction. A draft bill for the plan is due to be tabled in Parliament on Monday.