ECONOMY

In Brief

Garganas comments unnerve futures markets The European Central Bank will not hesitate to raise interest rates again if this month’s move does not keep inflation in check, ECB Governing Council member Nicholas Garganas said yesterday. In a speech to ship owners in Athens, Garganas said the impact of the quarter-point rate increase on inflation was key to future decisions. «If we see that (the recent) 0.25 rise is not effective to hold inflation (down) we will raise rates again,» he said. The ECB’s benchmark rates now stand at 2.25 percent and Garganas’s comments prompted some investors to increase bets on further credit tightening, pushing eurozone rate futures briefly into negative territory. Markets have nearly fully priced in a second 0.25-point rate hike by March 2006 and expect a third, to 2.75 percent, by September 2006. (Reuters) Greeks appear the gloomiest about 2006 Sixty-three percent of Greeks foresee a deterioration in their private financial situation in 2006, according to a global survey by TNS ICAP and Gallup International. More than one in two (54 percent) believe next year will be worse than 2005, and only 30 percent believe things will improve. Moreover, two in five feel insecure about their employment and 32 percent think unemployment will rise, despite recognizing that it has been falling (the EU average is only 12 percent). The results of the survey confirm a steady deterioration in Greeks’ expectations since 2002, their outlook now being the gloomiest in the world along with that of the inhabitants of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Unemployment down The Greek unemployment rate slipped to 9.7 percent of the work force in the third quarter of 2005 from 10.1 percent in the same period of 2004, the national statistics service (NSS) said yesterday. But with 469,794 jobless registered nationwide, the unemployment rate rose slightly from the 2005 second-quarter figure of 9.6 percent. However, employment figures are the highest ever recorded in the country, with 4,386,000 people currently working, NSS said. (AFP) Wine champion Domaine Gerovassiliou is coming away with two prestigious awards in 2005. It is the year’s Best Winemaker in Greece, according to Greek wine journalists, as well as the best wine producer in the eastern Mediterranean, as voted at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2005 in Surrey, England. Owned by Evangelos Gerovassiliou, the company won the Greek vote for its contribution in highlighting Greek vine varieties and for upgrading Greek production. Albatros flights Albanian airline Albatros Airways yesterday started a flight schedule between Tirana and Athens that runs three days a week – on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Flights last 50 minutes and return tickets start from 159 euros. Albatros, founded in May 2004, also serves eight Italian destinations from Tirana and plans to expand to London, Brussels and Pristina.