ECONOMY

In Brief

Total household debt up 30 percent since 2002 The total outstanding debt of Greek households rose 30 percent in the 2002-2005 period and more than 50 percent of those face difficulties in repaying loans, a study by business research company ICAP, released by the Bank of Greece, showed yesterday. According to the study, the average outstanding debt per household rose from 15,500 euros to 19,600 euros. As much as 11.2 percent of households fail to repay as scheduled, more so as regards consumer loans (14.9 percent) than mortgages (8.6 percent). The average outstanding amount of mortgages per household rose from 29,600 euros in 2002 to 41,700 euros at the end of 2005. Card credits emerged as the most popular form of borrowing, where the average outstanding amount per household rose from 1,701 euros to 3,039 euros. Turkish lira hits 2006 low against US dollar ISTANBUL – The Turkish lira hit its lowest level of 2006 against the dollar in after-hour trade yesterday, with best bids on the interbank market at 1.3560. The currency closed lower than the previous day at 1.3535 lira at 12.30 GMT amid fears of fresh US interest rate hikes and a government announcement of possible tax cuts which may upset Turkey’s main lender, the International Monetary Fund. (Reuters) Electricity rates hike? Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas dismissed reports of a proposal by the Public Power Corporation to raise electricity rates by 7.5 percent, but did not rule out a rise above inflation during the summer for some categories of consumers. «We will estimate the overall situation and act accordingly, placing a considerable burden on big consumers instead of small households and consumptions,» Sioufas said. Folli-Follie Shareholders in Folli-Follie yesterday approved the issue of a 113-million-euro bond to refinance long-term debt, the jewelry retailer said yesterday. Folli, which designs, produces and sells jewelry, watches and accessories, implemented last year an aggressive roll-out strategy, mainly in Asia, bringing its total network to about 300 outlets. (Reuters) Emporiki smart cards Nasdaq-listed ACI Worldwide, a leading international provider of enterprise e-payment solutions, yesterday announced it has enabled the deployment of one million EMV debit cards for Emporiki Bank. This deployment will enable Emporiki Bank’s cardholders to use their EMV card for secure POS (point-of-sale) purchases, ATM transactions and international payments. FYROM salaries The average net monthly salary in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) fell by 0.2 percent in real terms in January, month-on-month, to 13,328 denars (215.7 euro), after rising by 1.4 percent in December, official statistics showed yesterday. (SeeNews)